What happened in Vegas?


PLANET’s Green Industry Great Escape encourages new ways of thinking

What happened in Las Vegas at the Professional Landcare Network’s (PLANET’s) Green Industry Great Escape? More than 150 contractors, suppliers and spouses convened at The Cosmopolitan Feb. 20-23 for education sessions geared toward executives, leadership meetings, networking and fun. Hopefully what they learned won’t stay in Vegas.

Headshot: Speaker and magician Jon Petz had some fun with John Deere’s Segment Marketing Manager Ken Taylor.
Headshot: Speaker and magician Jon Petz had some fun with John Deere’s Segment Marketing Manager Ken Taylor.

Coming alive

Green Industry consultant Jim Paluch welcomed Great Escape attendees with the “Come Alive Outside” message he founded, which is supported by PLANET and a handful of industry suppliers. The flagship website, ComeAliveOutside.com, features free tips and resources for companies to promote the message, webinars and information about in-person education events. There is no membership fee; it’s a grassroots effort, Paluch explained. The goal? “Capture the business opportunities of today while creating a better world for tomorrow.

“We need to move our focus to helping people ‘come alive outside,’” he said, referring to some of today’s biggest problems, like childhood obesity. “We’re dying a slow death inside. Do we want to be the industry that cuts grass and installs landscapes or the profession that transforms the health of the nation?”

Finding a cause

Roger Phelps, promotional communications manager for Stihl, led a roundtable discussion on cause marketing with Bill Brunelle of Independent We Stand, an online community of locally owned businesses that educate their communities about the benefits of buying local. Independent We Stand is sponsored by Stihl, which sells its products only through independent dealers.

Independent We Stand, with more than 100,000 members, has taken off. Finding such a “cause” could translate to success for landscape contractors, too. Consider another cause marketing campaign: Small Business Saturday. Brunelle pointed out it was founded by American Express. More than 100 million consumers shopped local on this day in 2012 (the Saturday after Thanksgiving).

Phelps emphasized cause marketing campaigns must be authentic. “If the cause isn’t part of your DNA, customers will sniff that out,” he said.

The roundtable conversation turned to PLANET’s annual Day of Service event and the “Come Alive Outside” movement, which attendees had learned about the day before, and how companies could leverage these things in promoting their own businesses.

Show time!

It wouldn’t be Vegas without seeing a show, and speaker and magician Jon Petz emphasized the importance of creating “show time” moments for customers because, as he said, “No one remembers boring.”

Body language expert Janine Driver presented “The New Executive Presence,” which was anything but boring. A law enforcement trainer, she taught the audience what signs they may be sending with their body language, and how to read others’ actions.

She also spoke about “inattentional blindness,” which occurs when executives are hyperfocused on one thing, so they miss problems or crimes unfolding before them (think: embezzlement).

“Information can be right under our eyes and we miss it,” she said. “You have to look at things with a different perspective. It could literally change your business.”

Marisa Palmieri

Marisa Palmieri

Marisa Palmieri is an experienced Green Industry editor who's won numerous awards for her coverage of the landscape and golf course markets from the Turf & Ornamental Communicators Association (TOCA), the Press Club of Cleveland and the American Society of Business Publication Editors (ASBPE). In 2007, ASBPE named her a Young Leader. She graduated with a Bachelor of Science in Journalism, cum laude, from Ohio University’s Scripps School of Journalism.

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