GWA Membership Key to Marketing Efforts


By Anthony Tesselaar

Our company, Anthony Tesselaar Plants, has been involved with the Garden Writers Association since 1995 when I was asked to give a presentation on “The Impact of Global Trends on Home Gardening.” Earlier that year, we introduced the Flower Carpet Rose to the American public, and we’ve continued to be members of the organization ever since, attending or exhibiting ever second or third year—or when we introduce new plants. Our membership is key to our marketing efforts, in part because GWA members are the folks we often depend on to help promote our products. The conferences help us stay connected and showcase new products. We enjoy connecting face-to-face with attendees and old friends and meeting new members of the organization. Not only do we exhibit, we also register for the full conference because we’ve found the learning sessions and tours to be extremely informative. Time spent during the social sessions and on the bus tours gives us an opportunity to talk directly with GWA friends—both old and new—and to learn more about the challenges writers are facing in the ever-changing communications world.

Conversations held throughout the conference also help us to determine what we can do better to serve the community. We enjoy getting your feedback on our Tesselaar  newsroom  media resource website, as it enables us to continue to fine-tune that resource. We also enjoy hearing firsthand how plants trialed by GWA members over the years are performing. This year’s conference was good—perhaps one of the best we’ve attended in several years. We felt there was a renewed energy on the part of the attendees, and the advance planning and work done by the new management group certainly paid off. As an exhibitor, we much appreciated being acknowledged during the Exhibitor/Sponsor Reception and enjoyed meeting and talking with the GWA Board of Directors during that event.

The efforts made to maintain good traffic in the hall were great, too. Maria Ungaro and her team were extremely helpful and attentive, not only during the registration process, but throughout the conference. There were a few minor glitches, but it appears that the Kellen team is already in the process of addressing those for the next conference. Kudos to all!

We would like to suggest that the exhibit hall time be extended slightly—either earlier in the day or extending a bit longer into the evening. Perhaps the time during which First Timers are attending their meeting (just prior to the Exhibit Hall opening) would be an easy way to extend that without disrupting the schedule too much.

Our expectations of GWA members are pretty basic. If we’ve sent someone trial plants, we like to hear how they’re performing. We also hope that if someone does write about our plants, they provide us with a link or information as to where their piece appeared. We subscribe to a clipping service, but there are still small pockets of media outlets that are not on the service’s radar. Our Newsroom website is loaded not only with plant profiles and “story starters,” but also with photos that are available for GWA members’ use at no cost. We hope the membership continues to make use of this resource. From the outset, our philosophy has always been that whatever we do—be it attending a trade show, working with a breeder on new plant introductions, sending plants to our home-garden testers or working with a garden writer on a specific project—it needs to work for everyone involved, not just one or two of us. We truly believe in a win-win-win model: What’s in it for me? What’s in it for you? What’s in it for the world? My father and his father before him—both of who were in the horticultural and bulb business—passed down this philosophy, and it will continue with our company, Anthony Tesselaar Plants.

Meet the Author

Anthony - 1 B-W

Anthony Tesselaar is president and co-founder of Anthony Tesselaar Plants, an international plant project management company. His wife, cofounder Sheryl Tesselaar, has worked closely with him in their straightforward approach to the business, driven by a simple aim—finding exceptional plants that are colorful, best in class and easy to grow, and then bringing them to market.

Author: GardenComm

GardenComm, formerly known as GWA: the Association for Garden Communicators, provides leadership and opportunities for education, recognition, career development and a forum for diverse interactions for professionals in the field of gardening communication. GardenComm members includes book authors, bloggers, staff editors, syndicated columnists, free-lance writers, photographers, speakers, landscape designers, television and radio personalities, consultants, publishers, extension service agents and more. No other organization in the industry has as much contact with the buying public as GardenComm members.

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