Advertising Nursery Products on TV - Part 2

It is also advisable for nursery plant advertisers to diversify their ads, so that during a one week, if 20 commercials are scheduled, it is beneficial to alternate four or five entirely different commercials during that period. If, for instance, only a white flowering dogwood commercial is scheduled to run, day after day, the ad will soon become ineffective and unprofitable to continue generating sales over an extended time period. Every item that is advertised will not be successful, and only trial and error will indicate the items that should be rescheduled to advertise during the next season. Nursery plant products are seasonal, and it is crucial to learn, what time of the year TV advertising should be done. Flowering plants should be advertised in the spring and summer when customers are anxious to actively plant. It would resulting in total failure to expect customers to want to buy flowering plants during the fall and winter. The correct advertising time to advertise can only be learned by trial and error, and gaining that knowledge may be too costly for most nursery business to test experimentally.

TV advertising of nursery plants may work great for 3-4 years, but any successful business campaign will attract competitors or onlookers, who may think the nursery business is a rainbow that leads to easy money and success. “Mom and pop”, backyard gardeners, may start up competitive businesses, who don't advertise on TV, but they may advertise in cheap newspaper ads that competes with sales from the TV nursery advertisers expected sales. These “mom and pop” operations in the beginning may not draw off significant revenue, but any success on their part will eventually stimulate more backyard operators to enter a crowded marketplace, that is easy to enter and requires only a small investment of inventory from back yard gardeners, and every new competitor who enters the market will ultimately erode a nursery plant market's profitability toward the prospect of doom and business failure.

A more threatening challenge to nursery plant TV advertising is the entry of aggressive competitors, who perceived the success of the nursery plant advertiser as trend setting and extremely profitable. This situation happens invariably, and the promise of new advertisers and increased revenue for the TV station encourages the sales representatives from the TV stations to solicit more business. This makes sense to everyone except to the current nursery, TV, plant advertiser who has spent thousands of dollars by trial and error, learning what kinds of ads to run, when to run the ads; and so his natural and reluctant unwillingness to share his hard earned secrets through years of advertising on TV to new-comer competitors. Because of all the factors that have emerged, the market share of nursery business can become so depleted by fractionation of a market that eventually, it becomes impossible for anyone to profitably continue to advertise nursery products on TV. The greed of the TV sales representative in gaining more revenue by soliciting new nursery advertising accounts from competitors of the loyal nursery plant advertiser, ends in self-destruct for the TV station resulting in zero nursery advertising.

Another more insidious problem that happens over a long period of years of advertising is that the total interest in planting gardens may have been generally over-stimulated and sales of the plants may have actually been dramatically increased overall in the TV coverage area, but wholesale plant growers, a new creation of increased plant demand. begin to appear to supply that increasing market demand. These wholesale growers then expand with a need to create even more nursery competitors in order to survive themselves. This crowding of a plant market of unmanageable nursery competition will eventually lead to a collapse of the industry segments, so that changes of plant supplies will flood plants into a limited, TV sales market area and much product remains unsold. Even drastic cut-price, sales promotions will not work once a market area has been saturated and overrun with plants.

Many box stores have expanded during the past decade to add plant sales as an inducement to buy their other nonperishable non-plant items. In many cases these stores have sold plant at cost or below cost from contracted wholesalers, in order to establish their firm presence into the plant market. The box store phenomenon, and the spectacular domination of nursery retail sales has forced the closure, or bankruptcy in some cases, of independent nursery operators. This reduction of competition for the box stores has completely changed the marketing of garden plants, trees and bulbs in the United States.

Shopping for serious gardeners who become bored after buying box store, assembly-line plants, may become able to buy plants with the uniqueness and individual character that independent nurserymen once offered. Is it possible that someday an avid gardener may only be offered plastic flowers and trees to plant in his garden. Sic transit gloria mundi, (and so passes the glory of the world.)

By Pat Rick