Introducing Pelargonium for Europe – helping to increase sales & educate consumers about this summer stunner

Plant retailers will be pleased to learn that there is a thriving dedicated marketing initiative designed to help drive sales of pelargoniums and increase consumer engagement with this summer favourite.

Pelargonium for Europe (PfE) is working to change the way that pelargoniums are perceived by bringing them to the masses and highlighting their many unique and pleasing characteristics, whilst also helping to shine a light on the thriving European horticulture sector and its world-leading production and breeding programmes. The ultimate aim is to encourage more producers and retailers to optimise the opportunities afforded by pelargoniums and to increase sales of these much-loved blooms.

The consumer demographic

Currently PfE operates a dedicated campaign in 22 European countries and it receives EU funding to maximise the size and scope of the project in six of them: Germany, Austria, France, Italy, the Netherlands, Poland. Each country works towards a common goal and focuses on key consumer target groups; demographics which are perceived to be the biggest sales opportunity for the product.

In the case of pelargoniums, extensive market data showed that those target groups in transformative stages of life would be more responsive to pelargoniums and their many USPs, such as those aged between 25 and 30, and also 50 and 65. The latter, summarised as “New Life Builders”, are consumers who have reached the end of their professional careers and have seen their children fly the nest. These are consumers who will recognise pelargoniums in their many varieties and are likely to be loyal customers, buying plants often and confidently. Career or Family Builders, the name given to summarise the younger, 25 to 35-year-old consumers, are known to buy differently, and will be responsive to pelargoniums’ colourful, cost effective qualities, ease of care and maintenance.

To reach these different core consumer groups, photography and written content is created to speak to them individually, whilst also engaging with the rising number of plant-oriented garden and nature lovers, as well as creative urban types who are engaging with gardening in a way not seen previously. Content works to position pelargoniums as suitable for modern living and contemporary interior and exterior decor schemes, countering dismissive labels such as ‘old fashioned’ or ‘outdated’.

The PfE campaign implements a combination of measures including conventional PR activities such as news releases and special feature content, as well as media collaborations with magazines, influencers, vloggers and bloggers, cross-channel digital and social media activities as well as a range of creative promotional initiatives from product placement on TV shows and fashion shoots through to partnering with festivals, hosting pop-ups, giveaways, installations, workshops and more. Closely engaging with the green trade, it also runs campaigns at POS offering materials to retailers and reaches the green industry through trade press, partnerships with leading players, associations and educators as well as at events such as meetings and trade fairs.

Trade activities

At trade level, the focus of the PfE campaign is on specialised retailers as they represent important channels for securing long-term sales. The campaign also aims to support producers and others throughout the supply chain and has partnered with numerous industry associations including the Bureau Horticole Régional in France, Zentralverband Gartenbau in Germany, LRF Trädgård in Sweden, Opplysningskontoret for blomster og planter in Norway and Kauppapuutarhaliitto ry in Finland.

Campaign content is driven to help retailers to better understand the breadth available under the banner of pelargoniums, and offers a range of measures specifically aimed at supporting the green industry including point of sale material such as posters, banners and care cards; texts and videos offering advice on care, sales and promotion; free professional images, and other marketing materials.

The results – 2020

The first year of PfE’s latest EU-funded programme took place in 2020 and it was hit by the pandemic which coincided with the start of the key pelargonium sales period, but nonetheless the campaign delivered.

Among only the six EU-funded countries, a total of 691.4 million people were reached via PR which exceeded targets, whilst the online profile through the website and social media platforms brought pelargoniums to the attention of over 120,000 people.

Media co-operations also proved extremely effective. The local PR teams promoting PfE used a wealth of creative methods to achieve important exposure opportunities including product placement and coverage in print and online publications, as well as through broadcast media and via vital social influencers.

Across just six of the total campaign countries, these high-value partnerships tallied 36 online, 26 print, 9 TV, 6 outdoor and 4 radio – reaching at an estimated 142 million people and not including the many publications created through classic PR.

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