Many companies have wondered whether participation in home and garden shows might pay off in generating new customers. But oftentimes the commitment involved steers companies away. For Clint Allison, founder and CEO of Rainscapes in Maryville, Tenn., participating in local home and garden shows has become part of their off-season effort to maintain a presence in the market and to generate interest from new customers. Allison says it’s worth the commitment.
“We find it’s a chance to get in front of people during a time when they’re not typically thinking about lawn and garden stuff,” Allison says, adding that the first show they do each year is in February. “It gets them in that ‘spring mode’ a bit early.”
One thing that’s nice about the clientele attending home and garden shows is that they’re already a targeted audience, Allison says. “The people who attend those types of shows are there for a reason,” he says. “It may not be the time of year when they’re looking for irrigation services right now, but they are there because they’re interested in improving their home and property. It’s a great customer to target.”
Allison says the company does a pretty simple booth. They set up some of the latest water saving ideas for customers to see, such as smart controllers. He says that it’s certainly generated customer interest, but it can also be quite labor intensive. It’s often a multi-day commitment and you have to have someone at the booth during the whole duration of the show.
“Still, what else would we be doing in February?” Allison says. “It’s the slow season so it makes sense for us to stay busy with events like these.”
The first year Rainscapes participated in home shows, Allison says they didn’t get too much feedback, but he’s found it’s cumulative. “The same customers tend to come to these shows again and again so we’ve found that over time we’re getting more and more interest,” he says. “It’s to the point where we’ve actually had some people come to look for us now. And it’s not terribly expensive to participate. We look at marketing as a multi-faceted effort and this is one piece of the puzzle. We don’t rely on home shows exclusively to gain new customers, but it’s one of many ways that we are reaching new people.”