Can You Dig It? Top Neighborhoods Buying Garden Supplies and Services

Spring is here, and summer is just around the corner. This means that it’s the perfect time to start or grow a garden. And if you’re a national garden supply retailer, the time is ripe for an advertising push that puts your lawn and garden tools into the right households all across the nation.

According to the 2012 National Gardening Survey, the US lawn and garden market totaled $29.1 billion in 2011.[1] The survey also reported that home improvement centers and mass merchants claim about 51% of the market share, which demonstrates their dominance over garden nurseries and hardware stores. But even though green thumbs are shifting dollars to the larger retailers, there’s still a lot of market share for retailers to gain. The best way to capture more market share is by running a hyperlocal digital campaign.  

To help garden supply companies better reach their customers, MaxPoint used its proprietary Digital Zip® technology to pull information about the neighborhoods most interested in gardening in the United States. We looked at data for both the do-it-yourself (DIY) residential gardening market as well as the market for professional landscaping services. As a result of our research, we found two major audience profiles—green thumbs and brown thumbs.  

On Green Thumbs and Brown Thumbs 
When it comes to DIY gardening, green thumbs cultivate their own gardens and seek out lawn care and garden care information. Brown thumbs are the opposite—they don’t tend their own gardens and don’t spend much of their time reading up on gardening. Brown thumbs are still interested in curb appeal; they just don’t want to do it themselves.  

So, who fits into each of the profiles? 

Green Thumb Consumer Profile 
Green thumbs tend to share the following characteristics: 

  • They are typically over 55 years of age.
  • Their incomes usually range between $20,000 and $60,000 per year.
  • They own their homes.
  • They typically have children.
  • They usually haven’t completed college.   

With many green thumbs over the retirement age, they likely have more time to spend in their gardens than many brown thumbs do. And, because some are on a fixed income, they save money by skipping the costs incurred using professional landscaping services. But the extra time and fixed income doesn’t explain everything—many home gardeners find the activity extremely relaxing and rewarding.  

MaxPoint also used its proprietary interest data to uncover overlapping interests among the green thumbs. Unsurprisingly, we found that the audience was strongly interested in eco-friendly living and home improvement. But we also found that the green thumb crowd consumes a lot of content on law and government. 

Brown Thumb Consumer Profile 
Brown thumbs, or shoppers with a lower interest in DIY gardening, share the following characteristics:  

  • They’re typically between the ages of 18 and 44.
  • Their incomes exceed $80,000 per year.
  • They own their homes.
  • They usually have college degrees.  

Brown thumbs tend to be younger than green thumbs. Many of them have busy careers that prevent them from spending much of their time on beautifying their homes. That may put them in the right market for lawn and garden products that take less time and effort. And, with a higher income, they can afford to outsource their gardening and lawn care to professional landscapers.   

MaxPoint found that brown thumbs tend to be highly interested in extreme sports, fashion, and heart health. We also found that many brown thumbs frequently research allergy relief products, which may contribute to their lack of interest in gardening.  

Where to Find Them 
Green thumbs and brown thumbs sometimes live in the same cities. But interestingly, they often live in different neighborhoods within these cities. Digital Zips, or neighborhoods, with heavy concentrations of both green thumbs and brown thumbs are located in the following cities:

  • Ft. Smith, AR
  • New Orleans, LA
  • Oklahoma City, OK
  • Santa Fe, NM
  • Shreveport, LA   

If advertisers target these cities, they'll reach both green thumbs and brown thumbs, even if they're only trying to target one group. So, is there a way to target only one group efficiently?

What This Means for Advertisers
To truly maximize ROI, advertisers who wish to target either green thumbs or brown thumbs are better off focusing on the neighborhood level. The DMA is a great start, but only neighborhood-level targeting truly reduces ad waste while homing in on the right shoppers.

In addition to location, advertisers also need to look at the audience profile. Because many green thumbs are further along in life than the brown thumbs, gardening and outdoor living retailers must use the data for a specific neighborhood to serve the right creative to the right shoppers. For example, garden supply retailers might create advertisements that focus on the relaxing nature of gardening, and then deliver the ads to residents in neighborhoods with heavy concentrations of established families and retirees who have a strong interest in gardening.

In the end, advertisers should use both these profiles and locations to target the right shoppers in the right neighborhoods. That means going beyond the DMA by creating a truly hyperlocal campaign.

MaxPoint in Action
MaxPoint used this data to inform several digital advertising campaigns, including the following:

Lawn Care Service Provider – A professional lawn care service provider wanted to increase its number of qualified leads. The campaign targeted homeowners between the ages of 25 and 54 with a household income over $75,000 who also exhibited a strong interest in curb appeal. The digital campaign helped push customers to request lawn care quotes. The campaign resulted in a CTR that was 1.5 times the industry average.   

Agricultural Equipment Brand – A major agricultural equipment brand wanted to increase sales of its farm equipment at farm and lawn stores. We targeted neighborhoods located around the brand’s farm and lawn equipment stores that had a high level of homeowners with considerable acreage and strong interests in gardening and home improvement. The campaign resulted in a CTR that was twice the industry average.