I cannot believe that my 10 week internship at The Scotts Miracle-Gro Company is already over! I had an amazing summer in Marysville working on the biggest brand in lawn and garden care where I learned so much about what it takes to be a successful brand manager in consumer packaged goods. Scotts has a really structured internship which drew me to the program. Each intern is assigned three projects: one creative, one analytical, and one strategic for their respective brand. I was working on the Scotts brand, which includes fertilizers, grass seed, durables, and cleaners. I was specifically assigned to work with the brand manager on durables, or spreaders, and all of my projects were within that category.
Creative Project: My first project was working on commercializing a new spreader launching in 2016. Everyone at Scotts is really excited about this new spreader, as it’s the first time we’ve had innovation in the category in over 15 years. I worked with the creative team on developing the in-store POP, assisted with a video shoot that will be used at trade shows and online retailers’ websites, and created a framework for the product’s Amazon A+ page. It was fun but challenging acting as the brand steward for the creative elements, making sure all pieces were on brand and using a consistent voice.
Analytical Project: My second project was determining how to right-size the varieties of Scott’s newest spreader, the Snap. Snap is a convenient system targeted to new lawn and garden consumers that takes the guesswork out of the process. Consumers purchase the Snap spreader and then have upwards of twelve varieties of fertilizers to choose from that simply “snap” into the spreader and are immediately ready for use. My task was to look at all twelve varieties and determine if we should phase any of them out of the system to best optimize shelf space. I used a lot of different tools to make this recommendation, including looking at sales data, understanding shelf velocity, and talking to our retail partners. My recommendation will be put into place starting in 2016, which makes all of the work very rewarding.
Strategic Project: My biggest project was doing scoping work for the future of the entire durables line. I looked at a lot of past research that Scotts had on consumer pain points for spreaders to help determine what features the brand might want to include in the future. I also organized and conducted product ethnographies to observe consumers using the spreaders and gather their concerns to help me understand first-hand the consumer experience. I loved this project because I got to work on two things that I wasn’t very familiar with, (1) consumer research and (2) pure innovation. I gathered some very interesting findings from both the past research and ethnographies that led me to recommend new features as well as an overhaul of Scotts consumer education and communication around spreaders. Using my recommendations as guidance, the brand put together a task force to work on improving communication from an instructional perspective. As for the improvements for the durables line, we should start to see some of these rolling out over the next few years.
Outside of my projects, Scotts also provides a lot of fun and educational opportunities throughout the internship. One highlight was the weekend trip that four ABMs took all five of us brand interns on to Cincinnati. Scotts is a sponsor of NASCAR and the MLB, so we were able to take advantage of these relationships to learn about what all goes into a being a sponsor as well as have some fun. We spent one day at the Kentucky Speedway where Greg Biffle, a NASCAR driver, was driving the Scotts Ortho car. We got to meet Greg, go into the pit area, see the trailers that the drivers and their teams travel in, and visit the garages. Then we watched the NASCAR race which was 10x more fun than I thought it was going to be. On our second day, we got to experience a lot of All-Star Game activities going on in Cincinnati. We worked in the morning at the MLB Fan Fest which is a convention for baseball fans. At the Scotts “booth” we had grass from different baseball fields, and it was amazing how excited kids and adults alike were to touch grass! Then we spent the afternoon watching the All-Star Futures Game and the All-Star Legends & Celebrity Softball Game at Great American Ballpark. Watching Snoop Dogg pitch to Urban Meyer with Macklemore fielding the ball and Jordin Sparks making the tag was definitely a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity! We rounded out the trip by visiting the agency Interbrand the last morning. It was really cool to visit the actual agency that produces the list of the “Best Global Brands” that Professor Matta talks about during marketing class.
Overall, I had an amazing summer at Scotts. I learned a lot, got to enjoy Columbus in the summer (my favorite time in this city), and made some great friends from other business schools. I also now know a ridiculous amount of information about fertilizer, especially for a 27 year old who has lived in an apartment for the last four years. So if you ever need help making your lawn a little greener, I’m here to help!