By Shel Horowitz
Tim Kovach wrote here recently about some of the benefits of going Green beyond the straight dollars-and-cents energy payback. But he didn’t happen to mention something dear to my heart: the two huge marketing advantages of going Green.
New Customers Are Predisposed to Buy From You
More and more people want to patronize Green companies, as awareness of climate change gets deeper and deeper. If you can provide a Green alternative, and especially if you can do it at a price and value point that is competitive with less Green alternatives, you’ve got the customer–as long as that customer knows how to find you in the marketplace, and knows why you’re the right choice.
Customers Become Loyalists and then Ambassadors
If you treat that customer right, if you make that person feel that you feel it’s a privilege to work together, if he or she feels special because of working with you, here’s the really great thing: customers like that start telling their friends. If you treat them well enough, they start bragging on you. They start insisting that their friends do business with you!
Consider this: Depending on which study you believe, it takes most companies five to ten times as much to bring in a new customer through traditional marketing methods as to bring an old one back again. Which means that when an existing customer brings you a new one, the first sale to that customer could be as much as 90 percent more profitable than finding that customer on your own. Nice, huh?
Thus, if you can successfully convey your Green message, and the customer feels valued, you put a lot of extra revenue straight into profitability. And you don’t have to work as hard on marketing :-).
A Real Life Example: Marcal
Back in the 1970s, when I first began to be aware of environmental issues, I started looking around for a low-cost brand of recycled household products. At that time, the only recycled brands I knew about were very pricy, and as a low-income student, I couldn’t afford to pay three times as much as the cheap commercial brands.
But it turns out one of the most available and affordable brands in New York City (where I grew up) is Marcal, and Marcal switched to recycled paper in–get this–1950. However, the company kept it a secret for a long time. It’s only in the last few years that the company understood the powerful marketing asset it was sitting on.
Why am I not surprised that Marcal became the category leader once it started trumpeting its environmental virtues?
Additional Green Marketing Resources
I’ve written a whole book on marketing Green, including a big section on how to convert customers to fans to ambassadors: Guerrilla Marketing Goes Green: Winning Strategies to Improve Your Profits and Your Planet (co-authored with Jay Conrad Levinson, who does all the Guerrilla Marketing books).
If you register your purchase on that website, you get $2000 worth of extra-value goodies with your book.
Green and ethical marketing consultant Shel Horowitz shows you how to reach Green, socially conscious consumers with marketing that has THEM calling YOU. The award-winning author of eight books, Shel is currently creating a new trade association for Green marketers: the International Association of Earth-Conscious Marketers.