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Targeting the market

Chemical, Bionutrition Today sponsored by Lebanon

Now that they’ve found biofertility, lawn care operators are seeking – and discovering – receptive audiences to share the message.

Heather Taylor | June 23, 2011

Lawn care operators like Jim Foglio are talking about how bionutrition is winning them over. Now they have to do the same with their customers and prospective clients.  

“People don’t care. We have to make them care,” says Foglio, owner of Lasting Impressions in Stroudsburg, Pa. “We have to persuade them this is the way to do it.”

Foglio and other lawn care operators are convinced that this relatively new, organic fertilizer program is the solution for anyone who is conscious of the environment but skeptical that an organic program can product the lush, green lawn they’ve achieved with traditional synthetic products. Now that they’ve found this program, which consists of living microorganisms enhancing the soil, they’re getting the word out and discovering which audiences are the most receptive.

Many would argue that the Web site is one of the most important marketing tools a company has in its arsenal. Tom Winkler rebranded his Haledon, N.J.-based company to Go Organic Lawn Care, right down to the Web site, www.goorganic.com. Complete with an easy-to-remember domain name, the site includes an overview of the company’s organic fertilizer program and how it works.

Foglio first alerted existing customers the new program. He sent a mailer last fall letting them know that all clientele was switched over to the biofertility program.

“The letter just said we were doing it, and if there were any issues, let us know if you want to continue on synthetics,” Foglio explains.

Jim Buck, owner of Terra Scapes in Stone Harbor, N.J., also sent a letter to clients last year to explain the switch.

“It’s amazing, the number of people who didn’t pay attention to it,” Buck says. “When we explained (in person) what we were doing, everyone seemed to be on board.”
Lasting Impressions also got the word out about its new organic fertilizer program at local home and green expo shows. So far, the company is getting little response from its most expensive form of marketing, a mailer campaign.  
The best response has been from an ad the company placed in a local holistic magazine. The publication, which is free for consumers, provides information about organic foods, green energy resources and other nature-friendly products. The company went directly to an audience that was receptive to that type of program, with positive results.

“We’ve gotten more response from that one ad than from anything else,” Foglio says.

While Lasting Impressions targeted the “green” crowd, Winkler and Go Organic took on another audience that they thought would be receptive: municipalities. In light of recent shifts in regulations, the sales force has been talking to city officials about the company’s bionutrition program.

“The laws in New Jersey and New York have changed almost overnight, and some of these cities allow zero pesticide use on ball fields and schools and other municipal grounds,” Winkler says. “(Biofertility) minimizes weeds and you can get rid of pesticides on those properties, which is a huge benefit.”

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