Editor’s Note: This is the second in a two-part series examining the marketing of environmentally friendly products and services.
In Part 1 of this article we looked at the value of green marketing, its benefits as a marketing tool, and the potential pitfalls. We came to the conclusion that, when done correctly, green marketing was worth integrating into your overriding marketing initiatives. This time, we want to take a more in-depth look at how to implement your own green marketing campaign by examining a series of exercises designed to help you think through the process and steer clear of legal dangers.
You may recall that we introduced the concept of taking a self-inventory of your business to identify where green opportunities exist. We encouraged marketers to put on their “green” glasses and take a hard look at all phases of their company.
In actuality, this isn’t something that should be done by a single individual within the organization but by a group of employees representing a cross-section of your operations. Let’s call them the Green Team.
The goal is to literally have a brainstorming session or series of sessions. Let the ideas fly; feed off of each other’s thoughts. Ideally, you should consider including a couple of customers, suppliers or other stakeholders from outside the company who have an interest or interaction in your business.
Part of the reasoning behind the self-inventory is to avoid missing obvious opportunities that would diminish the value of your new marketing campaign. A self-storage that claims to recycle its water while allowing faucets to drip in the bathroom sends a damaging mixed message. Similarly, claiming to use recycled materials while failing to provide recycling containers is shortsighted and counterintuitive for customers.
The self-inventory also provides a good foundation from which to build a track to run on. As we have learned, green marketing is a widely used term, but it’s difficult to find a single definition because of so many green marketing claims used by marketers keen on expanding their eco-friendly horizons. Thus, creating a site-specific definition for your location and leveraging a green marketing campaign for your business is not necessarily an easy task.
There likely will be two broad categories of results that come out of your brainstorming: areas in which valid claims can be made immediately, and parts of the business that represent opportunities to re-engineer a product or process in order to make a green claim in the future.