Holganix Case Study:
Pirates get "hooked" on Holganix
When gazing at the manicured, green turf at PNC Park (Home of the Pittsburgh Pirates), it not hard to imagine why Manny Lopez, Director of Field Operations, is excited by the results he’s receiving with Holganix. Holganix is a 100% organic, bionutritional product that promotes sustainable plant health with drastically less inputs. Lopez himself claims to have reduced his use of inputs by 50%.
However, one of the most exciting things for Lopez in terms of results has been the significant increase in root growth and density of the turf, especially when it came to dealing with new sod. In fact, it was those very roots that led Lopez and Field Maintenance Supervisor Derek Hurlbert to win the Holganix Roots For You root competition in sports turf. “We were really excited to announce the PNC management team as the winners,” states Holganix CEO Barrett Ersek. “They had beautiful roots that spanned nearly 9 inches in length" (see image below).
All in all, “We got hooked on [Holganix]!” states Lopez. “We love the results… [Holganix] has done exactly what it promised it would do.” Check out the video above for the full story behind PNC Park’s success with Holganix.
The Science Behind Holganix
Top 5 reasons to use Holganix Bloom on your flowers this year
1. Shine a little brighter – Flowers treated with Holganix are vigorous and colorful despite being able to drastically reduce synthetic inputs such as fertilizers and pesticides.
2. Banish the sun – Drought got you in a funk? Ingredients in Holganix such as mycorrhizae help flowers better retain moisture and build dense, healthy root systems. That means your flowers will need on average less irrigation, will stay healthy longer even in a drought and recover from drought faster.
3. Rooting for success – When worried about the healing in process of your plants, Holganix is here to help! Ingredients such as mycorrhizae and ligin polymers among others help break down potting media and help nurture healthy roots that will more easily adapt to new habitats.
4. Building healthy plants – When you foster healthy plant growth, your allowing the plant to be better equipped when faced with disease, weeds and stress.
5. Don’t panic, it’s organic – Holganix is a 100% organic bionutritional product that promotes strong plant health and vigor. With Holganix, it’s all about providing a probiotic solution to plant wellness.
Learn more about Holganix Bloom here.
Marketing Hints and Tips
Communicating the concept of bionutrition to homeowners
How do you communicate using Holganix and bionutrition products to your customers? While you want to tell your current and prospective customers how your company is different from the rest, the science behind bionutrition can be confusing to those without a turf background. Analogies are great ways to explain what bionutrition is when speaking with current and prospective clients.
For example, we love the analogy of Holganix being a probiotic for plant health. Probiotics are huge in human health (think Activia or greek yogurt). Probiotics is the idea of introducing non-harmful bacteria to our bodies (or plant bodies!) to keep the “bad bacteria” in check. It's all about keeping the balance between the good and the bad bacteria in harmony. Check out this probiotic postcard Holganix has made for your use in mailings.
The Science Behind Holganix
What's the difference between Holganix Tree & Shrub and Holganix Bloom?
“Have you seen the flowers?” inquired Steve Smith, the manager for an Ohio-based full-service lawn company (a pseudonym, as the individual would like to remain anonymous). “No I haven’t,” replied Holganix CEO Barrett Ersek with the barest hint of hesitation.
Two weeks beforehand, Ersek had made a bet with Smith. The full-service company had a beautiful office surrounded by a river of small pink flowers called Vinca. “Give me half of these flowers,” Barrett had said. “Put Holganix Tree and Shrub on half of these flowers and do your normal regimen on the other half. If my half looks better, take a risk and use Holganix on a few of your spray trucks.” The deal was struck and two weeks later Ersek couldn’t help but feel a little nervous when Smith reminded him about their bet on the flowerbeds.
“Come and have a look at your flowers,” said Smith. Smith led Ersek to the flowerbeds and smiled. The difference between the Holganix flowers and Smith’s normal regimen was evident. “It looked like you could draw a line down the middle; it was that different,” recalls Ersek. The Holganix flowers were brighter colored and sturdier looking (see picture to left. The top Vinca was treated with Holganix while the bottom Vinca acted as the control). Ersek won his bet and Smith started spraying Holganix on several routes.
