Marketers have the important role of influencing consumers in certain directions. Marketing is the backbone of many businesses and is often present in all stages of creating and maintaining a brand. With an ever-evolving need for sustainable marketing, it is becoming more important for businesses to shift to a greener and more sustainable direction. But how? Let’s look at it.
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The main sustainable marketing challenges we are facing
In 2020, an IBM study on consumer behavior showed that Millennials are very aware and give a lot of importance on sustainability. They value sustainable businesses, and are willing to pay more for products and/or services offered by sustainable brands. This study also showed that the Boomer generation and other consumers are also likely to strongly consider sustainable brands over brands that are not ‘green’.
To keep up with the consumer’s wants and needs, being more sustainable has to be the backbone of your business strategy. Why? Because the market is leaning towards finding sustainability much more important than not being green. This creates a need that is getting harder to ignore. On top of that, our world is also in need of businesses taking the responsibility to do everything they can to become more sustainable. These needs go hand in hand.
Let’s look at the challenges
Businesses can face challenges when it comes to the implementation of new sustainable and green marketing strategies. Amongst these challenges are the lack of knowledge and urgency of sustainability goals by business leaders, stakeholders, and other people involved in decision-making. You can combat this by stressing the importance of this topic and presenting data that shows the need for change. On top of that, there might initially be a loss of profits when your business changes strategies, however, it’s wise to keep in mind that in the long run, this change is an investment.
This is because more people feel more aligned with sustainable brands and this sentiment is only likely to increase. Another challenge might be reputational damage; it might be caused when consumers don’t understand the decisions that are being made or when products and services increase in price. However, this doesn’t have to mean that the decisions are not the right choice. It is important to keep on gauging the feeling amongst your target audience and communicate clearly why your business is creating this change. Oftentimes, with clear and transparent communication, harsh opinions will soften over time.
The 5 most important sustainable marketing principles and strategies
Many businesses are looking into creating more sustainable marketing strategies that will be beneficial for them, their customers, and the earth. There are many initiatives, new ideas, innovative principles, and actions that help businesses become more sustainable. In this article, we are looking at 5 important marketing principles and strategies.
1. The doughnut economy
Have you ever heard about the doughnut economy? The doughnut economy is an economic model created by Oxford economist Kate Raworth. Kate’s thoughts on our current capitalist economy are that we desperately need a change to save our planet. Right now, our focus is and has always been on growth. We always want more and businesses are no exception to this.
However, Kate reckons that if every business keeps on growing, eventually (sooner than later) we will run out of natural resources. On top of that, there are major flaws in our current economic system because there is a huge gap between the poor and the wealthy. She combats this gap with her new theory; the doughnut economy.
In the doughnut economy, there is a ‘safe place’ which is everywhere in the figurative doughnut. If we, as a society and with our businesses, go out of the doughnut (and grow too much) we are using too many natural resources. On the contrary, if we minimize growth, then there is not enough work for the people which will result in a lack of our basic human needs. If we are able to stay in the middle, we will be able to create a healthy balance. This balance is created by for example the sharing economy and by a recycling economy.
2. The sharing economy
The sharing economy is meant for consumers to share resources and goods. There are many examples of the sharing economy present today. You can think of various companies that offer transportation options such as shared scooters, cars, and bikes that you can rent for a short time. These vehicles are often placed throughout a city and are easily accessible.
One of the main reasons for the shared economy to exist is to be able to use fewer products and resources as a society. This ties in beautifully with the ideas behind the doughnut economy. We do not all need everything all the time. We can be responsible and still thrive. Both principles focus on comfort without being excessive.
3. Becoming Carbon Neutral
Whether you are an E-commerce business, a marketing agency, or any other type of business, you most likely are contributing to the emission of carbon. This is inevitable. However, there are more ways to get better insights into how much we are contributing and how we can make our way to becoming carbon-neutral (or at least more aware of our actions).
What are ways to become more carbon neutral? Good news: there are many. You can think about sustainable packaging, only offering sustainable shipping methods (stay away from fast shipping), focusing on sustainable development, and more. You can even calculate your carbon footprint. Curious to know how? We wrote an article about sustainable e-commerce before.
4. The 4 p’s of Green Marketing
Now that we know more about the principles of the doughnut economy, the sharing economy, and how we can calculate our carbon footprint; it’s time to get into action. How can you evolve your business into a more ‘green’ and ‘sustainable’ organization? Let’s look at the 4 p’s of Green Marketing; here you can focus on creating a greener product, price, place, and promotion. Read the article we wrote about it to get to know how you can implement the 4 p’s easily in your business.
5. The Metaverse
Let’s also consider the future of marketing; the Metaverse. Did you know that big brands such as Nike, Heineken, and Manchester United are all already advertising in the Metaverse? Read this article about how the Metaverse will change digital marketing first. Then let’s look at how you can be more sustainable as a brand whilst utilizing the Metaverse?
For example; Nike is currently selling shoes in the Metaverse. They are not real shoes (and therefore don’t contribute to carbon emissions) and people are willing to buy them in the virtual world. Selling virtual goods will in some shape or form become more common in the near future. Looking into adapting your business and marketing strategies to these changes will not only make your business future-proof, but it might also help with reaching your sustainability goals.
Green marketing opportunities: designing green products and services from the beginning
Because of the need for a more sustainable marketplace, there are also a lot of opportunities, innovations, and changes for businesses to evolve. Marketing is the backbone of all processes to create a business; from brainstorming sessions to creating the actual products. Therefore, we need to keep on thinking, brainstorming, and implementing sustainability goals into our marketing strategies.
This way we will be able to move forward, step by step. Maybe you are a business that’s been around for years and you want to change. Maybe you are a startup and you want to implement sustainable marketing strategies from the get-go. Wherever you’re standing; it is never too late to change. Let’s all take our responsibility and work toward a world in which we can thrive while simultaneously taking care of our natural resources. It’s important!
Do you want to create a more sustainable business?
The demand for sustainable businesses is increasing, and sometimes it’s hard to keep up. We can help out with this by looking at your businesses challenges and opportunities and implementing the desired changes. Reach out and get in touch today and book a call with us. We’ll be happy to assist you in further growing your business.