Green Marketing

By Steven Bauer

One of the hot new buzz phrases is “green marketing”. Green marketing is all about identifying how eco-friendly client products and services are—everything from online banking to the appliances you buy for your home.

Jacquelyn Ottman of J. Ottman Consulting, Inc. has written a great article on this topic. I recommend everyone read the article. But in the meantime, here is a summary of the five important points when engaging in green marketing.

1. Know your customer. If you want to sell a green product to consumers, you first need to make sure that the consumer is aware of and concerned about the issues that your product attempts to address. (Whirlpool learned the hard way that consumers wouldn’t pay a premium for a CFC-free refrigerator because consumers didn’t know what CFCs were!)

2. Empower consumers. Make sure that consumers feel, by themselves or in concert with all the other users of your product, that they can make a difference. This is called empowerment, and it’s the main reason why consumers buy greener products.

3. Be transparent. Consumers must believe in the legitimacy of your product and the specific claims you are making. Caution: There’s a lot of skepticism out there that is fueled by the raft of spurious claims made in the “go-go” era of green marketing that occurred during the late 80s–early90s — one brand of household cleaner claimed to have been “environmentally friendly since 1884”!

4. Reassure the buyer. Consumers need to believe that your product performs the job it’s supposed to do — they won't forego product quality in the name of the environment. (Besides, products that don’t work will likely wind up in the trash bin, and that’s not very kind to the environment.)

5. Consider your pricing. If you're charging a premium for your product — and many environmentally preferable products cost more due to economies of scale and use of higher-quality ingredients — make sure that consumers can afford the premium and feel it’s worth it. Many consumers, of course, cannot afford premiums for any type of product these days, much less greener ones, so keep this in mind as you develop your target audience and product specifications.

Posted by: Steven Bauer, Director of Paid Search


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