Marketing honours students get ‘green fingers’ with Plantland project

Posted on December 18, 2023

An excited BCom Honours (Marketing Management) class met an equally excited team from Plantland Garden Centre at the start of their Marketing of Services module in 2023 to brief the students on their exam project. The Plantland team included the General Manager, Jimie Malan, the Marketing Manager, Jolandie Malan, and Polné Viljoen, the Marketing and Sales Co-ordinator – all three of them proud UP alumni.
Plantland Garden Centre is a family-owned business, and the sister company of Malanseuns wholesale nursery (which turned an incredible 110 years in 2023). In the late 1960s, Danie Malan (the Malanseuns founder) saw an opportunity for a retail nursery, and Plantland was established. Plantland grew from strength to strength and has four brick-and-mortar stores in Gauteng. It recently launched its online store and delivers nationwide. The family’s passion for plants is evident through their world-class quality plants, equipment, products, and expert gardening advice.
The exam challenge required students to develop a strategy to create awareness of Plantland’s online nursery, and to recommend how to grow Plantland’s online brand community. The Marketing of Services module, facilitated by Dr Michelle C. van der Merwe, uses an apprentice-style approach, whereby students apply their knowledge by acting as consultants for industry partners and in turn receive valuable feedback and gain real-life experience before entering the world-of-work.
After the project launch, the honours students had two weeks to conduct desk research and brainstorm their recommendations, before pitching the first draft of their strategy to the Plantland panel. A soundboard session was held at Plantland Menlyn, during which the panel assisted the students in refining their ideas. Additional preparation for the exam presentations included a guest lecture on online brand communities by Richard Armstrong, Digital Lead at HKLM Branding.

LEFT: Soundboard session at Plantland Menlyn, team Grow Getters Marketing. From left: Kayla Rabie (team leader), Gugu Khumalo, Nadine van der Merwe and Tamara Rungasamy
RIGHT: Guest speaker Richard Armstrong (Digital Lead: HKLM Branding) and Favour Oluwamakinde

On 14 June, the much-anticipated exam day arrived. Not only did the students dress up for the occasion, they also chose very creative team names, such as Roots to Success, The Ivy League, Tulip Troop, and Grow Getters Marketing. The panel was extremely impressed by the students’ innovative ideas and professionalism.

Joint runner-up teams:
LEFT: Green Fingers. From left: K'Amohetsoe Molotsi, Favour Oluwamakinde (team leader), Dr Michelle van der Merwe, Jimie Malan, Jolandie Malan, Dané Barnard, and Munaka Muthambi
RIGHT: Flower Power. From left: Jenna Frazer, Nastascia Montepara, Dr Michelle van der Merwe, Jimie Malan, Jolandie Malan, Megan Cook and Drew Williamson (team leader)
After a day filled with creative presentations, Plantland chose the winning teams. The eventful semester ended on a high note when Plantland announced that they were so impressed with the students’ presentations, that they decided to award a third prize! Congratulations to the BCom Honours (Marketing Management) Class of 2023 on an amazing semester!
- Author Department of Marketing Management

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