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3 questions for: Andreas Löbke (CO CONCEPT)

Andreas Löbke – Photo:

This year’s GardenSummit of the Federal Association of the German DIY, Building and Garden (BHB – Handelsverband Heimwerken, Bauen und Garten e.V.) will be held on 4 and 5 September in the Congress Centre North of Koelnmesse. One of the main themes of the agenda will be the Generation Y and the question as to how one can win them over as customers and employees.

The graduate engineer, Andreas Löbke, has occupied himself intensively with this age group, which was born between 1980 and the year 2000. He took a degree in Horticulture in Osnabrück and has been Project Manager at the consulting company, CO CONCEPT, since 2004. The company that is based in Luxembourg carries out market research primarily for the green industry, compiles reports, business analyses as well as feasibility studies and develops marketing concepts for the strategic development of companies.


Mr Löbke, what distinguishes the so-called Generation Y?

Löbke: The striking characteristic of this generation is the search for the meaning of things, the question “Why” – as the name already implies. The so-called millennials are different to the previous generations. They are less status-oriented and a healthy work/life balance is more important to them than money, which means in addition to their jobs having enough time for their family and leisure activities. They are prepared to work hard and are not disinclined to pursue a career as long as their performance is acknowledged and appreciated. The representatives of the Gen Y have experienced environmental catastrophes, global and economic crises and the digitalisation and are aware that life is volatile. This is why their careers are mostly not straightforward as is the case of the previous generations, but instead display curves and incidental changes.


Why should the companies of the garden market particularly occupy themselves with the Generation Y now?

Löbke: In the year 2020 half of the employees will belong to the Generation Y. This also applies to the green industry, whether as a customer or potential employee. That is why it is important to look at this generation, learn to understand them and listen to them. In contrast to the previous generations, the millennials differ in the way they obtain information and communicate, how they buy things and how they work. The companies also have to deal with the fact now that the hitherto successful customer and employee acquisition strategies have to be revised and adapted to suit the value system of this generation.


And what is the best way to address this age group? How can one ultimately win them over as customers or employees?

Löbke: The millennials appreciate an authentic corporate culture with room for personal further development and independent working methods. The themes transparency and participation are important here – representatives of the Gen Y demand open communications and the right to co-decide far away from rigid hierarchies. If companies are prepared to accommodate the values and demands of this searching generation, they will find loyal and motivated employees. The millennials behave similarly as customers. Here, primarily the themes sustainability, environmental protection and regional, ecological and fair production play an important role. If companies address this generation in the scope of their value system and thus provide a meaning for them in the course of the purchasing act, they can win over loyal customers. Sales areas especially designed for this target group with generation-oriented main themes are conceivable – there are many possibilities – from bee-saving-plants to plants for frequent travellers – which haven’t been taken advantage of so far. There is acquisition potential here that companies can benefit from using only limited means.


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