Posted in Marketing & Strategy Articles, Total Reads: 1400
, Published on 25 June 2013
"Go green", "Eco friendly", "organic farming", "Sustainable development ", “Vertical farming”...sounds familiar, right? Green is everywhere these days--in the news, technology, business, politics and even in fashion!! One can hardly escape from it, be it online or offline, and the consumers are no exception to this. There is a growing interest among the consumers all over the world regarding protection of environment. Various evidences indicate that consumers have now become more concerned about the environment and are changing their behavior accordingly. In response to the awareness created, consumers now expect firms to address more and more environmental issues.
Thus with the consumer becoming more and more “Ecologically aware”, the trends in marketing have also been evolving over the time to stay ahead of the consumer and to cater to their needs and choices. As a result of this, the term “green marketing” has emerged which now represents growing market for green and sustainable products and services.
What is Green Marketing?
1980 was the first time green marketing came into existence. American Marketing Association defines green marketing as the marketing of products that are presumed to be environmentally safe.
Green marketing is promoting the products or services based on their environmental benefits. Companies now focus on triple bottom line-Profit, people and planet. They (companies) base their production, marketing and services happen in a manner that is less detrimental to the environment. The 4P’s of marketing –Product, Price, Promotion and Place (distribution) are oriented such that they conform to green practices.
Why Green Marketing?
Every now and then we get to read scary headlines such as - "Air pollution damage to people, crops and wildlife in US. Total ","More than 12 other studies in the Brazil, Mexico and South Korea have established links between air pollutants and premature birth or still birth". Every person with a normal sound mind would be interested in life with full of health and vigor. As resources are limited and human wants are unlimited, it is foreordained for the marketers to optimally utilize the resources .So green marketing is inevitable. Also with an explosion of social media the word “green” has become a buzz word for every user of face book or twitter. The popularity of these eco-friendly products can be ascertained by the number of likes and shares on various social networking sites such as facebook, twitter etc. As digital marketing has become inevitable for any marketer so he cannot afford the luxury of ignoring this huge opportunity. So even in virtual world green marketing is inevitable
What motivates ORGANIZATION?
We all know financial gain and economic profit is the main aim of any organization. But at the same time organization across the globe has realized the detrimental effect on environment caused because of myriad reasons. This sense is building corporate responsibility in the business class. Many firms are beginning to realize that they are members of the wider community and therefore must behave in an environmentally responsible fashion. Green marketing can also be seen in the selfish perspective of long term sustainable business and to please the consumer. For example, McDonald's replaced its clam shell packaging with waxed paper because of increased consumer concern relating to polystyrene production and Ozone depletion.
One more reason for the organization to opt for greener product is ease in obtaining the license by the governing body. Although this reason is more of importance to legal people of the organization but it is definitely a motivator for the organization to opt for greener products. Primarily, motivator for a marketer of an organization is the consumer buying behavior for a product. The buying behavior (discussed later) is hugely influenced by the increased awareness among them. So ultimately whatever the motif be behind, all the organizations tend to follow the go green trend.
What motivates CONSUMERS?
Every one of us wants to live in a better world both environmentally and socially. The detrimental environment effects produced by pollution, population or depletion of natural resources are not a choice but an onus on part of consumers. Consumers are inherently motivated to buy products which help them to reduce the burden.
But is this really the only reason which motivates consumers to go for greener product? Are people’s choice only linked to their concern for the environment? Is it an actual concern or is it symbol of social status? Let’s take a deeper look at this motivation aspect of consumers.
It is very rightly said “A good reputation is more valuable than money”- Pubillius Cyrus. Most of the consumers like to give others the impression that they are a good person in society and are environmentally conscious. For example, by purchasing Toyota Prius consumers send signal across that he or she really care about the environment. This also says that instead of going for a luxurious car for himself he voluntarily chooses a car to benefit the environment for everyone –even though this act means forgoing the luxury of having a car with more features.
But why he chooses so when he is not genuinely concerned? The answer lies in a new term evolving as “Competitive altruism”. In simple words; it refers to striving to outdo your neighbor, not through bigger and better material goods but by bigger and better acts of selfless concern. Although it seems all rosy, but it has limitations too.
Across several studies with a variety of consumers, it has been found that inclination to go for greener product depends on whether the consumer is alone or in front of other people.
In a public environment, consumers like to give others the impression that they are environmental friendly by engaging greener consumption. While in privacy of their own homes, with no show biz involved, most people’s apparent altruistic concern for the planet suddenly disappears and eco friendly choice are forsaken for luxurious items. However in the open where others can see, they are magically motivated to prefer the greens without being ostentatious.
Need of good reputation does motivate consumers and organization to be associated with eco friendly products. However at the same time, there is no denying that people as well as organizations around the world are concerned about the environment and for future generations. There may be a genuine concern but a part of their motivation is always lured by the desire to be seen as act of altruism. The marketers hence can explore and tap consumer behavior and organization requirement.Thus “Go green” is the next magical word for the marketers.