Module 13: Sustainable Marketing Mix

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Sustainable Marketing Mix

Promoting a Product

Promotion is the communication tools and tactics that a company uses to promote and market their product. There are many ways to communicate a company’s products and benefits. Branding is the cornerstone of the communications platform.


A brand is an image in the consumer’s mind for a particular product or service.

Strong sustainable brands should have a brand image of the product or service having a positive impact on people and the environment.

Promotion Tools

Advertising, public relations, personal selling, consumer and trade promotion, social media, digital marketing, and mobile marketing are all marketing promotion tools.

When determining which mediums to utilize, marketers need to consider:

1 Marketing Objectives

2 Effective reach of mediums among identified target audiences

3 Budget

It is best to use a mix of promotion vehicles to most effectively and efficiently reach the target market and consistently apply the branding and messaging to maximize awareness. The messaging is best when it elicits a call to action on the consumer’s part-that is, purchase, engagement, and loyalty.


Advertising encompasses communications designed to increase awareness and encourage the purchase of a particular product or service and is a paid medium.

Advertising methods are more interruptive versus permission based and include television, print (newspapers and magazines), Internet advertising (such as banner ads), radio, billboards, and cinema advertising.

Public Relations

Public relations is about influencing, informing, and persuading the consumer and is often not a medium that is directly paid for, such as paying to take out ads in the newspaper, on the radio, or on television. Instead, you earn stories and coverage, which is called “earned media.”

There are many tools to use for public relations; among them are press releases, press conferences, fact sheets, letters to the editor, guest columns, radio and television talk show appearances, blogs, white paper publishing, speaker engagements, trade shows, and endorsements.

Personal Selling

Personal selling includes one-on-one selling, word of mouth, cold calls, sales meetings, product presentations, and demonstrations.

Consumer Promotions

Consumer promotions are programs that directly help to influence the consumer to purchase the product and typically include some price incentive. For sustainable marketing they often include an incentive or donation that help people and the planet.

Items such as free standing inserts (FSIs: the inserts that are typically in Sunday’s newspaper), coupons, buy one get one free offers (BOGOs), Groupon offers, in-store sampling, couponing, event marketing, sweepstakes, and other contests are key consumer promotion tactics.

Tom’s Shoes

Blake Mycoskie started Toms Shoes on the premise that for every pair of shoes sold, one pair would be donated to a child in need.
Toms Shoes recognized that consumers want to feel good about what they buy and thus directly tied the purchase with the donation. This consumer promotion is a buy one give one. In just four years, Toms Shoes had donated more than four hundred thousand shoes, evidence that consumers have clearly embraced the cause.

Social Media

Social media involves the use of sites, such as Facebook, Twitter, Foursquare, LinkedIn, and YouTube, among others, to help generate awareness and get consumers engaged in a relationship with a brand and talking to each other about the brand.

Social media are permission-based marketing, and consumers have to engage on their own and give “permission” to marketers to engage with them (e.g., when you “Like” a product or service fan page on Facebook or you view a promotional YouTube video or sign up for a blog RSS feed). This is different than interruptive marketing, which consumers usually have little control over (although DVRs are making it possible for consumers to not have to watch television advertising).

Digital Marketing

Digital marketing is primarily the use of web-based marketing tools. This would include a company’s website, search engine optimization (SEO), pay-per-click, retargeting, e-mail, RSS, blogging, podcasting, and video streams, to name a few.

The Internet can be used with push or pull techniques. Digital marketing can be used to “push” a message to the target market via e-mail, IM, RSS, or voice broadcast, and it can also be used to “pull” content via a banner ad and pay-per-click search terms.

Mobile Marketing

Mobile marketing is on the rise, especially with the increasing penetration of smartphones.

Mobile advertising and the use of QR (quick response) codes is an effective way to engage consumers. QR codes are two-dimensional (2D) matrix barcodes that can hold thousands of alphanumeric characters of information. When consumers “snap” them on their smartphones, the QR codes can take them to a special mobile-enabled site that provides content and incentives to promote a product.

In today’s digital world of immediacy, consumers want instant access to what’s relevant and mobile marketing techniques are being used to make that possible.

Sea Bags
Sea Bags, an American company based in Portland, Maine makes handmade tote bags from recycled sails. Its using a strategic approach with QR codes, incorporating them into its marketing strategy. The QR code directs consumers to a mobile-enabled website that shows a video portraying the company story and commitment to recycling, detailing how they use recycled sails to make their product. Future plans are to include bag tags (also made of recycled sails) with QR codes, which tell consumers their sail’s history and sailing journey around the world.


Grassroots Promotion and Marketing

Grassroots promotion and marketing combines some of the different promotional approaches in a focused, creative, and low-cost way that is often local or community based. It can be particularly useful for start-up ventures. It uses public relations (such as local press and media stories), blogs, social media, and community event planning and participation to drive qualified leads to company websites and physical locations for purchases.

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