While the email does recommend which Scotts products to consider, the overall effect is much more educational than promotional, which is a best practice when creating useful marketing centered around help, not hype.
One of the key consumer trends powering the creation and propagation of Youtility—marketing so useful people would pay for it if asked—is self-serve information. Today's consumers, armed with always-on Internet access via smartphone and tablet, want the opportunity to find answers themselves.
Ortho provides tremendous self-serve information opportunities to customers of that brand, as the Ortho Problem Solver mobile application (iOS, Android) enables users to find recommendations customized to their current location. Here in Bloomington, Indiana, I evidently should be concerned about 33 types of broadleaf weeds, including the insidious White Dutch Clover.
For each potential issue—which also includes pests such as mice, ants and lawn grubs—the Ortho Problem Solver app provides a description, seasonal circumstances and possible remediation steps. Agrarian hypochondriacs should think twice before downloading it, as you have nightmares about weevils and dandelions. The app also allows customers to take a photo of a lawn or pest issue and upload it to Ortho help desk personnel.
With more than seven hundred thousand customers, the Scotts Lawn Services division knows a lot about grass, and successfully imparting that knowledge to consumers makes a meaningful difference in company results, according to Beth Dockins, director of Customer Service at Scotts Miracle-Gro.
In many parts of the country, lawns are aerated in the spring or fall, depending on grass type. This process creates hundreds or thousands of tiny holes in the turf, allowing oxygen to better circulate under the surface, and enabling fertilizer to penetrate more deeply into the soil. Many experts, including those at Scotts, claim aeration is one of the keys to a healthy lawn. The aftermath of aeration, however, can be pretty ugly, and customers not familiar with the process can be shocked and dismayed, thinking their lawn has been ruined.