Wednesday

This Ain't Your Mama's Green Marketing

Green marketing has certainly changed a lot over the last several years, and Jacquie Ottman knows this because she has been working in this arena since 1989 (when "being green" just meant you lacked experience in a particular field). Jacquie wants businesses and companies to keep in mind five new lessons for green marketing with authenticity and impact:

Lesson One: A single customer can bring down your entire green strategy.

Disgruntled customers don’t patiently write a letter to the CEO these days. We live in a wired world where individual consumers have incredible reach to markets through their blogs and tweets. All it takes is for one influencer to notice a problem or issue and bring it up to others. From there, it spreads virally across firewalls and nations. And remember, greenwashing is a very tough accusation to come back from.

Lesson Two: Green is entirely mainstream now.


At one point it seemed that only a niche market really cared about environmental sustainability and you could usually catch them by looking for Birkenstocks and vegan recipes. But now, everyone — including suburban families, corporate heads, and government departments -- have all gone green. You are no longer selling green to a small cross-section of the public, you are selling green to everyone.

Lesson Three: Price, performance, and convenience no longer guide consumer purchasing.

Nowadays, values guide consumer purchasing. Historically, consumers bought solely on price, performance, and convenience, but today they look at how products are sourced, manufactured, packaged, disposed of. Even such social aspects as how factory and farm workers are treated all matter.

Lesson Four: Companies need to tell the whole story

BP, ExxonMobil, and SIGG learned this lesson the hard way. Today's brands gain trust by practicing radical transparency, disclosing the good and the bad. Consumers are smart enough to know that some waste is inevitable in any production process, they just want companies to be honest about it and constantly be working to reduce it.

Lesson Five: Today's consumers look at the entire life-cycle of a product.

A product's life used to begin the moment it was purchased and end the moment it was consumed, broken, or discarded. However, modern consumers want businesses to have accountability for how a product was created and overseen even before it hits store shelves, and in the case of many non-perishables, how it will be broken down at the end of its life-cycle to minimize waste.

Your thoughts, reactions, or observations?

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