It was stories like Smith’s that inspired the Holganix Team to launch a separate flower product called Bloom. “There was a need by our community of users for a flower product,” states Ersek. Although the Tree and Shrub product is a great tool for flowers, Holganix has made tweaks in the Holganix formulation that will enhance the effects already seen on flowers with Holganix.
Can Holganix users still utilize Holganix Tree and Shrub on their flowers?
All Holganix products begin with a plant-based compost tea that is slightly altered for each product line. Holganix then layers in numerous other beneficial ingredients tailored to that product. It is a tweaking of each recipe that allows for additional attributes specific to the plants. Those utilizing Tree and Shrub on their flowers are still welcome to use Tree and Shrub or any other Holganix product on flowerbeds. However, we believe that Holganix users will find the Bloom product to deliver the best possible results on flowers and create an additional profit opportunity.
What are the differences between Holganix Tree and Shrub and Holganix Bloom?
Holganix Bloom has been developed with a concern for retaining the majority of Holganix benefits while minimizing the impact of mold on plant growth," says Dr. Neidermyer, Director of Plant and Soil Sciences at Holganix. Compost use and composting conditions are selected with a bias toward reducing the amount of fungi in the product. An exception to this rule is the amount of mycorrhizae (fungi), which has been increased by 12% from the Tree and Shrub product. Mycorrhizae promote root growth, allowing plants to obtain as much available moisture and nutrients as possible. Mycorrhizae have been proven to be effective in promoting the conversion of non-available phosphorus to usable forms and in moving phosphorus to plant roots. Phosphorus is key in promoting flower plants.
Other key differences in the product include increases in compost tea levels (6%), yucca extract (.5%), kelp (1.2%) and melaleuca oil (.001%). There are also decreases in Bloom ingredients as compared with Tree and Shrub with specific ingredients including molasses (4.24%) and brewer’s yeast (18%). For a list of the ingredients found within Holganix and their benefits, click here. All these changes are designed to enhance flowering as opposed to leafy growth and to minimize stem rot that can reduce the vigor of the plant.
Where can you find more information?
For more information on Holganix Bloom, check out this web page and download the cut sheet here.
Marketing Hints and Tips:
Are you selling a service or an idea?
There are two beautiful stores in a mall that share a common wall between them. The first store contains rustic tile flooring, clean sharp angles and utilitarian styled tables showing off flashy pieces of technology. There’s a crowd of potential clients milling about the store-turned-showroom and several geek-clad store clerks mingle amongst the throng. The second store is similarly built and shaped. It carries the same flashy gadgets and is managed by similarly geeky store clerks. However, in the second store, there are only a dozen customers.
What’s the difference? What could the first store possibly offer that is better than the second, even though they sell the same products, are both sold by smart people and share a wall? The difference lies in the idea. Our first crowded store belonged to Apple while the latter was from Microsoft. Microsoft sells technology. Apple sells an idea. It’s the idea, your company’s reason for being, that makes all the difference. Take for example, Schill Grounds Management's mission to drive sustainability in the Great Lake region of Ohio, or Chicago based, Chalet’s goal to make their clients’ dreams come true. So, are you selling lawn care? Or are you selling an idea that just so happens to be fueled by lawn care?
The Holganix Blog:
Beware of Winterkill in the Carolina and Georgia Market
As Holganix Representative, Scott McCrary lectures about the Carolina and Georgia region, the television flashes a picture of a snowy and messy Atlanta. Cars are abandoned in the middle of highways and children are being kept overnight at schools. “The whole region is a mess and it’s probably going to affect turf health,” drawls McCrary in his charming Georgia accent.
McCrary is a green industry veteran and has dedicated 30+ years to the industry. “It all started with my passion for golf, which eventually led me to an undergraduate and masters degree in ornamental horticulture and design.” To this day, he still enjoys playing golf in his free time.
