A Smartphone Education — Lesson 1: Applications

Forget the days of rotary phones and post cards from your garden center because 2011 is the year of new marketing crazes. With current market trends leading to 50% of Americans using smartphones by Christmas of 2011, its no wonder many businesses have taken the leap towards mobile marketing.

For those who are unsure of what a smartphone is lets clear the air. No it is not a phone with a college degree, but rather one capable of surfing the web, hosting applications and using GPS, all while still making phone calls and texting.

SmartphoneOnce you own a smartphone it doesn’t take long to discover the wide world of applications. These are simply programs you can download onto your phone to assist you with what seems like any of life’s conundrums.  Whether it’s a BlackBerry, iPhone or Android operating system, there is a gardening application to assist you.

On the iPhone, the Folia Garden Tracker by Nic & Nath application allows you to look up information on more than 80,000 plants from their database, as well as compare and share your experiences with plants you’ve grown. It also keeps track of when flowers bloomed, when you transplanted them and keep track of your “seed stash” so you can see your seed inventory at a glance.

Blackberry users may find more assistance with a reference application such as Landscaper’s Companion by Stevenson Software, LLC. This application allows landscapers to reference perennials, trees, shrubs and annuals all while working on a job site. With more than 6,000 images and information about each plant, this is a great way to learn more about which plants are right for you.

The Android offers some great applications as well. One of the most popular is HortChat. This application allows you to get information on garden and plant tips or ask questions about what’s going on with your garden. This application also offers a website, HortChat.com, to add supplemental material.

What does this mean for a landscape company or greenhouse looking to get into smart phone marketing? While making an application may not be right for everyone at this moment in time, it is something to consider. There are many applications out there that offer the ability to showcase your product catalog. This could come in handy when showing off new plants in the greenhouse.

For the landscaper, it may be simply creating an app to allow homeowners to go in and pick plants they like then creating a landscape idea for their home. It can also serve as reference guides for on the go workers who don’t want to carry multiple books to the job site. Imagine the simplicity of showing off a new landscape or plant to a customer at their home with out having to carry pictures or even a computer.

There are a number of application developers available on the web for those who are not familiar with computer programming and while you may not think it fits into your budget, there are a number that offer low cost assistance for small businesses. It would be nearly impossible to put a complete up to date list of developers in this article, so the best advice is to go online, look around and do research before making any decisions.

Marketing in the new decade is going to be a fast paced endeavor for any company. With new trends popping up everyday its hard to decide which strategy is right for you. It all comes down to a few simple items: know your audience, know your product and do some research.

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