The following post was written by Zach Shaw, Panel Coordinator at RMS.
Companies who engage in green marketing showcase their services and products based on environmental factors or awareness. These companies consider long-term environmental and social impacts of business operational practices such as processing, packaging and distribution. The goal of green marketing companies is to surpass traditional marketing strategies by promoting environmentally responsible core values; in turn connecting with consumers to drive brand awareness and aiding in the creation of new product lines that will cater to new target markets.
Before integrating sustainable marketing into your company’s marketing plan, it’s important to review the company’s current marketing mix, also known as the four Ps of marketing. The four Ps of marketing consist of product, price, place and promotion. Properly developing these four strategies is key to developing a sustainable marketing plan.
Product – A product is a tangible good or an intangible service that is available to consumers. Companies which employ sustainable marketing strategies to promote their product(s) should consider the materials, ingredients, and how it is manufactured. A company should look for natural and organic materials and also sourcing locally to and through fair trade suppliers, utilizing environmentally friendly materials, and using lean manufacturing and distribution methods that minimize the company’s carbon footprint. Packaging also plays a significant role in sustainability. Companies who wish to use green marketing to promote their sustainable products often utilize the following for packaging: renewable materials, recyclable products, and ensuring the product-to-packaging ratio is a tight fit to produce no waste.
Price – A company must also investigate pricing for sustainable products. These products are often more expensive than competitor products due to the high cost of ingredients, in turn jeopardizing market acceptance. This causes a “green pricing gap,” as some consumers may want to purchase products that are better for the environment, but either do not want to, or are financially unable to pay a higher price. Although gaining in popularity, many consumers will not pay more for these premium products if they do not perceive additional value from the product (ex: a lower electricity bill from energy efficient appliances). Companies can minimize the price barrier by either reducing the cost of the product or by implementing marketing which raises the perceived value gained by the product to justify a higher price point.
Place – A place signifies where a consumer can purchase the sustainable product or service. This can be a physical brick-and-mortar location or a virtual store. Brick-and-mortar storefronts focusing on sustainability should consider investing in energy efficient stores. You may want to “go paperless” for billing, install energy saving electronics and lighting to power the store, and make reusable shopping bags available for consumers to reduce your carbon foot print. Virtual stores should ensure their distribution is also using green practices. This may include using alternative fuels; planning fuel efficient delivery loads and distribution routes; and reducing packaging for delivery trucks. There is increasing trending consumer demand for companies to buy local, and engaging in this practice will allow the company to support local businesses while also decreasing the company’s carbon emissions – both of which will help enhance community and consumer perception.
Promotion – In addition to being known for quality, a company offering sustainable products or services should have strong brand recognition for the positive impact the good or service has on the environment. To effectively promote the product or service, you’ll need to consider which strategy will be most effective with your target audience. Some promotional activities to consider include:
- Traditional advertising (television, digital, radio).
- Enticing consumers to purchase the product or service through incentives such as coupons, or charitable donations.
- Driving awareness through public relations activities such as press releases.
- Investing in digital techniques by creating a mobile-friendly website, utilizing search engine optimization, or purchasing digital advertising such as retargeting, pay-per-click, e-mail , or blogging.
- A more personal approach to selling the product or service (word-of-mouth/referrals, cold calling).
- Utilizing social media to drive engagement with the brand.
- Mobile marketing that allows customers to use digital coupons and view digital advertisements.
These four Ps will assist your company in the development of your company’s green marketing mix. RMS is a full-service market research firm located in Syracuse, NY. If you are interested in learning more about our services, please contact Sandy Baker, our Senior Director of Business Development & Corporate Strategy at SandyB@RMSresults.com or by calling 1-866-567-5422. Visit our website at www.RMSresults.com.