Advice from a green industry marketing pro

Read Time

5 minutes


Abby Hart


Jul 28, 2023

Advice from a green industry marketing pro

Lindsay Malke, the vice president of marketing for LMC Landscape Partners, an $80-million group of landscape companies, took a long route to marketing in the landscape industry.

After gaining experience in the landscape nursery industry during her formative years and exploring the hospitality sector early in her career, Malke later dedicated over a decade to honing her skills in marketing for an engineering firm.

In 2020, she returned to the green industry as marketing director for Landscape Workshop in Alabama. In January 2023, she began leading the marketing efforts for LMC Landscape Partners and its four companies based in Alabama and Texas. 

Aspire sat down with Malke to hear her advice for landscape marketing and how technology helps her accomplish more every day.

What do you recommend for smaller landscape companies that don’t have the bandwidth or finances for a marketing manager?

Harness the power of social media—they’re free tools. You have to pay the person that runs it, and the content doesn't come for free. But if you have someone capable and able to do that with their time—maybe a branch administrator or an HR representative—that’s low-hanging fruit just to get your name out there and look professional.

Google Ads is a straightforward way to use the power of the web. You already have a Google My Business page, and you just link the ads to it. 

Also, get involved with your local trade organizations and chambers of commerce. The trade organizations we're engaged with focus on advocacy for the industry, and we’re there to support them. When you meet these people out of the business setting and have a friendly conversation with them, you'll be one of the first people that come to mind when they're looking for commercial landscaping.

What’s your outlook on marketing as one of the more prominent players in the industry?

At LMC, we don't necessarily negotiate price, but we negotiate the scope (of projects). 

Anybody can cut your grass, but we believe our product is superior, and the customer service that goes along with it is valuable to our clients. We believe in the value of our services, which keeps us in that higher echelon of service providers. We take a lot of responsibility off your plate, and you will be thrilled with what we do for you. 


Has there been a campaign or project that’s been successful for you?

Our NPS customer survey is one of my favorite initiatives that always gives excellent returns internally and externally.

We do our customer survey twice a year, once in July during the growing season and then again in November when it's slower. We want to know how we’re doing and if you still see our crews every two weeks.

I love to hear the great things our crews are doing, and I want them to be recognized. From a marketing perspective, we include our scores in our newsletter and acknowledge anyone mentioned by name. It's crucial and encourages our internal friendships, recognition, and celebration. 

It’s a great way to capture clients who are not happy. We monitor our NPS report daily and email every comment to each account manager. Anything under seven is a detractor, and the account managers call those clients to say, "We received your comments. How can we fix it? 

We also attach a Google review to the bottom of our NPS survey, which drives our activity on the web. The NPS survey yields a significant ROI in all facets of our business.

How does technology impact your ability to do your job? 

I love Aspire. I'm data-driven. One of my favorite things I learned from Aspire and Google is the service map. You can paste the properties into Google Maps to outline your service map. 

I'm also responsible for sales reporting; all that information is available in the CRM. Reporting takes 30 minutes for me to update my graphs and send the report out because I have set up my page on Aspire to read precisely how my graph does.

I can get a little nerdy on this point, but I love pulling the lead source reports and validating that it was a web lead. It’s interesting to see where our clients are coming from and how I can adjust my strategies to accommodate their actions better. I cannot train our target audience to do what I want them to do. I've got to fold into what they're already doing.

How does technology impact your company's ability to grow? 

To be honest with you, we could not grow without it, and it provides excellent visibility into our operations. When you start using technology you say, “Wow, that margin is way too low," or, "Our guys are spending too much time on this property."

Aspire gives us that visibility in real time. It helps that we’re all on the same platform because our business development managers communicate with our general managers through Aspire. Streamlining and visibility are the main benefits of Aspire.

Where do you go to learn more about landscape and marketing?

I do a lot of ride-alongs. It's very fun for me, and I find it extremely beneficial. I'm from Alabama and have lived here most of my life. Route density was a strategic focus (in Alabama) when I first started, and then I went to Texas, which is so spread out, and I had to look at routes with a different lens. 

I like engaging with our crews, talking to them about their responsibilities, and then letting them know how my responsibilities benefit them daily. Many people just hear “marketing” and don't know what that means.

I’m getting very involved in NALP, which provides me with opportunities to meet other marketing colleagues and people in the industry. Talking with others in the industry is the best way to continue my education.

What’s the one thing you want to accomplish this year?

Getting a new website up and running with proper forms and tracking the people coming to our website—that’s my number one initiative.

Along with Jeff Kettler, our vice president of sales, we’ve produced a book on consultative selling and distributed it to our sales team. We're doing the same thing with an enhancement playbook. It will cover our expectations when you're out in the field, how to interact with clients, what your responsibilities are, what you should do when issues happen, and what you should focus on. It’s very exciting and something new.

What’s something that green industry professionals should prioritize?

Being involved in the community on a personal level is something many people and executives don't see value in. But landscaping is such a big part of every community and the way it portrays itself and its reputation—and we want to be a part of that community too. I want our company to be recognizable in our community and know we are not only a service provider but we care about where we live. 

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