The Scotts Company Sends Custom Lawn & Gardening Advice to 750,000 Via ExactTarget

Publication: Messaging News
March 2006

The Challenge

The Scotts Company, the world’s leading supplier of consumer products for lawn and garden care, wanted to create a program to deliver customized lawn and garden care advice into the email boxes of nearly 750,000 customers, based on individual geographic and horticultural needs.

The Solution

ExactTarget‘s web-based person-to-person email marketing software enables Scotts to dynamically generate hundreds or even thousands of individualized recommendations from a single email template, based on the customer’s zip code, grass and garden type, and continually changing variables such as weather and other local growing conditions. This ensures that Scotts customers with St. Augustine grass receive different care recommendations than those with Kentucky bluegrass, for example. Or that rose gardeners receive different advice than vegetable gardeners, and that residents of Beverly Hills receive different information than residents of Detroit, and so on.

“Scotts customers greatly benefit from ExactTarget‘s technology and dynamic content distribution capabilities because the information we can provide is far more relevant to their specific needs,” said Joel Reimer, manager of Interactive Marketing at Scotts. “Ultimately, it will help our customers be more successful in their lawn care and gardening activities. From a service perspective, we can focus on developing helpful content, and ExactTarget‘s software does the rest. This improved capability is just one more way that Scotts continues to strengthen its customer relationships.”

In addition to prompting customers to fertilize, plant and perform other maintenance activities at the appropriate time for their geographic location and their lawn and garden type, the company also issues special email alerts with treatment advice regarding pests, drought or other problems reported in a specific area.

How It’s Done

Scotts’ email marketing program is based on Scotts’ extensive agronomic expertise coupled with information submitted by customers when they sign up for the services on the company website, www.scotts.com. Through integration with those customer-created profiles and sophisticated dynamic content functionality, ExactTarget‘s software seamlessly changes information in each message to correspond to each customer’s particular requirements.

All processes are automated and implemented with point-and-click procedures, reducing Scotts’ reliance on technical resources to implement its email marketing initiatives. Rather than creating hundreds of versions of each message, Scotts can automatically customize each email to fit the customer’s profile.

Scotts is a striking example of how email marketing is evolving from a one-size-fits-all approach of blasting the same email to all customers, to a highly personalized form of communication that leverages vital information in customer databases to achieve true person-to-person marketing. Scotts and other companies are recognizing the importance of this kind of extreme targeting, and the technology now exists to support these initiatives.

The technology also handles all email distribution, includes multiple features designed to improve deliverability of email messages, and provides tracking metrics that enable Scotts to analyze whether customers read their messages.

The Results

Scotts’ email marketing program reinforces the company’s efforts to use its website as a resource for information on lawn and garden care and a customer relationship-building vehicle rather than as a pure advertisement for its products. Named the “Best General Interest Web Site” by the Web Marketing Association in 2003, the Scotts site includes extensive general information on lawn and garden maintenance, seasonal tips and problem solving. The company’s email reminder services complement and advance that strategy by supplying advice that is relevant to the individual gardener without directly promoting Scotts and affiliated brands.

ABOUT SCOTTS

The Scotts Company is the world’s leading supplier of consumer products for lawn and garden care, with a full range of products for professional horticulture as well. The Company owns the industry’s most recognized brands. In the U.S., the company’s Scotts®, Miracle-Gro® and Ortho® brands are market leaders in their categories, as is the consumer Roundup® brand which is marketed in North America and most of Europe exclusively by Scotts and owned by Monsanto. In Europe, Scotts’ brands include Weedol®, Pathclear®, Evergreen®, Levington® Miracle-Gro®, KB®, Fertiligene® and Substral®.

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