1) Ground all of your marketing in fundamentals.
As any student of the “4 P’s” of marketing theory knows, marketing is more than just Promotion (e.g. advertising); it also includes, for example, People involved in a sale, like a sales rep who can point out the convenience of a CFL. The “5 C’s” are critical too — e.g., How does green help us understand our Customers’ needs? How do our product’s green attributes reduce the its total Cost of ownership?
2) Be true to your company’s brand.
Too many companies have emphasized green even if it doesn’t fit with their brand. Part of the reason whyMethod is gaining on Clorox Greenworks is that many people associate Clorox with effective but strong chemicals.
3) Don’t shy away from promoting incremental improvements (but don’t lead with them).
My favorite potato chips (Kettle Brand TIAS!) are primarily marketed as flavorful and natural — and Kettle doesn’t shy away from mentioning that their chips are 62 percent organic. I don’t shun the chips because they’re 38 percent non-organic; I embrace them because they’re tasty and better for me than most alternatives. It’s also worth being explicit about a brand or company’s ultimate journey by linking these incremental improvements to loftier long-term goals with concrete metrics. This way your audience will have a better understanding both of where you are now and where you aspire to be.
4) Be specific and avoid using the words “sustainable” or “green”.
The FTC, in revising their guide to green marketing [PDF], found that only 25 percent of consumers associated environmental benefits with the word “sustainable.” The same applies to unqualified “green” claims. Pointing directly to specific, tangible benefits is the way to go.
Here’s to the next era of more effective green marketing!