[Consumers are no longer overlooking today’s environmental issues. They feel it necessary to contribute to more eco-friendly societies and economies by changing their lifestyles as well as their purchasing and consumption habits.
As “green” is going beyond the eco-enthusiasts and the LOHAS market segment, it’s not untrue to say that green is going mainstream. For example, Datamonitor reported that during the first half of 2009, 458 sustainable packaged-goods products were launched.
With more mainstream marketers expanding into more categories, experts expect that soon every consumer category will eventually incorporate a green alternative.
But what exactly is green marketing? Green marketing is the process of selling products and/or services based on their environmental benefits. A product/service can be eco-friendly in itself or be produced and packaged in an eco-friendly way.
That said, businesses of any size can integrate green marketing into their existing marketing activities.
One of the direct advantages of green marketing is that prospective customers see a product or service’s eco-friendliness as a benefit and base their decision accordingly. Furthermore, consumers are willing to pay a premium for green alternatives. In fact, studies have shown that the recession has not significantly affected green marketing.
On the other side, one of the challenges of green marketing is the lack of standards in defining exactly what is “green.” In fact, there is no definition of “how good is good enough” when it comes to companies making green-marketing claims. Many see this lack of consensus as an inhibiting factor to the development of green products. However, consumer behavior will ultimately be the major influencer in establishing a conventional approach.
Green-marketing strategies can help all companies across many industries get more customers and drive higher profits. In order to do so, green marketing must follow a methodology.
When a brand decides to align itself with environmental consciousness, it must clearly communicate its vision, motivation, objective, strategy and tactics. It is not good enough to claim to be eco-friendly; consistency and results are required to establish environmental credentials that will allow the green-marketing campaign to succeed. The following is our checklist for creating effective green-marketing campaigns.
Green claims must be genuine. Companies have to do what they state they are committed to by ensuring that all their business policies comply with the undertaken green initiatives.
Marketers should not only communicate to their customers what sustainable initiatives are being promoted but also educate them on the reasons why such initiatives are important. By diffusing information, companies can demonstrate that they actually care. A great way to do so is to offer proof through consumers’ testimonials or test results.
Businesses should shift their focus on buyer’s needs. Green marketing should make consumers understand how using sustainable products and/or services can benefit them as well as the environment.
By eliciting buyers’ participation in green initiatives, companies can personalize the benefits of their eco-friendly actions. This is a great way to establish green-marketing efforts as being more credible.
While many green buyers are willing to pay a premium, the majority says price is very important in their purchase decisions. Consumers want quality products that are good for them and for the environment at a price they can afford. Companies should closely monitor their competitors, because now is the time to come out strongly against their non-green competitors.
Green marketing also presents some risks. For example, it can be dangerous when not authentically undertaken. Companies must be absolutely transparent about their eco-friendly efforts. If buyers find a green claim to be false or contradicted by the companies’ products or practices, this can seriously damage their brands and ultimately their sales.
Although green marketing is still a “work in progress,” it is demonstrating its huge potential. By implementing green policies and being environmentally conscious, businesses of all sizes will be able to leverage a powerful selling point.