You probably recall the popular slogan: “Reduce, Reuse, Recycle” as a familiar Earth Day mantra from childhood. Although this day of “going green” is celebrated just once a year, did you know that many small business owners are cashing in on these green marketing benefits every day? While your kindergarten days of making nature collages and singing “We are the World” are a thing of the past, the Earth Day principles you were taught as a youngster can actually improve your business performance today.
By now you’re probably thinking, “this all sounds well and good, but my work schedule is way too busy to focus on ‘thinking green.’” Well, what if I told you that doing so could actually increase your business’s profitability?
Sound appealing? Then perhaps it’s time to consider the benefits of green marketing.
Let’s begin with what green marketing actually is. Sure, the terms “Reduce, Reuse, Recycle” are easily understandable when it comes to recycling bottles and paper products, but perhaps they aren’t quite as clear-cut when applied to your marketing efforts. Green marketing is defined as the marketing of products that are presumed to be environmentally preferable to others. Green marketing incorporates a broad range of activities, including product modification, changes to the production process, sustainable packaging, as well as modifying advertising. An article by Environmental Leader and a white paper by L.E.K. Consulting pinpoint the benefits of "going green" to improve your business's profitability, such as the sales benefits of differentiated packaging. It’s been discovered that companies who reduce harmful waste may incur substantial cost savings, due to the fact that they generally have to re-examine their production process. This re-examination not only reduces waste, but also reduces the need for some raw materials and successfully results in double-cost savings.
The following is a breakdown of the most commonly used green marketing practices. Could your business benefit from any of these practices?
Product modification involves the changing of one or more of a product's features to enhance its customer appeal. According to Blackwell Reference Online, modifications can give a company a competitive advantage, enabling them to charge a higher price and enhance customer loyalty. Product modifications can happen in a number of ways, with reformulation and repackaging as two of the most common methods. The process of reformulation is effectively broken down in an article by Cosmetics Info. Products can also undergo a more complex reformulation that involves changing the product’s internal chemistry. This process, referred to as “green chemistry,” is, pardon the pun, “broken down,” in an article by Green Biz. Repackaging can take on a wide range of forms. Inc.’s 10 Steps to Greener Packaging offers some great repackaging pointers for your business.
Changes to the Production Process
Reference for Business Encyclopediaexamines the goals of the green production process, the major one of which is to minimize the impact of the manufacturing process on the environment at every stage of production. Although efforts for this process have been focused on big corporations, increasing numbers of small companies have successfully established ecologically sensitive business practices as well.
Sustainable packaging is the development and use of packaging which is not harmful to the environment and supports long-term ecological balance, in order to reduce our environmental impact and ecological footprint. An article by Greener Package breaks down the top five packaging trends for 2015. There is an emphasis on lightweight packaging for environmental sustainability and reduced costs throughout the supply chain. Does your business currently follow any of these trends?
Modifying Advertising would be considered the final stage of green marketing. It’s all about positioning your product to reflect its environmental benefits. British Petroleum (BP) is a great example of this modification process. In order to reflect a company shift to a hydrogen/solar based future, they redesigned their logo to a sun-based emblem, helping consumers immediately recognize their product as eco-friendly. For a comprehensive guide to the modification process, chek out Redefining Management Practices and Marketing in Modern Age.
Are you ready to try green marketing for your business but are not sure where to start?Small Business Owner’s Guide to Marketing Online is a great resource to get you started.