Resurrecting “Green” Marketing

Posted by Steve Kleber on Jul 26, 2007

Today’s consumers are constantly being inundated with news-related information about the environment and how to live a healthier, more fulfilled lifestyle. It seems that everywhere you look, more and more consumer products are being labeled eco-friendly and environmentally-safe. But are the products really safe? Are they a health hazard for our kids? Or are companies just capitalizing on the peaked consumer interest in this latest trend?

Contrary to popular belief, the marketing of green products is not dead. Take for example, a recent article in The New York Times highlighting the new “Detox Your Home” campaign that was launched last week by Method Products, maker of biodegradable cleaning products.

“Inspiring people that small changes can make a big difference” is a powerful call to action…one that probed me to comment on the importance of effective green marketing, not just claiming your product or service is beneficial to the environment.

Method Products’ new marketing campaign offers consumers a chance to clean up their homes by using products that are both healthy for their families and the environment. And their slogans, both previous – “people against dirty” – and current – “detox your home ” -  resonate well with consumers…why? In order to successfully market green products, there are a few things you should know, and that includes having a clear understanding of today’s consumers.

Appeal to their senses
Do you know anyone that wants to live in a dirty home plagued by chemicals or consuming substantial amounts of energy? Probably not which is why engaging consumer emotion is imperative. Focus on lifestyle versus selling a product. Ask the questions: Do your marketing materials focus on how your product will make a difference in the life of the average consumer…or are you turning off your audience with boring statistics and facts about the environment? Translate your messaging into something consumers can relate to. How will your product or service positively affect their lives?

Be a green advocate
Don’t focus on your product or service only. Add a link to your Web site where consumers can learn more about the green movement. Education and empowerment is key in today’s informative universe. This may include informing consumers on the how to save energy – “top ten ways to decrease your energy bill,” “tips on how to become a better humanitarian,” etc. Don’t push your product in their face. The majority of the time you will win consumers over by becoming their source for reference and knowledge.

Method Products does an excellent job of being an activist for the green movement. When asked about competitors creating environmentally-friendly product lines, the company stated they are not daunted by the larger rivals because “we are excited about the competition…it means people want to live a greener lifestyle, and we are all for that.”

Take consumers’ priorities into perspective
Although eco-friendly has taken on a whole new meaning after the continued increase of gas prices, modern-day consumers are still looking for products that allow ease-of-use and are cost-effective. Remember when marketing your “green” products to focus on the eco-friendly aspect only after highlighting your products’ expedient and high-quality attributes. Demonstrate the benefits and cost equivalents of your product versus a competitor’s non-environmentally-friendly product. Your priorities aren’t always the same as consumers’. Remember to focus on what they’re looking for, first and foremost… then bring in the “green.”

Illustrate a positive impact on life
Whether it’s cost savings or just the feeling of aiding the future preservation of the environment, show consumers the benefits of choosing your product or service. Answer those questions in your marketing materials. Spell it out in plain English. How will your product enhance their daily lives? What is the total amount of money they’ll save? Draw a chart: demonstrate the impact on the environment if everyone were to choose your product or service. Basically, answer all of the questions you think consumers will ask before they actually do. Today’s consumers do their research first, and mostly on the Internet. Chances are, if they’re questions are answered up front, they’re more likely to buy.

Join “green” organizations and exhibit at tradeshows
Show consumers you genuinely care about fate of the environment by taking an active role in organizations and collaborating with other industry leaders with similar environmental goals. If you’re passionate about “being green” it will show you’re selling a healthier lifestyle, not just trying to make a buck. There are a multitude of green industry shows and conferences in which to both participate and attend including GreenBuild, The Inaugural Green + Design Conference and Expo, among others. Becoming involved in the green community will show your dedication to a better way of life.

Lastly, create an opportunity for consumers to identify with your product or service. Prove that simple choices will create big change…that one person can really make a difference.

Other related green articles: Embracing Lite Green Aspects…

This entry was posted by Steve Kleber on Thursday, July 26th, 2007 at 10:10 am and is filed under Advertising, Green Initiatives, Marketing. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. Both comments and pings are currently closed.