The majority of customers are willing to alter their purchasing behaviours to become more environmentally conscious, according to a study on consumer behaviour conducted by IBM in 2020. Customers have probably observed a huge push from firms toward sustainable marketing as a result.
A few years later in 2022, not much has changed. So how can a company use sustainable marketing to appeal to a consumer that is becoming more socially conscious? Below, we’ll go through it and other things.
How does sustainable marketing work?
The promotion of goods, services, and behaviours that are socially responsible is known as sustainable marketing. While eco-friendly firms naturally focus on sustainable marketing initiatives, brands without a strong sustainability foundation can nonetheless incorporate its tenets into their approach. Its objective is to advance a cause, not a good or service.
Sustainable marketing vs green marketing
Although the phrases are sometimes used interchangeably, there are some differences between sustainability marketing and green marketing. The focus of green marketing is on tactics that advance environmental conservation and awareness. The definition of sustainable marketing is a little bit broader. In addition to techniques that go beyond the environment, such as social and economic concerns, it also covers green marketing.
Are Prospective Customers Aware of Sustainability?
Recently, the subject of sustainability has garnered a lot of popularity. Many people think it just affects Gen-Z, but a recent study indicates that this is a worry for all generations. We polled 1,034 people in 2022 to find out more about their buying preferences. The majority of respondents, including Boomers and Gen-X, agree that one of the most significant societal concerns that businesses should address is climate change (ages 35 to 54). The choices customers make about their purchases reflect this value.
A firm that actively works to lessen its impact on the environment is more likely to attract customers, according to nearly half (46%) of respondents. A brand’s environmental effect and the ethical manufacture of its products, according to about 28 per cent of respondents, are two of the most significant variables affecting their purchase decisions.
The study shows that while Gen-X is most concerned with the environment, Millennials (38%) are more concerned with ethical products. However, attention to sustainable practices is shared by all parties. So, to address the initial question, yes, customers care about sustainability, and it’s not only the younger generation.
So even if your company isn’t based on this objective, spending time and money on sustainable processes and marketing to draw in new clients will still be worthwhile.
Strategies for Sustainable Marketing
- Have a bigger goal in mind
Brands frequently assess their performance using numerical data. The main sign of success is often how much money they have or will make in any particular period. This viewpoint is changed by sustainability, which requires businesses to measure their success in terms other than financial gain. As a brand, you must advocate for something more than your goods and services and that cuts across all industries. Have you established your social mission? If not, take some time to learn what it is and how your brand contributes to achieving that purpose.
For instance, the clothes, accessories, and home décor brands Autumn Adeigbo. However, according to its website, its goal is to have an international influence on women’s lives. They do this, among other things, by using factories run by women and hiring female craftspeople.
- Plan ahead
Building long-term value is the main goal of sustainability marketing. Too frequently, businesses concentrate on getting quick results. For instance, several marketing strategies, like blogging and running Google Ads, are excellent lead producers. What transpires, though, once your lead has completed a purchase and become a customer? How will you foster brand advocacy and loyalty? Sustainable marketing considers how to support customers throughout the full purchasing process.
One strategy for establishing early loyalty with your audience is education. from the moment they first come across you on social media till they have a goal in mind.
For instance, a food company may use social media to inform its audience about the value of ethical farming and carry the conversation further with post-purchase recycling advice for packaging.
- Be client-focused
Isn’t marketing solely focused on the consumer, you could be asking? Yes, in theory, but that isn’t usually the case. A brand will frequently attempt to push a product or service onto a customer in conventional marketing. Understanding your clients’ wants and adjusting your marketing strategy accordingly is more important with consumer-oriented marketing. That information can be useful for your upcoming campaign. Innovation is one approach to staying customer-focused in the face of so much competition. The Netflix and Blockbuster cautionary story is well known. But that indicates that Blockbuster was unwilling to make a significant cultural change. However, innovation doesn’t necessarily need to be so significant. Small modifications may be necessary; the important thing is to be aware of your audience’s demands.
- Integrate sustainability into all facets of your brand
If sustainability marketing is not genuine, it fails. Imagine learning that a company that makes claims to be sustainable hasn’t done anything to further its objective. It would be challenging to restore consumer faith in the such brand. Make sure your company approaches sustainability from a comprehensive perspective. Are you promoting sustainability while constructing your product using non-sustainable materials? Are you working with companies whose goals are at odds with yours? Is your team a good representation of the envisioned future?
These are the inquiries you need to make in order to ascertain whether your brand accurately represents the goal you have in mind. Determine the areas that want improvement, then sit down to brainstorm ways that support your objective.
Although audiences don’t demand perfection, they do respect openness. Sharing where you now fall short and how you intend to address these concerns is acceptable and encouraged.
Let us now see some examples of sustainable marketing:
This apparel business was founded as a result of the founder’s search for a sock manufacturer with a sustainable and ethical mission. While most businesses concentrate on encouraging customers to make purchases, Kind Socks takes the complete opposite tack by requesting that they spend less and more carefully. Emphasizing the company’s objective may seem paradoxical to many businesses, yet doing so can assist to enhance audience trust and brand loyalty.
The goal of the underwear company Thinx is to offer incontinence and menstrual problems with long-lasting remedies. This core principle serves as the foundation for all marketing materials the brand produces. The company’s social media accounts blend updates about its missions with product advertising and instructional information. The secret to effective sustainable marketing is to approach it in a genuine manner that seems integrated into the brand rather than as an add-on that is only used when practical. A nice illustration of how to do it correctly is Thinx.
We covered the significance of using a comprehensive strategy for sustainable marketing in the previous section. With Nada Duele, their objective is mirrored in every aspect of their business, including their name, which stands for the notion that things shouldn’t damage people, and the campaigns they support. You may read about their partnership with a Guatemalan organisation committed to safeguarding the timber industry in their “How We Work” section. It’s crucial that the collaborations your company enters into reflecting your ideals. You run the danger of losing people’s respect for you.
Pangiai, a materials science business, strives to protect the environment. This basic objective is the focus of every marketing effort the company makes, including this video campaign. The company outlines its goal in it, which is to “turn the cycle from the artificial to natural, from plastic to plants …, and from the new to the recycled.” This advertisement works because Pangiai explains the future it wants to see and the plans it will use to get there. Pangiai items are shown throughout the advertisement, however, they are not the main subject. This demonstrates effective sustainable marketing since it shows viewers that the mission, not the products, is what drives the company.
Satya + Sage
One of the greatest and simplest ways to carry out a sustainable marketing plan is through social media. You may publish a variety of material, from informing your followers about sustainable practices to highlighting the sustainability efforts your business is doing. In this illustration, the candle firm Satya + Sage offers advice on how to make the most of the seed paper that is included with each candle. Pay close attention to the queries and remarks that your fans post on social media, since this may help you decide which marketing tactics to attempt in the future.
For brands, sustainable marketing is becoming more and more crucial, hop on to make the best of it for your business!