Scotts LawnService: What Will The Neighbors Think?

by , May 2, 2013, 4:21 PM
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Scotts LawnService is launching a digital spring campaign that plays on the idea of one's lawn as a measure of one's character, or on how your neighbors measure your character through your lawn. 

“The Opinions Next Door” includes a series of 15-second online videos running as pre-roll content centering on interviews of real people talking about a nefarious lawn in their neighborhoods. The offending lawn is shown, briefly, but the shots mask the lawns the way someone's face is digitally masked in incriminating videos. The tag is “Get The Lawn Your Neighbors Expect.”

The campaign, via Indianapolis-based Young & Laramore, also uses geo-targeted banners and direct mail both directed to high-density suburban markets with strong Scotts LawnService representation. "We are focusing them in areas where we want to drive density, so it's geographically specific, more than content specific," says Keith Baeder, VP of marketing at Scotts. "One of the advantages of digital and a reason to focus on it is you can be targeted and local.”

Baeder tells Marketing Daily that Scotts LawnService is about a $250 million division within a $3 billion company (so a bit less than 8%), so until now the company has supported LawnService principally with spot media buys favoring radio and some digital, "but always limited geographically." He says, however, that the company has operations in 60% of the country in terms of population density, with most of it east of the Rockies, "though we are also in markets like Denver, Salt Lake City , Seattle, and Portland." So the company was looking to do something bigger. 

All told, Scotts LawnService is in 40 markets, with around 90 branches, and as many franchise operations in smaller markets, per Baeder, adding that the $4 billion category is basically flat, but that the company has been growing within it. 

The competition, says Baeder, is local --  from big lawn maintenance services down to everyone with a hoe, a mower, a Home Depot account and a business card. "It's a very fragmented market; we're number two with 6% share (TruGreen, he says, is number one and Lawn Doctor number three). Our challenge is to show people we have better technology and a greater understanding of lawn care because we are leaders globally."

Chicago-based Mintel, in a 2012 sector report, said that the market is growing slowly but that respondents to a ServiceMagic (now HomeAdvisor) survey done in 2011 showed that about a third of people use lawn and garden services twice a month, and nearly as many use them once a week. Over half of respondents said they intended to regularly use these types of service for seven months or more. 

Baeder says Scotts LawnService customers tend to be in their 50s or older in $100,000-plus households with four-year degrees; a good percentage have post-degree work. “Basically, it’s higher education, higher than average income, and a little older.”

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