The Challenge of Marketing Live Christmas Trees

If you are someone who celebrates Christmas, then decorating a tree is likely a regular part of your celebratory routine. For many, tree decoration is the final stage of a potentially lengthy process requiring the identification, possible cutting down, transporting and, finally, mounting of a chosen tree. For some, this process takes several hours, involves significant travel and requires a lot of money before the purchaser sees the tree standing in their home. Yet, millions of people around the world look forward to undertaking this task. Millions of others, however, consider the acquisition of a live Christmas tree to be pure drudgery and look to get in the Christmas spirit in ways requiring a lot less effort.

As with any industry, the live Christmas tree business has learned that if there are unsatisfied customers, then competitors will enter the market. In this case, competition comes from artificial tree suppliers, who offer a simpler solution. Their message has been highly successful, and today, in the U.S., artificial trees account for over 80% of all household Christmas trees.

To combat heavy competition, the live tree industry is using marketing to fight back. As described in this Chicago Tribune story, the live tree industry, with financial support from the U.S. Department of Agriculture, has created a ?Keep It Real? campaign to promote the value of purchasing live trees. Promotional assistance provided by an industry trade group, National Christmas Tree Association, includes a video used to bolster live tree marketers? social media content as well as posters and window stickers for in-store display.

It should be noted, the increased emphasis on promotion does not address the significant differences in purchase expense and setup time between live trees and artificial ones. So, the primary focus of this promotional push is to tug on emotional heartstrings by emphasizing family, tradition and support local businesses.

Image by USDAgov