We are all more or less aware of the impact that our lives and work have on the planet that we’re living on.
Our increasing carbon footprint, usage of plastics, fossil fuels, cutting down trees, eating, and poaching animals are bringing the earth closer to the no-return point.
Climate change is real and the damage that we as societies do is the biggest reason for it.
That is why lately, more and more people are choosing sustainable products, and with that, an increased number of businesses are trying to offer sustainability.
According to a study, it is obvious that the consumers’ values and ideals are shifting towards being more sustainable and responsible in their purchasing decisions.
A high percentage of people are more likely to purchase products from businesses that have a good reputation for environmental sustainability.
With that, comes the fact that increasingly people are influenced by green marketing.
In this article, I will explain what green marketing is, what are the benefits of using it, and possible strategies that you can implement to incorporate it into your business.
Here’s a great example of how huge brands are moving towards green marketing.
What is green marketing?
Green marketing is marketing based on the environmental benefits of the products.
In simple words, it is used to promote the products by highlighting their sustainability
It can also be found in some places as “eco-marketing”, but it means the same thing as green marketing.
Since one of the biggest trends in recent years is to support environmental health, a substantial number of people are changing the way they live and purchase.
Because of this, companies create appropriate strategies that address social responsibility and target people who prefer eco-friendly products.
There can be many different things involved in green marketing like:
- Creation of eco-friendly products
- Packing your products in sustainable ways
- Using business practices that are sustainable
- Promoting the green benefits of your existing products
- Using recycled materials in production
- Using green energy
- Reducing production waste
- Using eco-friendly methods
- Buying or selling locally, reducing transportation energy
- Reducing packaging
- Making reusable or recyclable products
Overall, green marketing can prove to be more costly, but it can certainly be much more profitable since the demand for these types of products is peaking.
The goals of using green marketing include implementing sustainable practices in the business, and with that demonstrating social responsibility. Also, this reduces expenses for transportation, packaging, energy usage, etc.
What is Greenwashing?
Since the possibilities for profiting off of sustainable products and practices is quite high, and the implementation of those can be quite expensive, many businesses try to take a shortcut.
They try to capitalize on green consumers by using green marketing to sell products that are not in fact considered to be green, and this is called Greenwashing.
These businesses try to position their products as environmentally-friendly when they are in fact not.
A simple example of this is using the color green to their advantage. Colors have a big impact on purchasing decisions since we have some perceptions of them in our minds.
Many businesses use the color green for their packaging and add the word green somewhere on it which doesn’t exactly mean that it is Eco-friendly, but many people feel like it is and purchase it anyway.
Greenwashing is misleading and can easily cost the business its reputation. That is why customers are increasingly checking the packaging for additional certifications to make sure that the product really is sustainable.
Benefits of Green marketing
There are quite a lot of benefits that green marketing brings to businesses both internally and externally.
Internal benefits of green marketing
- It helps boost sales
- It helps companies to reduce their operating and production costs
- It lowers the energy usage
- These companies are more attractive to potential employees that want to make a change for the better
- More opportunities for entering foreign markets
- Increased chances for entering premium segments and further expansion
External benefits of green marketing
- Better image of the company in the society
- Promoting renewal of products and their improvement
- Forming friendly relations with public organizations and government bodies
- Chance to advertise the company as a green company
- Creating brand preference
- Creating customer loyalty
- Contributing towards sustainability in their country
Green marketing strategies
As I previously mentioned, greenwashing is not a good idea. With that in mind, these strategies are for companies that are truly willing to make a sustainable effort and truly care about their customers and the state of our only home – Earth.
1. Green design
Green design is not just about the colors and slapping a recyclable sign on it – and voila!
It’s about being true to whatever you’re claiming to your customers through the packaging.
For that purpose, the first step towards having a green design is actually having a green product.
In cases where this is true, there would be no need for any greenwashing whatsoever, and the good reputation of your brand will only become stronger.
When you are designing the product you have to have in mind sustainability throughout the whole process of production.
You have to pay attention to where the materials come from, how are the workers involved in the process, how are they treated, how much waste is generated, how much energy and water is wasted, how will the products be packed and transported, what will happen with the used products and million other questions.
If you are doing green marketing, you have to do it right or not at all.
There is a lot to consider for sure, and it might be quite expensive to get this going but if you do it right it will be profitable for sure.
2. Practice transparency
If you want your customers to be loyal, especially when sustainability is very important to them, you have to be fully transparent even when things go wrong.
- Provide access: make sure that your customers can find the exact details of your products and practices and reports on progress
- Standards: use global standards and framework measures and reports such as ISO, United Nations Environment Program, and other global groups.
- Radical transparency: disclosing as much as you possibly can with your customers will score you big points in their eyes
- Tell the bad news too: customers really hate it when companies are hiding information from them. They trust you, trust them too by disclosing the not so good information too
- Report: do regular reporting on sustainability for updating the customers, shareholders on the progress
3. Fair pricing
Customers expect to pay more for products that are sustainable due to the fact that the costs for producing them are higher, and the wages are fair.
Putting a higher price on products that are minimally sustainable is failing your customers and it will have consequences on your reputation and profits.
A lot of businesses figure that if the price is higher then it will make customers believe that the product is sustainable by default.
This is also greenwashing
If your products cost more than other non-sustainable options, you want to communicate the specifics with your customers.
The greater the benefits that your product has, the greater opportunity for you to be exposed as a good business with sustainable products.
In a way, if you provide evidence of how sustainable your products are specifically, it will both make customers trust you and be excellent marketing material for your company.
4. Responsible consumption
Designing products that are sustainable is one part of the equation. If they have short life-cycles they should include tips for customers how to responsibly use them and dispose of them after usage.
According to Cone Communications, about 90% of consumers agree that the responsibility for proper usage and disposal of products falls on their back.
85% think that there is a corporate role in providing information on how they can properly use the products, and dispose of them after their life-cycle.
It is your responsibility to write the needed information for proper usage and disposal of the products on the label in the first place.
The label is the first place where customers look for these types of information.
You can always try to be creative with it and invite customers on your website to read how to properly care for the products, inform them through newsletters, etc.
Find what works for your audience, but be informative at all times.
5. Be ethical
Back in 2015, the EPA (Environmental Protection Agency) found out that the well-known car manufacturer Volkswagen installed a “defeat device” in its vehicles. The reason for that was so they could cheat on tests about emissions.
This cost the company $18.28 billion, and what’s more important is lost trust in the brand from the consumers’ side.
Greenwashing and unethical practices are for sure less costly, much quicker, and very convenient.
But in the long run, they might cost the business a lot more among which the hard-earned reputation of the brand.
That is why you should always take the high road by implementing green marketing strategies that are truthful and would really benefit your customers and your business.
Being a genuinely sustainable company can open your way towards big opportunities that can take your business to the next level.
I’m talking higher sales, winning leads, and creating a culture that will attract new customers and make them loyal to your brand.
If there is one thing that you will take away from this post, let it be the following:
Either do it the right way, or don’t do it at all.
First make sure that your business and products are truly sustainable, before making any claims or promises to your customers.
There is no going back from the damage caused by greenwashing.
Learned a thing or two? Check out these other posts for more helpful content:
- All you need to know about SERP
- Your guide to scheduling Instagram posts
- Learn copywriting with these great examples
Want to learn any other important aspect of marketing? Leave a comment below and let me know!