Hort Innovation is responsible for investing the turf marketing levy into a range of activities to drive awareness and use of Australian turf, under the Hort Innovation Turf Fund. Read on for a snapshot of activities and results from 2019/20.
The 2018/19 marketing program was focused on contributing to sustainable demand for Australian turf, working towards a five per cent increase in revenue for growers, as identified as a key industry priority in the Turf Strategic Investment Plan.
The key objective of the 2019/20 strategy was to increase demand for turf by educating, inspiring and reminding consumers of the benefits living turf provides. This was done via a range of activities including public relations, social media and digital communications, where fresh content and trusted voices were used to promote turf.
Over the course of the marketing campaign, 18 pieces of media coverage were secured across traditional and online media. This equated to 12.8 million opportunities for people to see turf-related content. Highlights included being featured in titles such as The Courier Mail, News.com.au, Home Beautiful and Realestate.com.au.
Former The Block contestants and renovation and design experts Michael and Carlene Duffy were engaged by the campaign to be brand ambassadors. Using Michael and Carlene gave the campaign an additional hook, that appealed to the media and their respective consumer audiences.
Turf Australia was also engaged to assist with creating media pitch materials that promoted local turf growers and the industry, which resulted in the campaign securing profiling coverage in property and local media outlets.
Media pitches were adapted to align to current trends, such as themes of home maintenance during the unfolding COVID-19 situation. An example was a local case study which was sourced during the pandemic, featuring a Mount Martha homeowner who had taken backyard DIY sprucing to the next level, which drove strong media coverage.
The 2019/20 social strategy for turf focused on using the Lawnspiration Facebook page (www.facebook.com/lawnspiration) as the key channel to drive awareness and inspiration. A highlight of the social campaign was the ‘Win a $5,000 lawn makeover’ competition which was initiated to encourage user-generated content and build engagement. The contest secured 1,100 entries with around 155,000 people seeing the content and an engagement rate of six per cent, well above the industry average of 3.6 per cent.
As a result of this activity and ongoing posts about the benefits of turf, the Lawnspiration Facebook page fanbase grew by more than 1,905 people, which is more than double the growth achieved in the previous financial year (a 722 increase). In line with the target audience for the turf marketing campaign, men aged 25 to 44 represented more than half of all impressions on Facebook.
Facebook activity generated a 400 per cent increase in visits to the Lawnspiration website (www.lawnspiration.com.au) and delivered a click through rate of 3.5 per cent, which is five times greater than the industry average of 0.7 per cent. Top performing posts include before and after contrast images, pet related lawn tips and DIY tips.
The Lawnspiration website has been an effective tool in providing further inspiration, education and resources to make the process of selecting, laying and maintaining turf simpler for consumers. In 2019/20 there was 331 per cent increase in the number of people looking at the website and a 362 per cent increase in the number of pages viewed, indicating that they’re spending more time looking at the website content.
In terms of demographics, website visitors are largely men at 79 per cent, with 21 per cent of site visitors being female.
By conducting a campaign on Facebook aimed at the target audience, an additional 2,500 people subscribed to the Lawnspiration e-newsletter. Three e-newsletters were shared to the database during 2019/20 containing valuable information on how turf can improve livelihoods backed up with information on its health, social and financial benefits. They also included inspiring lawn content such as before and after images and lawn care tips.
These marketing activities are strategic levy investments in the Hort Innovation Turf Fund