Is Sustainable Marketing realistic?

From consumer products like a face wash from Body Shop to cars to wind turbines and everything in between is potentially a green sell.

Sustainable marketing has come to be an integral part of the marketing campaigns of the businesses today.

Also referred to as ‘Green marketing’, companies in an effort to gain the competitive advantage like to portray their green image by shifting  towards sustainability associated potential positives as well as negatives of the product.

Read other posts on Green Marketing

One of the main benefits of sustainable marketing is that it leads to trust and loyalty. Sustainability reports and informative websites are enabling companies to reach out to the consumer in a more open and transparent manner.

Is it realistic?

Well, it depends on what your definition of realistic is for you. If you think putting out ‘green iconography’ is Green Marketing and serves the purpose – then it’s realistic for you….but then you are courting with Greenwash – claiming yourself to be green when inherently you are not!

So, Sustainable or Green Marketing is a sure possibility. But I also don’t necessarily think that companies can ever fully claim to show the harm being caused by a particular product in its entirety.

Though the idea may be noble to inform customers about the ‘bad’ side of the products, it can be viewed as another marketing ploy.

What it can be?

For companies, it is a differentiator strategy. But currently the market is not yet evolved to a stage where consumers may necessarily want to know the negatives also.

Information that the product is doing ‘less harm’ to the planet and doing ‘good’ for under-privileged communities is more than sufficient to be a selling point. And sometimes even that is also not needed, if the performance and price mix are ideal. The eco-conscious customers who demand green products are well informed, educated, have surplus income and are also among the toughest audiences in terms of questioning and challenging green claims.

Green marketing can be an effective tool to these already converts. But for the masses, green marketing is perhaps just starting to make a dent in their behaviour. Green values need to be sold which will generate turnover…but if an organic clothing line is costly and out of synch of the current fashion trends, then it’s a dead end. If a face wash helps communities and doesn’t do much to the face, then it’s a disconnect.

All said, the consumer will only be serious about sustainable buying when that green product has at least the same performance characteristics and is at least equally priced than a traditional product in the same category.

The traditional 4P’s of marketingproduct, price, place and promotion become total solution, total satisfaction, value creation, and openness – as known in the Green Marketing jargon.

Mass advertising isn’t effective like it used to be and so it becomes really important that all the information sent out to the consumer must be relevant so as to be credible or else there is a real danger of being viewed as a green wash and potentially back fire its very purpose.

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