Ad Age: Green-Marketing Revolution Defies Economic Downturn

Source: Datamonitor's Product Launch Analytics

Source: Datamonitor's Product Launch Analytics

This week’s Advertising Age features a very interesting and timely (Earth Day is this week) article, titled “Green-Marketing Revolution Defies Economic Downturn.” The writer, Jack Neff, starts off the article with the following statement: “Green marketing is turning out to be surprisingly recession-proof.”

Neff points to product launch and sales data that indicate that even during the recession, consumer-packaged goods manufacturers are seeing significant revenue growth for their green offerings.  In fact, according to Seventh Generation CEO Jeffrey Hollender, his company’s sales were up 50% last year and 20% in March 2009 versus March 2008.

The article continues that as opposed to previous recessions, during which sales of green products “had the air taken out of them,” sales of green products have remained stable (and are still growing) in the current downturn.

Neff includes some interesting tips for green marketers at the end of the article, and I would certainly recommend giving it a quick read.

Here’s a link to the full article.

WSJ: Interesting report on eco-logos and green marketing

Courtesy Wall Street Journal.  Illustration by Michael Witte.

Courtesy Wall Street Journal. Illustration by Michael Witte.

The Wall Street Journal has an interesting report in Thursday’s issue titled: “As Eco-Seals Proliferate, So Do Doubts.” The article discusses how a number of unregulated organizations that purport to verify “green” product claims have sprouted up, which only makes buying these products even more confusing for businesses and consumers.

Here are the two main points that the writer makes:

1) The U.S. Government may need to oversee the creation of Federal green marketing standards, similar to what the U.S. Department of Agriculture has done with organic foods.

2) Eco-seals that are verified by reputable third-party organizations are more reliable.  One example the writer provides is a Canadian-based organization, Ecologo.

I couldn’t agree more.  I have been pushing my industry and my clients to be transparent about green marketing claims, especially because consumers are smart and see through “fuzzy” and unsubstantiated claims that organizations make.  This is why when a client uses eco-friendly papers in their marketing programs and wants to explain the environmental benefits derived from these choices, they should not use a paper company’s calculator to arrive at these statistics.  Rather, they should use the paper calculator created by Environmental Defense, a leading non-profit dedicated to the environment.  I have written about this resource a number of times over the past several years.

I also believe that the Federal government should step in and begin to regulate green product claims.  I know this will be a difficult process, as it would be impossible to apply the same standards across all industries.  Nevertheless, it is important to start now, as it will help companies and individual consumers to better navigate the increasingly-complicated product landscape.

Here’s a link to the full article.

Trendwatching.com’s 12 eco-trends to watch

Hey all – I wanted to share this interesting briefing on Trendwatching.com about eco trends that present exciting opportunities for marketers and entrepreneurs.

Trendwatching refers to these opportunities as an eco-bounty, and they provide the following definition: “ECO-BOUNTY refers to the numerous opportunities, both short and long term, for brands that participate in the epic quest for a sustainable society. Some of these opportunities exist despite the current recession, others are fueled by it, not in the least because of new rules and regulations. Downturn-obsessed brands who lose their eco-focus will find themselves left out in the cold when the global economy starts recovering.”

Have a great weekend!

Doubleclick Performics (division of Google) report provides insights into green marketing online

According to DoubleClick Performics’ recent Green Marketing Study, 60% of respondents who make online purchases say it is important that a company is environmentally conscious (although this report was released in April, I thought it was still very relevant and interesting).

According to Doubleclick’s site, “In the survey of 1,087 adults, consumers indicated the most attractive type of environmentally-conscious marketing is that which focuses on such ‘specific user benefits’ as saving money on bills or longer product lifespan. Consumers, when choosing between two similar products, prefer environmentally friendly products; 83 percent indicated they are extremely or very likely to choose the environmentally friendly option. ”

Stuart Larkins, senior vice president of search at DoubleClick Performics, commented, “Not only are consumers interested in green products and companies, our survey shows that nearly half of them will pay at least five percent more for them.” He continued, “With so many consumers online researching and purchasing products, retailers should include relevant environmentally-conscious information throughout their paid and natural search campaigns, affiliate promotions, display ads, and e-mail.”

Here’s a link to the full report: Doubleclick Performics Green Marketing Survey

This report is relevant especially because it highlights the importance of articulating a value proposition to the customer of “green” products. Data already shows that people and companies want to go green, but by explaining why they can help them (save money, be more energy efficient, promote renewable energy, attract employees) and the environment, sales will rise.

In addition, it is also important to note that this report finds that consumers are willing to pay more for “green” products, so long as the price differential is reasonable.

Interesting Research Study on Consumer Behavior

BBMG, a national marketing firm, has published an interesting report (in conjunction with marketing partners Global Strategy Group and Bagatto) on “conscious consumers” and the impact they are having on marketing.

According to BBMG, the report “combines ethnographic research in three U.S. markets with a national survey of 2,007 adults to reveal how companies can reach, inspire and motivate today’s
savvy and values-driven consumers.

Below please find a link to a PDF of the report:

http://www.bbmg.com/pdfs/BBMG_Conscious_Consumer_White_Paper.pdf