If you love doughnuts, you can’t go through Los Angeles and not stop off at Randy’s Donuts, even if just to gawk at the giant doughnut perched atop the small bakery (or at least it seems that way compared to the enormous treat above it). Randy’s was established in 1953 and has been going strong ever since. The donut has been featured in many movies and music videos, and has a bit of a cult following, all of which it has embraced. It’s been a huge (pun intended) silent marketer for Randy’s, and there are lines to buy a dozen doughnuts at all hours of the day — at least that’s the impression I’ve gotten when we drive by on our way to California Spring Trials stops.

Randy’s Donuts in all its glory

Marketing is just as important for plants as it is for baked goods, whether it’s used to entice a retail customer to purchase more snapdragons or persuade landscape contractors to use your plants, instead of the competition’s, in their designs. You may have a fantastic product, but if you aren’t communicating that message to your customers, they won’t know what they’re missing out on.

At this year’s California Spring Trials, we saw many great examples of marketing and merchandising at the different stops. PlantHaven played off its newest dianthus variety’s name with a giant wizard and matching wizard pins for attendees, while Sakata Seed America displayed a colorful cake sculpture to celebrate 10 years of its well-known impatiens series. Suntory Flowers showed off its new petunia with a heart-shaped pattern with matching candy hearts and Benary hosted a fashion show and gave out flower-themed drinks. Syngenta Flowers’ displays were great examples of silent marketers, with easily accessible variety information on double-sided posters, bees and butterflies hanging about to remind attendees of their focus on pollinators, and a honey giveaway. Turn to page 6 to get inspired by these creative marketing and display ideas.

Karen E. Varga, Editor