This Hort Innovation Turf Fund marketing snapshot has been taken from Hort Innovation’s Hortlink 2016, winter edition.
The overall aim of marketing program for the turf industry is to make turf accessible to consumers with the provision of plenty of practical, relatable and inspiring information; to demonstrate the benefits of natural grass; and to build the profile of Turf Australia as the ‘go-to’ for all things turf.
Throughout the course of the 2014-2017 strategic marketing plan – including 2015/16 – the marketing program has involved savvy use of social media, PR and media and has built a strong platform for the industry, including a suite of content and a solid network of media and influencer contacts.
The fun and engaging Lawnspiration Facebook page (managed by Hort Innovation in conjunction with Bite Communications) regularly interacts with the community, posting three times a week. Over the last 12 months the page has grown its fan base by 100 per cent to more than 22,670 fans (the target for the 2015/16 period was 20,000), with a total reach of almost 2.7 million people over the period. The Lawnspiration social media campaign represents a significant part of the turf marketing levy investment, as agreed by industry, which successfully continues to represent the turf industry nationally.
A national ‘Win a New Lawn’ competition was run on the Lawnspiration page during late 2015 and early 2016, generating more than 200 entries nationally, with hundreds of ‘likes’, comments and shares.
The winning entry can can be viewed here, with the Lawn Doctor in conjunction with Lawn Solutions Australia donating and installing the prize.
Although the competition didn’t have a runner-up, Doug Fleet from Marne Valley Turf kindly donated turf to a victim of the South Australian bushfires who lost machinery, business and everything but his home, but had also entered the competition. A big thank you is extended to Doug and his business for this donation.
PR and media
The 2015/16 marketing campaign generated 84 pieces of coverage across traditional media with a combined reach of more than 4.25 million people. While the content focused mainly on seasonal lawn-care tips and general turf advice, other stories touched on the environmental benefits of turf, highlighting the benefits of natural over synthetic turf. There was also reactionary media when required.
The Turf Australia Consumer Communication Guide
The turf PR team has been researching and compiling all previous PR and social media materials, including responses from growers, to develop a complete database on the turf industry – a useful resource for all future communication campaigns.
The Consumer Communications Guide is also a useful tool for growers, with nine key sections including Seasonal Care, Seasonal Tips, Variety Specific Advice, Lawn Care Key Problems, Weeds, Mowing, Renovation and Sports Turf. Contact Turf Australia for a copy.
The year ahead…
The 2016/17 strategic marketing plan will continue to develop ‘lawn love’, with a strong focus on getting Australians into the backyard, particularly through the Lawnspiration page. It leverages seasonality and will drive results through three major activities:
- ‘Turf Training’, from winter to spring 2016. This will be a Facebook-led content series (image, video, written) for varied skill levels that will provide skill-appropriate ways for the male-skewed Lawnspiration audience to try their hand at some new backyard tasks. There will be fact sheets produced and pitched to the media too.
- ‘Backyard Cricket’, from spring 2016 to summer 2017. This activity will leverage the profile of legendary Aussie groundskeeper Les Burdett to provide inspiration for people to get into the backyard for some much-loved summer cricket with the family. It will include tips for ensuring backyards are top-notch and cricket-ready. Watch this space!
- ‘New Research’, from summer to autumn 2017. It is intended that this activity will see the development of insights into Australia’s shrinking backyards to drive media coverage and leverage for social.
These marketing activities are strategic levy investments in the Hort Innovation Turf Fund