OFA Exploring Next Steps Amid National Promotion Discussion

Michael Geary

OFA is taking reactionary steps to the enthusiastic conversation taking place on GreenhouseGrower.com over the last few weeks regarding a national marketing campaign for greenhouse floriculture.

If you missed the initial dialogue, read Danny Takao’s original letter to Greenhouse Grower about the need for a national marketing campaign. Also online is a follow-up story to Takao’s letter and a GreenhouseGrower.com poll that currently shows more than 70 percent of readers would be willing to contribute $200 to $1,000 (depending on sales volume) per year as an assessment to fund a national marketing campaign directly through OFA.

In the meantime, Michael Geary, the CEO of OFA writes Greenhouse Grower to share the next national marketing campaign steps the association will be taking. Geary writes:

“The conversation about a national promotion program is exciting and well-timed. As many people stated, there are many forces that are hard to influence (e.g., the sluggish economy, generational changes, etc.). However, that doesn’t mean we shouldn’t come together to find ways to improve the visibility and necessity of our products and services.

“We are humbled by the supportive comments and suggestions that OFA—The Association of Horticulture Professionals should lead a national promotional effort. There is much to be considered before launching such an initiative. Over the next few months, our elected leaders and staff will discuss how OFA might take an active role in developing this effort. We will explore hosting an all-industry meeting to gather ideas and the feasibility and costs associated with a national program. We will do our best to communicate our progress with you.

“While a comprehensive program may be necessary, we need to keep in mind there are already numerous efforts at local, regional, and national levels that are encouraging the use of our products. Often mentioned is America in Bloom, an organization that is enormously supported by OFA members and others (www.americainbloom.org). There are numerous other national organizations that impact industry sales. These include groups like the American Nursery & Landscape Association, National Garden Bureau, National Garden Clubs, Arbor Day Foundation, Alliance for Community Trees, Keep America Beautiful, and several other groups focused on showcasing the value of horticulture. OFA is already working with some of these organizations and others through the Sustainable Urban Forests Coalition and additional collaborative efforts. Combined these organizations lead to the increased consumption of plants and trees.

“Helping greenhouse and nursery growers, garden centers, florists, landscapers and interior plantscapers improve their business operations is another facet of expanding our industry. Whether you receive education from OFA or another organization, it’s critically important that owners, managers, and front line staff keep current with their skills and knowledge. OFA and others are already offering outstanding educational opportunities but you have to show up to learn. Investing in your business this way is just as important as investing in industry programs. As you know, a national promotion program cannot replace outstanding customer service, varied local marketing efforts, and great products.

“It’s great to see the passion for our industry. Let’s figure out together how we can make more consumers feel the same way!”

Michael V. Geary, CAE
OFA Chief Executive Officer

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