Marketing plants in this economy may seem overwhelming and the name of the game seems to be "Strive To Survive." A simple marketing concept you can do for free is to constantly keep potential customers aware of the multitude of benefits derived from the products we grow. Every time a scientist mentions the fact that a particular fruit or vegetable has a health benefit, there is an increase in demand for the product. I feel that we need to do a better job of letting the public know how much benefit there is to creating beauty in the landscape with our products.
Here is a great summation of those benefits in a paper that was published in the Journal of Environmental Horticulture. The title of the paper is "Economic, Environmental, and Health/Well-Being Benefits Associated with Green Industry Products and Services: A Review" by Dr. Charles Hall and Melanie Dickson. Click on this link for the study http://tiny.cc/plantsaregreat I feel that every grower needs to memorize this list of benefits and tell people about it, write articles about it, or adapt it as a handout or fact sheet for your office counter to give to customers as they go through. You might even want to mail it to your retail cusotmers so that their customers can read it.
When commercial/residential occupancy rates are down and home sales are slow, it is a great time to spruce up the exterior of the building and in the meanwhile make a return on your investment. Especially when there are deals to be found in the nursery industry. Remember to sell the sizzle and not the steak!