Module 13: Sustainable Marketing Mix

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Market Segmentation

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Sustainable Marketing Mix
Market Segmentation

Target Market

A consumer target market (often referred to as a target audience) is a defined set of consumers who are particularly interested in a product or market, would have access to it, and are able to purchase it.

Market segmentation divides these audiences into homogenous groups of customers, each of them reacting differently to promotion, communication, pricing, and other variables of the marketing mix.

Market segments should be formed in a way that differences between consumers within each segment are as small as possible. This is especially helpful to optimize marketing budgets, targeting dollars to those most interested in your product to allow a more effective and efficient marketing plan.

Types of Segmentation

Segmentation can be further defined using demographic, geographic, psychographic, and behavioral segmentation.

Behavioral segmentation divides consumers by such variables as attitude toward the product, user status, or user rate.

Psychographic segmentation classifies consumers based on individual lifestyles, attitudes, and beliefs.

Geographic segmentation divides a market by location and includes such variables as population density (urban, suburban, and rural areas) and climate.

Demographic segmentation divides the market into groups based on variables, such as age, marital status, household income levels, education, children in household, and occupation.

Types of Consumers

Within the green market segment, it is important to understand which consumers to target. Once strictly limited to “tree huggers,” the market is growing. According to a 2011 study by OgilvyEarth titled “Mainstream Green,” consumers can be subdivided and segmented behaviorally and psychographically by their level of “green intensity.”

Hardcore green consumers who only purchase sustainable products are called “super greens” and represent about 16 percent of the market.

On the other extreme are “green rejecters,” those not looking for or interested in green products, which represent 18 percent of the market.

Most of America (66 percent) is in the green middle ground-not hardcore green but not completely unaware or unappreciative of issues surrounding sustainability. [1]

Marketing to Green Consumers

Companies who market to green consumers look at those on the spectrum as well as determine which consumers will provide the greatest volume potential. But with so many consumers firmly entrenched in the middle green, there exists opportunities to create products with mass appeal.

Targeting Women

For consumer packaged goods purchases, women are typically the primary target audience as they still do the bulk of today’s household shopping.

Seventh Generation, a sustainable personal care and household cleaning products manufacturer, targets the middle green as well as new moms, whom they find to be especially interested in making the world a better place for their newborns.[2]

Consumer Packaged Goods

Consumer packaged goods are a type of good that is consumed every day by the average consumer. The goods that compose this category are ones that need to be replaced frequently, compared to those that are usable for extended periods of time. Examples are laundry detergent, food, shampoo, soap, and beverages.

Conspicuous Conservation

Other companies target the super green. Super green consumers may undertake costly actions in order to signal themselves as such; this has been called conspicuous conservation. [3]

Example - Prius


Car ownership decisions are one of the most visible consumption decisions households make. Since the introduction of the Toyota Prius in the United States in 2001, a growing number of vehicle models have been introduced with features that reduce environmental impacts. The Prius was the only model that provided a unique exterior shape and a design that stood out and announced that it was different than standard vehicles.


The Prius has emerged as the clear leader among twenty-four different hybrid models available in the United States, with 48 percent of the 290,271 hybrid cars sold in the United States in 2009.

Super Greens
Prius’s success is particularly pronounced in communities with high percentages of super greens in the US, who want to make public their environmental practices and beliefs.
The Prius with its unique product design has successfully provided the vehicle for owner’s to signal their affinity for the environment allowing super greens to make a conspicuous statement about their conservation efforts.

LOHAS and Cultural Creatives

Market segment groups identified as particularly attractive for the sustainable business include Lifestyles of Health and Sustainability (LOHAS) and Cultural Creatives.

The LOHAS segment of the population is described as individuals committed to health, the environment, social justice, personal development, and sustainable living.

The Cultural Creatives segment of the population is described as individuals committed to spirituality, social justice, and environmentalism. Together, they represent a sizable and growing percentage of our population.


[1] Graceann Bennett and Freya Williams, Mainstream Green, 2011, http://assets.ogilvy.com/truffles_email/ogilvyearth/Mainstream_Green.pdf

[2] Romy Ribitzky, “Seventh Generation Embarks on First Ever National Ad Campaign,” Portfolio.com, February 11, 2010

[3] Much of this paragraph is drawn from Steven Sexton and Alison Sexton, “Conspicuous Conservation: The Prius Effect and Willingness to Pay for Environmental Bona Fides” (unpublished manuscript, April 2011).

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