Female forest owners as a market segment? Results from a marketing experiment in the context of a small forest service enterprise
Broad social changes are reflected in the forest owner structure, which has become increasingly diverse both demographically and in terms of objectives and values. This naturally also impacts forest owners’ interest towards using their forests as well as to their interest in purchasing various forest management services. This development highlights the need for service providers to better segment their clientele and plan their market communication accordingly. However, a surprisingly small amount of research has focused on the impact of marketing arguments for various forest owner segments.
This study provides a first attempt to analyse, through a real-life marketing intervention, how effective marketing arguments are at promoting first thinning to female forest owners. For this, three marketing messages were created and sent out to 300 forest owners in Finland. One message explained the importance of first thinning to provide maximal economic income from forests, one explained the importance of first thinning in relation to biodiversity protection and climate change mitigation, and a control message included no value arguments. The results indicate that contrary to our hypothesis, the marketing message with the economic arguments raised more interest towards the first thinning service among female forest owners than the one with biodiversity protection and climate change mitigation values. The results further show that the control message was found to generate the least interest towards first thinning. This indicates that incorporating value arguments do improve the impact of a marketing message. Key words Market segmentation, female forest owner, marketing argument, economic values, biodiversity values