McCrary is worried that the cold weather will affect his fellow green industry leaders, especially those in golf course management. “I think there’s going to be some winterkill this year on our golf courses.” When winterkill strikes, the turf dies and doesn’t come out of dormancy in the spring. One cause of winterkill is cold temperatures in the soil (see the above picture from Michigan State University).
It used to be that the Carolina/Georgia market would see winterkill every 2-3 years but with high temperatures over the past decade, green industry professionals have been awfully spoiled.
“The Carolina and Georgia market hasn’t seen weather this cold for about 10-15 years. This kind of cold weather scares the Bermuda golf course guys and for a good reason. Superintendents won’t know if their courses have been affected by winterkill until later in the spring,” states McCrary. “When the turf doesn’t come out of dormancy, they’ll know what hit them.” Because superintendents won’t know if their courses have been a victim of winterkill until April, it will take a lot of time and effort to get courses ready for play time. Superintendents will also have to re-sprig their courses. “It’s like there’s a tornado coming through and there’s nothing you can do about it.”
Golf course superintendents aren’t the only ones affected by the winter mayhem. For both golf course and lawn care professionals, the cold weather could also push back operations this spring. That means larger lawn care companies will have less time to get their round-1 applications down this spring.
But there is a silver lining! Although cold weather can be a menace for the Carolina and Georgia turf professionals, it can also be a blessing in disguise. “Typically, there are less insects when our market sees this kind of cold weather.” Furthermore, it will be a good year for sod farms catering to their superintendent counterparts.
The winning question is: will Holganix help? According to Holganix inventor and scientist Stephen Lange, Holganix may help protect against winterkill and winter injury over all. “Winterkill occurs when the plant is freeze dried. The cell walls in the exposed foliage go through cellular explosion. Ultimately, the moisture in the tissue is released into the atmosphere as humidity. Ingredients contained within Holganix like yucca extract will help the plant retain more moisture.” Those that have used Holganix for at least one year and have applied Holganix in the fall will have a much higher tolerance to winterkill than those that have only just begun using Holganix or do not yet use Holganix.
“At the end of the day,” says McCrary. “We’ll just have to sit tight and cross our fingers that winterkill doesn’t strike.”
Winterkill photograph by Michigan State University Turf Sciences Department: http://turf.msu.edu/assets/ArticlePhotos/_resampled/LargePhoto-wintdamage01.jpg
Holganix Case Study
Roots make Holganix a no brainer
“I guess it all started with a drawing I created during kindergarten,” replied Rob Dillinger when asked what had started his love affair with the green industry. “We were told to draw what we wanted to be when we grew up and sure enough, I drew my dad on a golf green equipped with irrigation and everything. He still has it, framed to this day.”
Dillinger is the newest addition to the Holganix team. He has recently taken over the Florida territory from Dave Henricksen. Henricksen has returned to his home in Indiana to lead that region’s Holganix efforts.
Dillinger is the son of a superintendent turned salesman for Upstart Products based in Titusville, Florida. Dillinger’s first job was working at a golf course as a teenager before he signed on at Vanderbilt Golf Course in Naples, Florida as an assistant superintendent. It was at Vanderbilt where Dillinger first saw Holganix in action.
“We first started using Holganix in November of 2013. We were eager to try it out… especially on some of the weaker areas of the turf.” Dillinger, who spearheaded the Holganix operation, took copious notes throughout the trial and was impressed with what he saw. “The effects Holganix had on roots were the real draw to the product. After all, healthy, dense root systems ultimately promote a healthier plant,” notes Dillinger. “We have Tifdwarf Bermuda turf on the greens with 1- to 2-inch-long roots. After applying a total of 28 ounces of Holganix over 6 weeks, I pulled a plug and recorded 4- to 5-inch-long root systems.” That’s astounding for Vanderbilt’s Florida turf and had a positive effect on the weaker areas at the course. There was an increase in turf density and improved aesthetics and playability. “The roots made Holganix a no-brainer.”
