Ever feel like you're in a thankless profession? Do your employees? Sometimes you're fortunate to work for clients who greatly appreciate your work. Other times, particularly in some commercial sectors, the appreciation is not as forthcoming. You take the good with the bad, relishing in the good as much as possible.
The marketing team at ArtisTree Landscape Maintenance & Design in Venice, FL, decided it was time to do something about this—not just for their company and its employees, but for the industry as a whole.
For the past year, Debra Morrow and Sara Roberts have been administering a program called Thank a Landscaper. A website, ThankALandscaper.com, allows people to post "thank you notes" that call attention to the great work their landscapers have been providing. It's not unlike the testimonials many of your customers provide to you, which you then post on your website and social media pages. With Thank a Landscaper, though, it's not just about a single company. It's about the landscaping profession as a whole—and it's often about the individual acts of greatness that certain crews and employees exhibit.
"We first came up with the idea in March 2015," Morrow tells. "A client asked us to transplant 200 fruit trees to prevent them from getting bulldozed. A couple of weeks later, as a thank you, our account executive was presented with some homemade coconut bread and jam—made from the trees his team had just transplanted. This was such a heartfelt gesture that made a huge impact on our employees. It got us to thinking about how things often work in this business. Some clientele don't really think about the people working under very difficult conditions in this industry. We wanted to create a campaign that drew attention to this invisible workforce."
Spreading the word
Thank a Landscaper is that campaign. In addition to the website, ArtisTree has been promoting it in other ways. Thank a Landscaper is highlighted on ArtisTree's own company website and social media pages. The campaign logo is plastered on each of its 120 trucks. Local media has written about it. Morrow and Roberts have visited area schools to help spread the message, which serves a dual purpose because those visits also expose young people to careers in this industry. Business cards, stickers and other guerilla-type marketing tools have also been deployed.
Thank a Landscaper merchandise—such as hats, shirts and coffee mugs—are available for purchase on the website. Proceeds are put into a scholarship fund.
"We currently have a couple of partners that are helping to promote the campaign," Morrow adds. "One is Big Earth Supply. The other is Mowers Inc. (equipment dealership), which posts Thank a Landscaper decals throughout its beautiful showroom."
The message has definitely spread throughout ArtisTree's market area. "We've had some of our competitors email us saying they saw our logo and think this is really great," Morrow says. "Thank a Landscaper elevates all of us—and that's exactly what we're shooting for."
Now Morrow and Roberts are shooting for additional partners to help take the movement mainstream. "We're a two-person marketing team, and we can only do so much," Morrow points out. "It would be nice to have one of the industry's big guns, perhaps an equipment manufacturer, who could get behind this and help us take it national in a big way."
Visit ThankALandscaper.com for more information.