Effective green marketing relies on being able to target your audience, and provide them the product they want
The rise of the hybrid car is a brilliant green marketing strategy. Car companies know there is a demand to avoid fuel costs, and have tested different ways to respond to this call. In the early days, we saw car dealers willing to offer paid gas for a year. When that became cost-prohibitive, we saw more electric powered cars hit the market. It became apparent that electric cars are lacking in certain areas, so manufacturers went back to the drawing boards. Today, almost every major car company has manufactured an electric or a hybrid model of its most popular cars.
This practice fills what amounts to a niche desire, but it gives the impression that the company is “going green.” Effective green marketing relies on being able to target your audience, and provide them the product they want.
Here are some tips to help use green as a marketing technique without ‘greenwashing’:
Before adopting a green marketing strategy, you need to identify your demographics. As a demographic, people who go green tend to be educated and optimistic. Family tends to be important to this demographic, and they may focus on healthy living in the home as a result. They typically own their own homes and tend to sway liberal on the political scale. They also tend to enjoy activities outdoors. Gathering this kind of intelligence on your targets will help you micro-target your advertising on platforms like social media.
In order to seriously consider green as a marketing strategy, you must first evaluate the potential value of that segment of your customer base. In short, will promoting green bring you the kind of business that is profitable to you? You must also look at the costs to go green, which can vary by industry. In some industries, the value to the customer will far outweigh the cost to your business. Location also plays a factor, as green consumers are more likely to inhabit coastal cities.
Always take your marketing to multiple channels. According to Ofer Druker of Matomy Media Group, you should pursue as many platforms as possible. Social channels like Facebook are just as important as maintaining a page on wikipedia.org.
You should also look at how hard it is for the customer to purchase green. Consumers don’t want to have to lookup the elements of your product to determine just how green it is. Try to incorporate some of your facts and figures into the landing page. Always do the work for your customer, and put your best marketing foot forward.
What to Avoid
The biggest problem companies run into is coming across as pretentious, or preachy. It’s important to control your messaging and pay close attention to people’s perceptions. Monitor social media as you make announcements, but don’t let yourself get drawn into a fire storm.
Don’t let your attempts to go green overshadow what makes your business work. There are a million ways to cut your carbon footprint that don’t involve selling to your customers. If something doesn’t work out, look into greener methods of hosting or printing.
Going green isn’t an over night transition. As MIT points out, it’s important for management to begin collecting data about the customer and to gauge interest in the transition. Green is a commitment, not a simple adjustment. If you find there is interest in your customer base to go green, gauge whether the costs of doing so will outweigh the benefits. The customer must find the process seamless. A green customer does not just exist in a vacuum.
There are clear benefits to buying green, many of which rely on that customer’s perceived opinions of the world. Changing your company culture to lean green can have lasting benefits to you, and your customer.