Mahatma Gandhi had once said, “Earth provides enough to satisfy every man’s need but not any man’s greed.” However, over the past few decades, environmental degradation and exploitation of resources are problems that the entire globe has been grappling with. Human needs, wants, and demands are unlimited; but the sources to fulfil them exist in limited proportions. For companies striving to achieve consumer satisfaction, this gap often ends up becoming a problem. Marketing endeavours have been single-dimensional by focusing solely on customers and ignoring the current situation of the already pressured environment.
All these past trends paved the way for a more holistic marketing approach. They drove under its umbrella the concept of green marketing. In simple terms, it stands for the process of marketing eco-friendly products and services. Green marketing focuses on the planning, development, and promotion of commodities and services that meet the quality, quantity and price expectations of consumers, without leaving a negative impact on the environment during the process. Unlike conventional techniques, it adopts a multi-dimensional approach and aims to strike a balance between the buyer’s wants and mother earth’s requirements. Ecological, environmental and sustainable marketing are terms that are interchangeably used for green marketing practices.
The green marketing mix
Modern-day buyers are aware of the perils faced by the environment. They are sentimental towards its protection and conservation. Green consumers are enthusiastic about purchasing products or services that have no detrimental effects on the surroundings. Items made of bamboo and corn-starch or having zero-plastic content tend to excite consumers hailing from this category. These individuals take responsibility for their actions and have a great desire to do their bit by imbibing sustainable purchase behaviour.
How green or eco-friendly the product depends on the entire process that goes into its production. Right from the raw materials used, manufacturing process employed, to the product usage and disposal, all the steps involved should have either zero or minimum impact on the environment. Reduced or nil impact means watchful resource consumption, low pollution levels and conservation of scarce as well as non-renewable resources.
Further, companies producing green products should be thoughtful about their development, pricing and placement. Several consumers opt for general commodities over green ones as they feel these items are not budget-friendly. Marketers need to inform customers about the value that eco-friendly products add, making their pricing competitive.
There are three main aspects under the purview of green advertising. The first being the one that focuses on the relationship between the output and the environment. The products/services should not have any harmful impact on the surroundings.
The second area is the promotion of the idea of adopting a green lifestyle. This is done by educating consumers about the benefits of using eco-friendly products versus the consumption of their counterparts. Buyers should be made aware of the features and uses of the offerings.For instance, consumers might be of the opinion that plastic toothbrushes are cheaper than bamboo ones. To curb such opinions, marketers should use effective communication tools to inform buyers about the numerous benefits it offers them as well as the environment, simultaneously creating a demand for the biodegradable toothbrushes.
The final aspect of green advertising aims at establishing the organisation as a body that takes up environmental conservation as a primary responsibility. In addition, various marketing tools should be used to drive buyers’ attention towards the presence of such products in the market. Exciting social media strategies, engaging content, easy to recall ads, and impactul collaborations are some techniques that should be used for the promotion of green products.
Parameters of green marketing
Unlike legacy methods, green marketing brings with it a new outlook for the conventional 4Ps (product, price, place and promotion) of marketing. It concentrates mainly on people, the planet and profits. Marketers hailing from this background attract consumers by informing them about the convenience, health benefits, environmental advantages, performance standards and durability of eco-friendly products. Buyers often feel that green products tend to pinch their pockets. However, it is a myth that stands debunked. These products, though slightly more expensive than regular ones, outweigh their counterparts in terms of quality and longevity. The 3Rs entailing reduce; reuse and recycle form the cardinal principles in the production, promotion and distribution of green products.
Significance of green marketing
The upsides of using safe techniques are many, some of which are mentioned below –
In a world of cut-throat competition, green marketing techniques offer sustained growth for a longer time frame while ensuring sustainability.
Initially, the cost of setting up a green manufacturing unit might seem high. However, in the long run, these practices prove to be immensely budget-friendly and profitable.
Green marketing imbues a sense of pride in the minds of employees and boosts their morale. The workforce associates themselves with a bigger goal, and this helps in keeping the motivation alive.
Adopting green techniques builds a better brand image. The organisation is viewed as a societal body, and brand loyalty increases.
Tips for companies adopting green practices
Several large, medium and small scale organisations are walking towards offering goods and services that are environmentally safe. If your organisation is planning to join the cause, here are some things to keep in mind –
For production, choose technologies and manufacturing processes that promise reduced, minimum or no environmental impact.
When it comes to raw material and resources ensure that these items are being mindfully procured, wastage is eliminated, and their judicious usage is promoted. If the product has heavy requirements on scarce materials, then companies should opt for alternative solutions.
Have a robust control system in place. Green marketers need to deliver the quality that they have promised their buyers. This is only possible when the management works towards always meeting or exceeding the green benchmarks of production. Any failure in doing so should be taken seriously, and necessary modifications must be made.
Always be open to exploring new opportunities and avenues which support your journey of greenness. By investing in research and development, companies can gain the first-mover advantage and unlock new efficiency levels.
Green marketing is not free of challenges. Several issues such as initial cost, primary investment and misconception in the minds of consumers often discourage companies from going green. However, by effective communication, enticing advertising and educational promotional techniques, marketers can create a vast consumer base for their products and services. It should be noted that the goals of green marketing cannot be achieved overnight. Organisations need to do an in-depth study of their current market position, assets, liabilities and commitments before making a decision. Additionally, transparency on the manufacturer’s end will help him gain a better place in the consumer preference lists. In the wake of the virus outbreak, numerous buyers are turning to safer, healthier and cleaner options. Indeed, it is the apt time to venture into an arena that enables producers, sellers and marketers to offer customers end-results that match their changing preferences.
Article is authored by Aditya Ruia, Co-Founder, Beco.