Kiwano Marketing

Green Marketing: A sound business strategy

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Courtesy of Kiwano Marketing

It seems that on the past couple months all what people talk about is the benefits of going green. But I wonder – is it just a trend or is it really becoming a lifestyle change? I confess that, being a naive myself, I believe we are (finally) witnessing a change in mentality. People are becoming more responsible towards the environment, expressing their beliefs through shopping habits. This change goes up the ladder, rendering it a “no-brainer” for companies – even for business-to-business organizations – to make the shift and become more sustainable.

Going green is not only great for the environment, but it’s also beneficial for your bottom-line. And if you like hard facts, the latest piece of research is definitely for you. The Natural Marketing Institute (NMI) has recently released a white paper jointly with Nielsen titled “Exploring the Potential for Green Innovation”. According to the paper, the size of the green marketplace is to reach $420 billion by 2010. That’s a market difficult to ignore.

The Nielsen BASES and NMI experience shows that green products generate healthy consumer purchase interest and have an easier time standing out from the competition, often resulting in solid volume potential for green initiatives. The paper goes on to identify the key highlights for marketers to retain:

1. The stage is set for many consumer packaged goods (CPG) categories to go green.
2. Green doesn’t have to be niche.
3. Extending an established brand equity may be the best bet.
4. Green/LOHAS products have a better chance of breaking through the clutter.
5. Getting beyond “niche” will require choosing and attracting the right target.
6. Getting the price right is a clear key to success.

Green marketing strategies are powerful techniques to help change mentalities, and are particularly compelling with Generation Y (people born between 1980 and 1994). According to a new report from the Conference Board of Canada titled “Turning Green Into Gold: Green Marketing for Profit”, this generation will pay a premium for green, sustainable products. They are acutely aware of “the threats of pollution, extinction, and global warming,” the Conference Board report notes, and will reward companies that reach them with dollars and word of mouth, while punishing those that don’t.

According to Maclean’s journalist Kate Lunau, “tough economic times, contrary to popular wisdom, have not led Canadians to abandon the environment. In an August Harris/Decima poll, over 70 per cent said environmental consciousness has become more important to them over the past few years (only two per cent said it was less so). In spite of the recession, 73 per cent said they were making more of an effort to be more environmentally conscious this year than last.” This clearly denotes a change in consumer behaviour, where sustainability is becoming a constant presence in buying habits.

Companies are already feeling the pinch. Sally Cowdry, O2’s Marketing Director, voices this shift at O2’s Sony Ericsson Naite launch: “Not only is sustainability a key issue for us as a business, but we know that it’s also important to our customers. The Naite is a key part of our strategy to bringing products and services to our customers which can help them reduce their energy consumption. It’s about making their decision to buy a greener device easy with an affordable and feature-packed phone, but which also has a greatly reduced carbon footprint.”

You can help your business while helping the environment. Just make sure you do it right.

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