Attracting over 100 delegates, the event's theme was 'tools for success' and focussed on how businesses can maximize the effectiveness of their marketing spend whatever their budget.

Generating awareness can be no guarantee of earning a return on investment, and with many different demands on consumers' disposable income it's essential that promotional and marketing activities are relevant and inspiring.

Digital and social media

Keynote speaker topics ranged variously from how marketing has evolved to the power that digital media and iconic music have on modern advertising campaigns and the way that these can be carried through to in-store promotions.

Nathan's presentation was concerned with 'Brand Building At The Coalface' with examples on how he is building the Gardensite and Hall's Garden Centre brands using a selection of digital marketing tools.

Nathan also explained how the garden centre assisted in the creation of the 'Time To Live' rose to raise funds for Breast Cancer Now, a charity that the garden centre has supported over many years.

It was no surprise that social media and digital marketing was featured throughout the day. Marketing strategies should be about keeping customers engaged by using social media that resonates with them and in a language they understand.

Traditional marketing

Strategies that involve traditional marketing techniques were not neglected. There's nothing sophisticated about a leaflet door drop, but when it is a successful demographically targeted campaign you can ensure that your promotional information is delivered to relevant recipients.

New ways to reach out, engage and interact with customers were showcased, and other speakers explained how new audiences can be attracted to garden centres with particular reference to creating childrens' attractions. 

With marketing and sales promotion continuing to develop and adjust in a fast-changing media landscape, the forum was well received by both suppliers and retailers and provided a valuable insight into identifying new opportunities and how to exploit them with innovative marketing strategies.