Growing your greens

Strategies to help your green marketing flourish:

When it comes to corporate responsibility and green marketing, an increasing number of companies are recognising the importance of including environmental sustainability amongst their goals….TLC Business are one of them.

Green marketing definitions can be a little confusing, since green marketing can refer to anything from promoting the environmental benefits of a product, advertising a company’s sustainability initiatives, to simply channelling your marketing message in a more eco-friendly method.

When many people think of SMEs going green, methods such as recycling paper and conducting more meetings over the phone spring to mind. However ‘green’ strategies can incorporate even more day-to-day business activities, from using social media more effectively, to the tools you use to market your product or service.
Green marketing can take many forms, below are some of the systems and tools you can adopt in your business:

  • Green digital media
    Green marketing has gone digital with the help of social media and technology. Utilising Facebook or Twitter instead of print advertisements and providing digital versions of press packs are all steps businesses can take to more effective green marketing. Below are examples of how global companies are using social media within their green marketing mix:General Electric has introduced the Ecomagination Challenge, which challenges people all over the world, from businesses, entrepreneurs, innovators to students, to generate ideas how to improve the planet’s energy future. This project is promoted through the company’s website, blog and Twitter.

    IBM has created a Smarter Planet blog and encourages visitors to participate in conversations about creating a more sustainable planet. IBM also uses Facebook pages and Twitter accounts to keep the conversations alive.

  • Re-design your materials with green in mind.
    One of the most effective ways to go green is to consider the potential environmental impact of your printed material at the design stage. That means taking into account factors like paper weight, item size, and mailing format at the beginning. This may seem extreme but a smaller, lighter piece will not only reduce the amount of paper you ultimately use, but also the emissions of the trucks delivering your pieces.Puma is a great example of a company planning ahead. The major sports brand is reducing its carbon footprint by redesigning the packaging for its shoes. Instead of packaging the shoes in a traditional cardboard box, which then necessitates a plastic carrier bag, Puma has designed a new product, dubbed “The Clever Little Bag”. Puma’s new packaging is made of a reusable shoe bag with a built in handle, thus eliminating the need for both a cardboard box and a carrier bag at the end of a sale. Puma’s green effort alone is projected to reduce the company’s paper consumption by over 65 percent, as well as cutting down on annual carbon emissions by 10,000 tons.
  •  Clean up your database:
    An up-to-date database can also play a key part in your green marketing strategies. Whether you are sending a direct mail campaign using your new eco friendly marketing collateral or you are sending regular e-marketing campaigns. You can save money, reduce paper use and delivery impact, simply by cleaning up and reducing the size of your database. Regularly updating mailing lists and removing undeliverable addresses, duplicates and bounced email addresses, will play a part in saving resources.
  • Adopting a lifecycle approach:
    Selecting green materials and products for marketing materials and adopting a lifecycle approach that looks at the whole campaign, thereby foreseeing areas of potential waste. More and more companies similar to Recycle Match are evolving. Recycle Match operates on the philosophy that one company’s trash is another company’s treasure and matches businesses who have waste products, such as used billboards, textile waste, and salvaged building materials, with businesses who need them.
  • The Green Community:
    Finally, community is another component to successful green marketing. The green revolution has caused the growth of thousands of organisations and causes, each championing their own method of fighting for the environment. Find the businesses that fight for green living in the area, which relates to your product or service and contact them for support.

With the current emphasis on going green, recycling, and saving the planet, it would be foolish not to engage with the green consumer. However, it is important that your actions are credible and sincere. It is all too easy to employ ‘green wash’ when communicating your ‘green’ policies. Organisations that do this run the risk of attracting negative feedback and potentially damaging their reputation. A business doesn’t have to implement all of the suggestions above, simply adopting one or two can be a step in the right direction. Like any marketing or business activity, having a plan is essential.  Your green plan doesn’t need to be complicated or lengthy, but you should outline the steps you need to take to ensure effective execution and alignment with your overall marketing strategy.

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