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Business Tips: Greenish Marketing

by , MBA

Streamlining your brand through diversifying marketing techniques allows for eco-friendly habits to satisfy consumer's newest sustainable requirements. By taking advantage of online resources like social platforms and email campaigning, you're taking responsibility for your portion of environmental responsibility.

Not quite sure your small business is there yet? It's important to first understand the different shades of the "green customer" and what their personal interests are in order to properly target the market, courtesy of Lifestyles of Health and Sustainability (LOHAS) research and Small Biz Trends (.com).

Dark Green

When analyzing your hardcore environmentalists (dark or deep green consumers), LOHAS suggests asking a few specific questions: which environmental organizations do they promote? Where do they travel to on vacation? What magazines do they read and what websites do they visit? Which labels and products do they seek? While surely their answers will be somewhere in the region of The Appalachian Mountain Club, Greenpeace, hiking, the Sierra Club and energy-saving light bulbs, there are levels and sub-segments to consider.

To avoid marketing mistakes, narrow down your particular product for green customers:

  • Resource Conservationists despise waste so they'll always carry cloth shopping bags and reusable water bottles. They actually practice what they preach as they drop off old cell phones, VCRs and computers to recycling centers or electronic stores. They would rather read news online.

    Don't dare send them direct mail — save a tree, save the world. They install LED energy-saving light bulbs and turn the water off when they brush their teeth. Don't over-package your product. Don't direct mail market them — but target them with email campaigns instead. Do highlight reusability and recycling benefits. Advertise on websites they habitually visit like Puregreenmag.com and Thriftyandgreen.com.

Light Green

This group understands sustainability, but practice it more for self-serving purposes. They buy organic not because it's an environmentally sound decision, but more because of health benefits. They buy green cars to save gas money and Energy Star appliances to lower utility bills, Small Biz Trends reported. Simple "Save the Earth" marketing doesn't work on them, but if you give them something appealing, instead of guilt tripping them into it, like an earth-friendly AND money-saving product, then ears might perk up. They may wear chemical-free cosmetics and vegan sandals but that's the persona they want to exude. Still, they're interested in buying products that are eco-friendly.

  • Eco-Hip Consumerists primarily care about the image and cool factor of a product. It's hip to buy green so they do IF, and only if, the product is comparable in value, has superior performance and the packaging is visually appealing. They would like to make life easier to live and will do it through sustainability — if you can capture them.

    Keep the price down when targeting green living to the light greens. They stand on the fence and can easily be swayed in either direction. Marketing is very important. Highlight energy-efficiency, recyclability and highlight that the product is made with natural or organic ingredients.

Formerly Green

Because of the economic recovery, some people that used to buy green no longer do, because products are expensive and may not be worth it. Former green buyers aren't willing to travel to get a product due to low availability. They sometimes question the quality (ex. cleaning products), according to a study done by Grail Research (.com) on evaluating how the market has evolved and how to effectively communicate your brand to the different types of green buyers. With the ever-increasing popularity of “greenwashing,” or adding the words, "all natural" and "organic" on a wide variety of products, the difficulty to decipher, which truly is sustainable, turns them away.

  • While momentum continues to pick up in a global effort to reduce humanity's environmental footprint, these are some of the most important people to capture and get back on the green train. With greenwashing completely shadowing the formerly green customers, your small business will need to go about other methods of reaching them. The need to stress the organic nature of your product can be bypassed for now.

    You'll need to engage this customer by communicating the benefits of "green" through social media; there's a "need to see it, to believe it" factor among the critics and demonstrating positive results is necessary. Use the social platforms to do this. They're free and some of the best advertising through word-of-mouth crowdsourcing.

    Small Biz Trends also suggests you donate a portion of your profit to charity, because who doesn't want to help others, really? This will help generate awareness and inspiration, hopefully empowering the customers who aren't engaged to become more eco-friendly.

If you're a small business and looking to market to the different shades of green, take into consideration their lifestyles. Pay attention to what they're reading. Watch the trends and research studies so you can be on top of your professional game when marketing to this diverse group.

 

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