What makes marketing a green product or service different from any other type of marketing campaign? In some ways, nothing; in other ways, green marketing can be a different animal. In addition to selling a product or service, green marketing seeks to change the way the buyer thinks about the product or service, encouraging a change in behavior.
Everything from building products and services to automobiles to apparel are now going green. As a result, marketing managers are now faced with the challenge of not just getting target markets to want their product, but also helping them to see value in changing their behavior. But how do you create a marketing campaign that will compel the public to change its view?
Tips to influence change
Don’t just tell how your product is better for me — show me.
It’s not enough to tell your audience your product conserves water or reduces energy. You have to visually demonstrate how it benefits the user. The green company PeopleTowels does a great job of showing its environmental benefits with an image of eight industrial-sized garbage bags filled with paper towels representing the average amount of paper towels a person uses each year. The visual effectively denounces excessive paper towel use and promotes the company’s brand of eco-friendly, on-the-go cloth towels.
Make benefits tangible
We’re asking people to voluntarily change their behavior for the greater good. Make the benefits of doing so too obscure and you’ve lost them. Consider the popularity of the Toyota Prius. In 2010, this hybrid car landed a spot on Forbes’ list of “high in demand” cars. So what is the tangible benefit to driving this eco-friendly cruiser? The annual cost of gas is only $846, which is especially low compared to other cars on the list that ranged from $1,510 to $4,745 annually.
Keep it positive.
Don’t tell your audience what they are currently doing wrong by using other products; show them what they can do to make an impact. People are less likely to listen to your message if you are scolding them. Make the message motivate your target market to do the right thing.
Make it relevant.
Create an emotional connection with your audience that communicates the importance of using your product or service. That communication can take several forms. The company Grass Roots Environmental Products does this by offering products for children and moms alongside other green products to express their interest in child-safety. This allows them to connect with their customers on a deeper level.
The key to a successful green marketing campaign is to appeal to the target audience through messaging that encourages them to take action. Developing a buzz can be an effective tool for influencing others. Building a sense of community — we are all in this together — and showing how your product or service can help, not only provides a reason for change, but the desire to be a part of that change.