â€œThe horticulture industry needs to move out of its comfort zone and work together to improve product promotion if it is to capture the new generation of consumersâ€ is the message being highlighted by horticulture-specialised publicist Miriam Young (Planting Stories Public Relations) in a new international trade publication due to be launched at Glee. Writing in GARDEN International, she sites the rapid integration between the garden and general lifestyle markets as a wake-up call the horticulture industry must respond to in order to compete for business among a broader, less-knowledgeable target market. â€œThe horticulture industry has traditionally nestled inside a comfort zone of familiar customers and therefore never developed a full appreciation of promotional marketing. Products are being retailed in a more integrated fashion now â€“ just look at Amazon.com, you can go on-line to buy a book and come away with a patio-full of planted containers – and that means we have a broader demographic to play for. The ratio of knowledgeable gardeners in our marketplace is falling and ever-larger proportions of sales will depend on intelligent product marketing, both on and off-line.â€ Referring to John Connelâ€™s comments in the GleeWire feature â€œPresentation is everythingâ€ about how retailers should put weight behind products that are getting media support, Miriam points out that despite the hunger among garden writers for interesting product stories, very few businesses step forward and supply them. â€œWriting press releases and maintaining a media contact network to send them to are specialist tasks that very few horticulture businesses devote time or budget to. Yet the publication space a good press release can lead to may equate to many thousands of advertising Pounds/Euros/Dollars, not to mention the kudos that editorial coverage brings.â€ â€œA knowledgeable publicist can take care of all of this, but many people are reluctant to use outside publicists because they are worried about the cost. For this reason I developed www.gardenpress.info as a publicity distribution point that everybody can afford. Businesses post descriptions of products on the site and garden journalists read them â€“ they even get email alerts of new postings, so the site works in a pro-active way. Itâ€™s a cheap, simple and effective method to court media publicity in both trade and consumer sectors, on both sides of the Atlantic.â€ Having addressed one issue, Miriam has discovered that many businesses face the more fundamental problem of not having the resources to write publicity information in the first place. â€œIf businesses canâ€™t provide suitable information for the press thatâ€™s a huge handicap for the industry. Moving out of the comfort zone means investing in the promotional writing that lays the foundations to attracting consumer interest.â€ Miriamâ€™s article in GARDEN International â€œCould You be the Weakest Link?â€ outlines the responsibilities that every business in the supply chain has to contribute to overall industry success. â€œThere needs to be much better communication right through the supply chain to develop effective consumer sales messages. Every link in the chain has something to bring to the party â€“ itâ€™s just a case of getting that party organised.â€ Miriam Young can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org or via www.plantingstories.com. GARDEN International can be found at Glee in at stand K3 in Hall 4. For more information www.gardeninternatinal.com.