Green marketing: Little steps make a big difference

At a time when concern about climate change grows daily and gas prices are inch closer and closer to $5 a gallon, more people are doing their part to conserve natural resources and become more eco-friendly. Those same people are looking at businesses to do the same.

“Say what you will about ulterior profit motives and eco-hucksterism, but smart marketers recycle, save energy, cut carbon emissions and generally seem to get this topic as a means to making bottom-line numbers. All of the eco-marketers are keenly aware that a skeptical public is going to keep them on their carbon-footprint toes,” according to Advertising Age.

Studies show that Americans are are quick to identify environmentally irresponsible companies and base their purchasing decisions on those opinions. Consumers between the ages of 18 and 29 are more likely to spend more money on environmentally-friendly products than any other age group, according to a Global Market Insite survey.

Becoming a green marketer doesn’t mean you have to overhaul your entire business strategy, just take it step by step. By making a few small changes to the way you do business, working greener can boost your bottom line and reduce your corporate carbon footprint.

Here are some small steps you can take toward a greener marketing strategy:

  • Use less paper. The average office goes through about 350 pounds of paper per employee, per year, according to the NRDC. Set printers to print double-sided and buy recycled copier paper.
  • Analyze your marketing. Find out what’s working and what’s not. Stop sending direct mail to people who don’t read it and will never read it. Unread direct mail is a waste of paper and your productivity.
  • Use tools like Catalog Choice. Catalog Choice is a nonprofit organization, sponsored by the Ecology Center of Berkeley, with a goal to eliminate all the unwanted catalogs in the mail to “simplify your life and save natural resources.”
  • Use recycled paper for marketing pieces. Print it proudly on each marketing piece to show customers that what they’re reading was printed on postconsumer recycled paper. Customers will appreciate it and so will the environment.
  • Take it online. Studies show that more consumers are using the Web to shop. For each marketing piece you send out, try to find an online equivalent. Or, simply cut back on your direct marketing and spend more on online marketing.

For more lists of countless tips for making your office greener, visit the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) Web site.

“This isn’t just about buying into a trend; it’s about giving the next generations a fighting chance in a more hostile environment. In this area, marketing, just as it did on seat-belt use and smoking, is playing a crucial role.” according to Advertising Age.

No one is perfect and neither is any business, but if we all make a few little changes the outcome may be bigger than we could ever imagine.


2 responses to “Green marketing: Little steps make a big difference

  1. Great tips here. I think from the perspective of making marketing effective the key is the analysis as you’ve said. Marketers, for both green reasons and bottomline reasons, have to craft campaigns where they can measure the results. I believe integrated direct marketing campaigns have the best response (direct mail + email) but marketers HAVE to be able to tell if the direct mail actually makes an impact.

    Another idea is to use direct mail to drive opt-in for online marketing. That way marketers can start to whittle down their DM list by shifting interested recipients to email.

    I like the idea of substituting recycled materials for regular paper stock in the DM too, so at least you can be as green as possible if you’re going to do it.

  2. Great post!

    By simply choosing to use recycled paper for your marketing sends a clear message to customers and fellow businesses in letters etc that recycled paper is ‘acceptable’ and would demonstrate the quality available nowadays without the reader taking a risk.

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