Overview of Sustainable Business Marketing
Sustainable Marketing Strategy
Companies Visions and Values
There is a lot to consider when creating a sustainable marketing strategy. It is not simply adding “green” to your brand platform or announcing that you support a worthy cause.
To be most successful, a commitment to sustainability should be part of the company’s overall vision and an integral part of the company’s values and fundamental beliefs.
A strong sustainability strategy includes understanding how the company impacts the people and environment in which it operates and consciously applies sustainable practices throughout every element of its business.
Inherent in this practice is the concept of radical transparency, whereby everything the company does is transparent and visible to the consumer and community at large, which contributes to the credibility of the sustainable brand.
Measurable goals contribute to radical transparency as they provide clear and actionable goals to which the company can commit and progress against.
Radical transparency involves everything a company does being completely transparent and visible to the consumer and all stakeholders.
A marketing plan is derived from the company’s vision and integrates an organization’s overall goals and marketing objectives (what goals they want to achieve) and strategies (how they are going to achieve them) into a cohesive plan, typically on an annual basis.
The green marketing plan focuses on the ideal marketing mix to achieve maximum profit potential while adhering to sustainability principles.
Marketing Plan Key Elements
These are the overall company goals that should be in line with the company’s vision and long-term strategic plan.
Determine marketing objectives. Objectives should be stated clearly and should stem from the overall company’s vision and goals.
Objectives should have specificity, such as to grow to 5 percent market share.
After objectives are determined, strategies (which are how you are going to achieve the objectives) should be developed.
An example is to convert all product ingredients to those that are locally sourced to help meet the objective of minimizing the company’s carbon footprint.
Tactics are the specific means or programs to achieve the strategies.
One example is identifying the local suppliers and costs to achieve a buy local strategy.
Determine what market you are participating in and what stage your product or service is in its life cycle: development, introduction, growth, maturity, or decline (see page titled “Product Life Cycle”).
For green products especially, there may be opportunity to add a new dimension to a mature category with a new product benefit.
Consumer Target Audience
Identify who is your potential customer. In a study conducted by OgilvyEarth, there are varying degrees of how “green” consumers are.
From die-hard “super greens” to “green rejecters,” marketers need to determine who best to target to achieve their marketing objectives.
Keys to Creating an Effective Green Marketing Strategy
1- Understand the market and the underlying values and beliefs of your consumers and other key stakeholders, and develop a marketing plan that aligns well with these values and beliefs.
2- Make sure that the products and services balance the needs of meeting consumer’s desires for quality, convenience, and affordability with sustainability goals.
3 - Be genuine and radically transparent throughout the marketing mix.
In marketing communication and promotion efforts, actively engage consumers with issues that are meaningful to them, and listen to them. Give them a voice.
4 - Create alliances.
Look for sustainable business partners, such as those from whom you source ingredients or other materials; nongovernmental organizations (NGOs) that complement your business; and sustainable industry leaders and other like-minded businesses.
5- Measure performance against key metrics and communicate progress.
Radical transparency includes being able to share progress against sustainability goals with consumers and the community at large.
Product Life Cycle
There are basically five stages of the product life cycle, including the development, introduction, growth, maturity, and decline stages.
Customers will only be able to purchase products in the latter four stages because the product typically has not yet been placed on the market in the development stage.
Some companies, however, like computer software companies, do release a limited number of products during the development phase to help with their beta testing.
Sustainable Marketing Mix
The marketing mix, also known as the four Ps of marketing, is the combination of product, price, place (distribution), and promotion. Marketers develop strategies around these four areas in marketing to enhance branding, sales, and profitability.
The marketing mix forms the foundation for creating a sustainable marketing strategy. Sustainability marketing, unlike traditional marketing, needs to adhere well to sustainability principles throughout the marketing mix. This helps to:
Strengthen the brand identity
Ensure honest, truthful communications and radical transparency with stakeholders, one of the cornerstones of good sustainability marketing principles
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