True enough to the kindergarten picture he drew so many years ago, Dillinger followed in his father’s footsteps and has made the transition from working on the course to sales. Although he loves rolling up his sleeves and working on the greens, he’s excited and confident that the transition was the right choice. “I didn’t want to get into sales for just any company however,” cautions Dillinger. “Holganix has a real value-add for fertilizer users. It’s something truly unique and it’s going to positively impact the green industry in a big way. I’m excited to be able to serve the Holganix Florida community.”
Marketing hints and tips
$0 – $2 Million in 6 Years
It all began at a North Carolina Wendy’s. Donnie Shelton purchased a small pest control company over lunch at the local Wendy’s. Six short years later, Shelton was managing a $2 million pest control company now called Triangle Pest Control. What does Shelton attribute to his swift success? According to Shelton in a lecture at the Real Green Marketing and User’s Conference in Orlando, Florida, inbound marketing was his key driving force. “Inbound marketing can deliver 54% more leads into the marketing funnel than traditional outbound leads (such as radio and television) and yet research shows that only 11% of business owners lend their full support to inbound marketing efforts.”
Today, Shelton has teamed up with Real Green Systems to create Real Green Analytics, a tool that brings inbound marketing to the lawn care and pest control industries. Their goal is to maximize opportunities for lawn care and pest control companies to grow through proven inbound marketing techniques such as content creation, SEO and others. Although Real Green Analytics was officially rolled out in August 2013, it was the talk of this year’s Real Green Marketing and User’s Conference. It will be interesting to see how this newest service to the Real Green System platform can help foster growth amongst lawn care and pest control businesses.
Our challenge to you is this: start incorporating inbound marketing techniques in your company today. Begin small. Start a Facebook Page or get writing on your company’s very own blog. Get ahead of the competition and start building your own online community of customers.
Ready to get inbound? Check out these blogs to help guide you to success!
Marketing Hints and Tips:
Building your lawn care marketing plan
Spring has sprung; what about your marketing plan? There are three overarching points you should consider as you run your marketing campaigns.
- Get crystal clear and focused. Even though your company has many different services (i.e. snow plowing, fertilization, mowing, etc), it’s important to identify the services that bring your company the best long-term value and profit margin and to hone in on that service in your marketing. Don’t clutter your marketing piece with numerous offer lines; instead choose the most profitable service offered. Also, make sure your offering describes what makes your company different from the rest!
- Build density within your list. By focusing on your golden streets – those neighborhoods with your most profitable customers and their equally profitable neighbors (or prospects) – you decrease your windshield time and increase profits.
- KISS – Keep it simple, stupid. How simple is your message? How simple is your piece? Keep your marketing piece and message as simple as possible so prospects can glance at your marketing piece and instantly know what you’re offering and if it’s useful to them.
Marketing Hints and Tips
From stagnation to growth – the lawn care industry is kicking recession butt
Last year, in the January 2013 publication of Irrigation and Green Industry magazine, publisher Denne Goldstein reminded readers that “the important thing is that we’re still in business.” Trimming down the fat and staying as lean as possible was the highlight for the year and it was a good lesson to learn. However, as we look at this January’s publication, we can’t help but notice a tangible shift. “This year is just getting started and it’s shaping up to be an exciting one,” begins Goldstein. Goldstein reminds us that opportunities for growth are plentiful and that the financial investment community has started to pay attention to the green industry (think about both Brickman Group and John Deere Landscapes’ acquisitions). Denne we couldn’t agree with you more!
After listening to talk around growing lawn care businesses at recent tradeshows including GIE+EXPO, Real Green System’s User Conference and the Lawn Care Summit, it’s difficult to remember that it was only a year ago where these same people were speaking about maintaining business as opposed to growing it. It’s clear that there has been a subconscious shift in the collective green industry mindset. Instead of thinking “how do we maintain our business,” we are hearing “how do we grow it!”
According to Scott Whitehead, owner of Georgia-based Unlimited Landscaping, “The market is taking off. We have significantly grown our business over the past year and are looking forward to another great year in 2014.” A growth mindset is a refreshing turn of events for green industry professionals.
It’s official, the green industry is kicking recession butt!