Scotts Australia is a leading provider of lawn and garden care products. The company is known for its fertilisers such as Osmocote, Miracle Gro and Lawn Builder, and its weed control products Defender and Roundup. When Andrew Martin started as the GM for Australia and Asia–Pacific, he recognised the strength of those brands. He says that what sets Scotts apart is that they have products that really work.
“We pride ourselves on ensuring the consumer expectation and experience are aligned. There are many variables when it comes to success in the garden — weather, water, nutrients, sunlight, knowledge, pests et cetera — so we strive to make products that are easy to use, do not have to be applied too regularly and do the job.”
Setting a course for sustainable growth
When Andrew came on board, Scotts had been experiencing growth, and Andrew saw a need to reassess where the business was and make changes to build a sustainable and profitable future. The company set out to make Scotts more visible to the public.
“We put in place a program to ensure Scotts was recognised as industry leaders, which included attendance at the Melbourne International Flower and Garden Show — Australia’s version of Britain’s Chelsea Flower Show — and at Floriade in Canberra.”
Andrew also saw an opportunity to further grow the business through the acquisition of Debco, a leading manufacturer and marketer of potting mix and other growing mediums. With over 25 million bags of potting mix sold annually in Australia, Scotts wanted to improve its market share.
“Scotts relied entirely upon contract manufacturers for supply. We embarked upon the acquisition to fill a number of key capability gaps like brand, people and assets. This was a long process but has been instrumental in underpinning our next stage of growth.”
Nurturing a team environment
Scotts Australia has a relatively small team compared to organisations of a similar scale in other industries, so it is essential that every new hire strengthens the team. Andrew says, “It’s integral to defining our culture of pitching in and working collectively to get the job done.”
The company has a program in place to recognise the hard work of its employees. The employee and salesperson of the year awards are nominated by peers and awarded based on the achievement of goals and cultural attributes.
“This is not ground-breaking but is about reinforcing the intrinsic self-worth that can be gained from a job well done. It’s not all about money.”
It’s also important for all employees to have direct engagement with customers, not just the sales team. Staff are encouraged to represent the business at consumer shows and events.
“In fact, we fly staff around the country to attend these events. It’s a reward and I can assure you, it ensures the team are clear about the attributes of our products. This direct engagement with the consumer is incredibly beneficial for everyone involved,” Andrew says.
Preparing for the future of gardening
Through consumer engagement, Scotts knows that its customer base is changing. More people live in units and apartments with less capacity for gardening. Andrew sees this as an opportunity for innovation, rather than a death-knell.
“Scotts thinks very long-term about the industry,” he says. “We talk about demographic shifts, water conservation, urban and indoor growing and technology — the connected garden. And Scotts Australia is fortunate to have the backing of Scotts globally and therefore access to the best innovations in lawn and garden care.”
Ultimately, Scotts Australia provides products and services that help people get back to nature and enjoy spending time in the garden.
“After all,” Andrew says, “time in the garden is one of the great pastimes and nourishing for the soul, so we must strive to make that experience more accessible and enjoyable.”