What is Sustainable Marketing?
Sustainability is a word that seems to be popping up everywhere. So, what does it mean, and what does marketing have to do with it? How can marketing be “green?” Sustainable marketing is just one component of your businesses vision, mission, overall market strategy and business model. To help accommodate that strategy, sustainable marketing brings conscious business goals to life through honest and consistent messaging and sharing of the company mission in creative and thoughtful ways. This messaging should focus on how products are affecting the community and the environment and also what issues and causes are important to your consumers and how you can get involved.
Ultimately, the goal of sustainable marketing is to create positive and mutually beneficial interactions during all touch points through the consumer journey, production, and going to market. Anytime the brand touches another entity it is providing something conscious and valuable.
Why is a Sustainable Business Model Important?
Most companies have yet to realize the positive impact sustainable business efforts will have on their business, creating unparalleled advantages to those companies that do practice sustainability. Sustainable efforts are important for many reasons. It helps better our planet, creates happier and healthier communities and highly efficient business operations. We could talk for hours on what makes sustainability important, so we’ve boiled it down to cover some of the major topics, people, environment, profits and innovation.
People are the reason every business was created. Without people there would be no consumers to purchase your products or services and your company would cease to exist! Creating a community and environment where people thrive is a way to keep your business alive and foster long-lasting consumer relationships that are critical for the durability of your brand.
Sustainable marketing aims to strengthen relationships by creating a mutual bond over a cause that is important and mutually beneficial to all parties. Every company is different and will have a different impact on the world, so listening to your customers and what they care about allows you to gain insight on how to make a positive impact in a way that is prosperous for all.
Taking care of people and the community is also an important tenant of Conscious Capitalism, and combining Conscious Capitalism and green business efforts in perfect harmony is a winning combo.
Just like people, the planet plays a fundamental role in all business operations. Even though the environment plays a crucial role, large corporations have some of the largest negative impacts on the health of our planet. Luckily, there are pioneers leading the way to show how negative impacts can be changed into positive ones and how it creates a competitive advantage. When it comes to marketing, the bottom line is to practice what you preach. Find what environmental action is important to your customers, how your business is involved, why you care and what you’re doing about it.
3. Profits and innovation
Innovative companies are rewarded with a loyal consumer base which increases profits. This is because innovative companies think of new ways to make the world a better place for their consumers. As the world of business and marketing evolves, green efforts are becoming more important. Companies that innovate new ways to do business in order to improve the environment and local communities are gaining a competitive edge and are rewarded with an increase in market share and positive press.
What Can Sustainable Marketing do for Your Business?
Strong consumer relationships
With a new mindset and guiding standards for today’s conscious consumer, getting involved paired with honest messaging is what your customers are looking for. They want good products that are also good for the planet and the community, and unlike in the past, these customers are doing their research to see where you stand and how you are contributing. So, do some brainstorming and see what sustainability efforts are right for your company. Think about what part of the community or environment your company needs and think of innovative ways you can turn a negative into a positive. For example, if your products have a lot of unnecessary packaging, can you think of new ways or different materials to package your product in? After committing to these changes, then marketing those changes and their positive impact will grab your audience’s attention and make them consider your brand over competitors.
Instead of focusing on short-term profits, sustainability marketing focuses on initiatives and campaigns that tackle long-term goals and business stability over a long period of time. When a business is hyper-focused on short-term goals, it loses sight of important issues on the horizon. Taking your long-term goals and using a well-crafted marketing campaign to showcase how you care about the world and your consumers future will lead to a healthy forward-thinking company that customers naturally gravitate towards.
Most companies want to be ethical and strive to do the right thing. Sustainable marketing is another way for your company to embed ethical action into your business model. Sustainable marketing is centered around honesty by accurately informing your customers about products and the impact they have on the environment. Through sustainable marketing actions your business will be held accountable by your consumers to do the right thing. Customers don’t expect perfection, they value a company that is willing to stand for a cause and is honest about their role in that cause.
Who is Doing it Right?
Okay I’ve shared my two cents, but lets look at how sustainable marketing is alive and well and working wonders for companies in the real world.
With their newly announced carbon neutral initiative, Lyft has listened to what consumers were saying and delivered. While this initially may cut into Lyft’s bottom line, it is expected to increase the number of loyal consumers using the ride share company, and take away market share from their competitor Uber. This initiative followed with a compelling creative campaign that is focused on a long-term growth strategy after considering how their services were affecting their consumers, the planet, and the community.
Patagonia’s environmental efforts have been a big win for their company. Their successful environmental marketing campaigns and business plan developed from environmental activism, has hit home with their consumers and gained a lot of attention. As an outdoor gear retailer, it was only natural that Patagonia create and market better products that stand behind a cause that is important to their consumers and ultimately the survival of their brand. Their marketing approach and honesty about what is in their products is refreshing and has been rewarded by their consumers.
If you are looking to take your business to the next level and start focusing on some long-term green goals, keep these questions in mind:
- Keep your customers and community mind. What do they care about most? What are they saying about my company or product?
- How is each touchpoint your business has with customers mutually beneficial?
- How is each touchpoint your business has with the environment or the community mutually beneficial?
- Is your product honest? Is your messaging honest?
- Is your business focusing on short-term gain, or long-term business growth and development?