It was back to the drawing board for the Scotts lawn care and gardening company when it began several years ago to “reboot” its fertilizer spreader business.
While innovation in fertilizers has been ongoing, those green two-wheeled contraptions that scatter products on lawns to produce greener grass and chase away weeds hadn’t had a makeover in about 70 years. Scotts research found that consumers thought of the job as a time-consuming chore and that the settings to determine the amount of fertilizer spread could be confusing. So, it developed the Snap Lawn Care System, designed to allow customers to snap a bag of fertilizer into the spreader, lock it in and go. Once the job is done the system seals the bag that can then be removed and stored.
So how best to let lawn owners across the country learn of this new innovation and then tell all their friends?
Scotts started small. In 2010, it ran tests in nine markets to “get an initial impression” of Snap, Josh Brown, assistant brand manger of Scotts lawns marketing, said. In 2011, Snap was introduced to larger markets, including Chicago and Atlanta, and available on Amazon.com.
This year, a full-on campaign is underway that includes TV spots, in-store promos and an important influencer program on Facebook. Scotts is working with interactive promotional agency ePrize, which is employing its new Social Loyalty Platform on the social site of which a key component is a unified experience that includes incenting social activities to encourage participation in the various activities and to build brand advocates.
“Going into this year we wanted to have a strong program built around advocacy, and give those people a platform to share their stories and talk about the product,” Brown said. “One thing we kept coming back to when working with consumers was once they got it in their hands they loved it and wanted to tell people about it.”
The content for Snap is all housed at a separate hub where fans can learn about the Snap Lawn Care System and be rewarded for writing reviews, telling friends, tweeting, uploading photos, answering a survey, watching a video or entering the “Scotts Snap Perks” instant-win game and sweepstakes, running throughout the key lawn fertilizer season, which began March 7 and ends Oct. 31.
Statistics indicate that it’s no easy task hanging on to—and motivating—Facebook fans. Some 55% of Facebook users have liked a brand only later to decide that they no longer wanted to see that company’s posts. And 51% of likers reported that they rarely or never visit a company’s page after liking them, according to Exact Target.
To address that, each action at the hub has a designated value tied to the sweepstakes to encourage participation and repeat visits. The idea is that certain actions are more valuable to the brand and should receive a higher reward, such as a fan who writes a review, reads lawn care tips, or posts original content which can be used as important content for remarketing purposes. As an example, fans who write their own stories to share earn 10 sweepstakes entries, versus two entries for answering a short survey, which takes less time and thought.
“It’s an extra nudge to get fans to engage,” Matt Kates, vice president of strategic services at ePrize, said. “We want to give people variety, and more than one reason to visit. We want to offer what's important to them to encourage them to come multiple times and do multiple things when they're there.”
Sweepstakes prizes include a riding lawn mower, outdoor grill, outdoor patio set, $500 gift cards and a grand-prize trip for two to the World Series. (Scotts is a Major League Baseball sponsor.) The instant-win prize is a $25 Home Depot gift card.
To kick-start the conversation, lawn systems were given to some bloggers, garden gurus and other influencers. And the metrics look promising: The promotion began with 10,500 likes and grew to 19,000 in less than two weeks. The goal is between 80,000 and 100,000 registrations, Brown said. Another metric looks at people talking about the brand, which jumped to 3,000 to 6,000 in seven days compared to 200 to 250, Kates said. Also being tracked are the most popular activities, how frequently the activities were done, the number of tweets and how many fans watched the video.
“People come in and have everything living in one hub. It makes it easy to see all of the actions that can be taken,” Karon Whitener, project manager at ePrize, said.
In addition to TV spots, which carry the Facebook URL, a hangtag appears on every spreader sold in stores, including Home Depot, Lowes and Walmart, that directs people to the promotional fan page. The March edition of the Scotts email newsletter included a promo for the contest, as do digital ads, including home page takeovers.
Scotts is also capitalizing on its Major League Baseball sponsorship with signage and executions at MLB games to promote both the product and the sweepstakes.