Tag Archives: green business

2009 business-to-business marketing trends

As we start to close out 2008 and enter into some of the toughest economic times our country has seen in decades, researchers are predicting business-to-business marketing in 2009 to be more frugal than ever.

BtoB Magazine recently spoke with marketers, agency executives and industry experts to determine these top 10 trends for 2009:

  1. Doing more with less. Marketing budgets will continue to shrink through 2009 and businesses will have to stretch every marketing dollar available.
  2. Leveraging social marketing. Businesses will continue to build online communities to connect with other businesses and customers with low-cost and free social marketing tools.
  3. Trust and transparency. After listening all year to news about the latest bailouts and bankruptcies, trust in business may be at an all-time low. Companies have started campaigns that will continue through 2009 “with messages focused on trust, confidence and stability.”
  4. Being part of the solution. In the coming year, B-to-B marketers will show how they are a part of the solution to global problems. Being there to help their customers solve problems will be critical to business success.
  5. Deeper analytics and database marketing. With tighter budgets comes more pressure to prove ROI, database marketing and analytics will become key to business survival.
  6. New metrics. To deal with the changing marketplace, marketers are developing metrics that will show how campaign efforts affect customers’ purchase decisions and brand trust.
  7. Video explosion. To go along with social marketing, we will see marketers learn to use video in ad campaigns, microsites, social media releases, e-mail and newsletters.
  8. Green as a business model. Green business efforts are slowly becoming an essential piece to companies’ business models.
  9. Increased global spending. Global marketing efforts will increase next year to reach emerging overseas markets and revenue.
  10. More focused events. More companies are favoring small events that offer targeted, face-to-face events with business contacts because of improved ROI.

Read the full BtoB article.

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Greener options when labor laws change

This week, the U.S. Department of Labor released revisions to the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) that will go into effect on January 16, 2009. For an overview of the changes, please read New FMLA rules: What  you need to know.

This latest set of labor law changes will require every employer covered under the FMLA to hang new posters and acquire updated forms. Existing labor law handbooks and manuals will have to be replaced with newer versions to reflect the most recent changes.

As these FMLA changes go into effect, businesses across the country will be throwing away millions of sheets of paper and stacks upon stacks of labor law posters. Most of the labor law posters out there are laminated, therefore un-recyclable, and only a small fraction of the discarded materials will be recycled.

With dozens of labor law changes each year, this process repeats over and over, wasting more paper and adding to the size of our growing landfills. Because these changes are mandatory, it’s difficult for business owners to think there’s anything they can do to change it.

Thankfully, those at Tread Softly on the Earth recently shared some green tips on how businesses can stay in compliance with mandatory changes while reducing their carbon footprint. Here are just a few:

  • Explore recycled and recyclable options. We’re seeing more and more recycled labor law posters and resources available on the market every day. Providers like mystateposters.com have developed state and federal posters made entirely with recycled materials.
  • Go paperless, if possible. Choose downloadable or printable versions when replacing your mandatory forms. Go a step further and print your forms on recycled paper using soy or vegetable ink.
  • Buy or print the minimum. Reduce the amount of waste in your workplace by only purchasing or printing the forms and papers you really need.

Read the full list of green compliance ideas.

It may take just a little more work on your part, but your impact on the earth will be big. Find greener ways for your company to do business and we’ll all succeed.

Fix your attendance tracking problem for good

One-third (33%) of American workers played hooky from work at least once this year, admitting they called in sick when they were well, according to CareerBuilder.com’s annual absenteeism survey.

While most employers rarely question an employee’s reason for missing work, 31% of employers admit to checking up on a “sick” employee and 18% have gone as far as to fire an employee without a legitimate excuse for absence.

The top reasons employees gave for missing work include not feeling like coming to the office, they needed to relax and recharge, to catch up on sleep and to miss a work meeting.

Most employers who checked up on an employee who called in sick required the employee to show a doctor’s note upon returning to work, while others called the employee at home or even drove by the employee’s home as proof.

Whether you require employees to have a legitimate excuse for missing work or not, tracking employee attendance is usually one of a manager’s least favorite tasks.

If you’re a manager or supervisor looking for a way to eliminate attendance paperwork by moving to an electronic attendance tracking method, we have an upcoming webinar that could shed some light on a possible solution.

During one, 30-minute “lunch and learn” presentation you’ll gain an understanding of how unscheduled absenteeism affects your bottom line, the benefits of using attendance software and how moving to an electronic system saves your business time and helps the environment.

Join us for Software Basics: Track Attendance Electronically Like a Pro on Wednesday, November 5, 2008 at 1 p.m. ET.

Green marketing, are you missing the bandwagon?

With a struggling economy forcing businesses and consumers to cut back on spending, marketers are more hard pressed than ever to find new, innovative ways to pitch their product or service.

Enter the latest bandwagon – green marketing.

“Sustainability will emerge from this financial crisis as a global mega-trend offering business opportunities similar to those that arose during the information age,” said Bill Roth (Entrepreneur.com) in a recent MSNBC column.

On top of the current financial crisis, entrepreneurs and marketers are given the task to begin educating themselves and prepare for the latest sustainable, green opportunity, says Roth.

Green marketing is full of unique challenges including a lack of standards determining what it means to be a green product or company and cost of entry into the market.

Two of the top factors preventing organizations from taking a shot at green marketing are a lack of awareness and costs, according to a survey of marketing managers at Eloqua’s user conference.

Though market entry may be a challenge, nearly 60% of respondents said they believe green marketing can provide a competitive advantage and 90% think the marketing industry has a responsibility to become more environmentally friendly.

In the next 12 to 18 months, an estimated 60% of companies will move to digital marketing activities in order to be more environmentally friendly, according to survey predictions.

Marketers must be careful when touting green products even though there are no clear standards for a product’s environmental performance, according to the Federal Trade Commission’s “Green Guides.” To avoid deception and unfairness, companies must still avoid making unsubstantiated, environmentally-friendly claims (also called corporate greenwashing) in an attempt to improve sales.

Industries that were once under high levels of government regulation and public scrutiny in the past tend to have the most effective sustainability communications, according to a recent review of S&P 100 companies.

Providing as much information as possible is one of the best routes to effective communications when promoting green or sustainable products. The sustainability needs to be weaved into a company’s overall identity and connected to company messages, according to the S&P review.

The leading players in effective green marketing are mainly found in the automotive, forestry, chemical and pharmaceutical industries. Industries starting to emerge onto the sustainability scene include mining, energy, transportation, shipping, technology, communications, consumer product and retail industries. Financial services, media and entertainment industries are still lagging.

“The bottom line is that from tough times comes opportunity. Make sure you’re protecting your cash so you’ll have the means to invest in green, thereby positioning yourself to appeal to consumers who are demanding–and selectively patronizing–the very greenest of businesses,” says Roth.

Give your business a head start and reduce your ecological footprint by investing in more sustainable technologies such as:

  • Instantaneous water heaters
  • Low-flow toilets
  • Geothermal heat pumps
  • Packaging
  • Grey water irrigation
  • Energy efficient computer hardware