After working abroad for major multi-nationals in roles spanning finance, sales and supply chain for almost a decade, the opportunity to lead at Scotts Miracle-Gro Company persuaded Andrew Martin to move home to Australia, where he’s helped to make the grass a little greener.
People with a love for plants
Before joining Scotts almost three years ago, Andrew admits he had neglected his natural green thumb and didn’t know a lot about the company. “The brands — Osmocote, Lawn Builder, Defender and Round Up — were familiar,” he says, “But being overseas, I hadn’t been in my garden for some time.” Once Andrew assumed the mantle of General Manager for Scotts Asia–Pacific, he quickly set about creating an environment where his passions for people and plants collide.
“I spent a large portion of my first month meeting one-on-one with everyone in the organisation — that means every single team member,” Andrew remembers. “It was clear the products were of high quality and the brands were strong, but there had not been a lot of investment in engaging with the consumer or building capability across the organisation.”
As well as listening carefully to what his staff had to say about Scotts, Andrew noticed consumers were thirsty for practical, credible horticultural and gardening advice. In days gone by, budding gardeners often benefited from inter-generational knowledge sharing. These days, with this trend diminishing, Andrew is targeting new opportunities to connect with people looking for guidance in the garden.
Cultivating a community
Establishing a presence at industry events such as the Melbourne International Flower and Garden Show and Floriade in Canberra and investing in the training Scotts provides to staff at Bunnings and dedicated nurseries, Andrew succeeded in ensuring Scotts became more visible as an authority to consumers. His success is evidenced by strong brand loyalty and the online community that has flourished, which is extraordinarily active and engaged. The Scotts social media platforms contain a wealth of shared information that continues to link generations.
“Demographics are changing, with more and more people living in apartments and units. Some see this as the beginning of the end for the industry. I see it as an incredible opportunity,” reasons Andrew.“We’re kept busy thinking about how we can provide solutions for people that want to connect with nature, how we assist people to grow for themselves and how we can leverage the technology to do so.”
How does your Australian garden grow?
Andrew also remains optimistic because he holds a particularly advantageous hand. As a global player able to participate and prosper in Australian communities, Scotts differentiates itself by leveraging a large investment in R&D from the United States to deliver exceptional products at a local level.
With two Australian potting mix plants, one in Sydney and the other in Melbourne, Andrew is focused on growing domestic manufacturing operations. “I believe in local production and the benefit of a shorter supply chain to stay responsive and relevant,” he says. “In our industry, with chemicals and bulky packs, local production is sometimes necessary. As such, we have plans to increase the scale of owned manufacturing operations in Australia over the coming years.”
As someone who appreciates that tilling one’s little plot of land can be one of life’s great joys, Andrew is optimistic about the role Scotts will play in the future of the industry. “If we stay resolute to our vision — to help people of all ages express themselves on their own piece of earth — the rest will fall into place,” he says.