What are the consumers up to online?

Domingo Iudice is founder of BrainPull – a digital marketing agency based in Italy. He is the keynote speaker at AIPH World Ornamental Horticultural Summit, on Wednesday, 28 September. His presentation will be on ‘Marketing in the digital era’, where he will explore how digital communications and technology can create value and increase profitability, by finding new ways to sell to B2B and influence the end consumer.

FCI sought a glimpse of inspiration about our industry’s digital future by asking Domingo a few searching questions.

How do you see the planet in 2030 – will we reach the United Nation’s 17 Sustainable Development Goals?

“Despite the ambitious global goal, it will be tough to reach such demanding targets. As a marketing advisor, I would instead like to focus on what consumers will do.

Pandemics and war have changed life’s perspective. Moreover, increasing smartphone and social network usage will strongly influence the connection between nations and cultures, inspiring populations and consumers.

I firmly believe that three factors drive consumers that I consider are the dimension of the ‘new richness’ of life.

Wellness and health.

Life expectations will be considered a vital variable in everyday life motivation: people will have average life expectations closer to 100 years with greater attention to appearance, beauty, and work-life balance. Likewise, people’s choices of work careers, places of living, and everyday routine will be chosen in how they impact health and wellness: related services – such as medical, prevention, and wellness services – these will rise fast.

Travel and experience.

A wired world would not be enough: an experienced world will be worth more. Enhancing your ‘self-being’ with sharable experiences will be considered a critical factor in self-motivation and satisfaction.

Education and studying.

Automation and AI will increasingly reduce manual work, pushing humans towards a new set of skills and work parameters primarily based on knowledge. Also, industries usually resistant to innovation (tradings, manufacturings, distributions) will be affected by innovation. On the other hand, high content consumption and high usage of interfaces could affect the consistency of knowledge, turning into a higher degree of functional ignorance: people will be able to read but not deeply understand, bringing a worrying level of ‘influenceability’ and ‘impressionability’.”

Is the consumer still king/queen?

“Of course, yes: direct-to-consumer, online shopping, and word of mouth will increasingly impact how brands manage their reputation and products or services. On the other hand, a company’s social impact will be considered an impactful variable in purchasing products and services.”

What should the ornamental horticulture industry talk about that would attract consumers?

“Green impact, sensory pleasure, and health related factors should be considered great tools in communicating benefits in the ‘sensibilisation’ of final customers.”

Is the consumer ready to spend more on sustainably grown flowers and plants?

“I say: “yes.””

How can we keep the ’Covid-time’ audience of novice gardeners and flower aficionados on board?

“Technology is the answer: CRM systems will be great tools for keeping the audience active and profitable, helping the horticulture industries cut their communication costs and put more energy into direct marketing and customer care. A plant by itself is vulnerable to competition. Excellent service is sustainable and brings customers higher loyalty.”

What does the consumer ‘think’ in terms of knowing about flowers and plants?

“I believe that service, long-life support, and valuable relationships between producers, traders, and consumers is crucial: a direct marketing strategy integrated into a proficient CRM system will allow Horticulture to keep knowledge-nurturing stable and constant.”

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