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Posts Tagged ‘eco-friendly’

Green Marketing: Are You Forgetting the Basics or are You a Hypocrite?

December 12th, 2011 No comments

green marketing basicsAustin, Texas: A few weeks back I had attended a trade show for the wholesale trade and was amazed at the number of people with banners touting “Eco-Friendly” and “Go Green”, etc.

Being a green marketing company, those signs immediately attracted my attention and I stopped at most of these booths.

Unfortunately, I was quite disappointed at how these firms substantiated their claims.

Just because an item can be recycled, does not necessarily make it eco-friendly. Many of these companies had no clue as to the recycle symbols on their products, whether or not it had any recycled material, country of origin, etc.

Customers are wary of claims that cannot be backed up with proof.

Then, on top of that, the majority of these companies had business cards that were not made on recycled paper stock or FSC-certified paper– nor were their catalogs or flyers.

Pay attention to the little things.

Going green means paying attention to the details, big and small..

If you claim to be green, at least know the issues that are affecting the country in terms of sustainability, carbon footprint and even climate change.

If your business cards and flyers are not recycled or FSC-certified, take down your “eco-friendly” banners- and decide if marketing to a green niche is the right target audience for you.

Marketing takes consistency.

Is your green marketing message consistent?


Ask Us Your Green Marketing Questions Anytime at  Facebook.com/ecomarketingsolutions and join the conversation.
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Robert Piller, President of Eco Marketing Solutions, has over 25 years of experience in running and implementing green marketing campaigns and is a leader in the recycled promotional products industry, including offering one of the largest selections of reusable and organic tote bags, recycled and biodegradable water bottles, recycled pens and pencils in the country.

His company’s website, EcoMarketingSolutions.com, features over 25,000 eco-friendly promotional items in all price ranges, for any business or organization interested in going green. The site’s handy search tool helps you easily find biodegradable, organic and recycled imprinted promotional items in your price range and time frame.

You can also reach him by email (robert (at) ecomarketingsolutions.com) or comment on his blog postings at GreenSpotBlog.com or below at his Twitter link.

Follow ecomarketing on Twitter

Which States are the Least Green?

January 2nd, 2009 No comments

Changing people’s recycling habits can take many years, since people have different “levels of greenness”. As I had discussed in my article, “Are all consumers ready to ‘go green’?”, people have different attitudes about both their desire and need to become more environmentally concerned and aware.
Many states and cities are launching recycling campaigns to help educate consumers about the importance of recycling – and to create awareness of the importance of recycling.
Some of the tools used for these go green campaigns are television commercials, billboard ad, radio commercials and eco-friendly promotional products –like recycled rulers, biodegradable pens and pencils and recycled refrigerator magnets –given out to school children during community outreach programs.
But not all campaigns are as effective as possible. How do individual states rank in respect to their recycling efforts? According to the report, “Do Mess With It“, by Steve Spacek, residents of the Northeastern states of Connecticut, Vermont, Maine and Massachusetts do the best job of recycling, as they had the least amount of per capita waste disposal.

Here is the entire list, in order of the state with the least amount of waste to the most wasteful state. The number beside the state’s name represents the daily per capita waste thrown away in pounds, according to 2002 numbers.

1.Connecticut 0.4510
2.Vermont 0.5840
3. Maine 1.0348
4. Massachusetts 1.4575
5. New York 1.5250
6. New Jersey 2.4698
7 Minnesota 2.5871
8. Maryland 2.9465
9. Hawaii 3.6754
10. Idaho 4.4523
11. Missouri 4.6106
12. Washington 4.9711
13. Florida 5.2001
14. South Dakota 5.3127
15. Montana 5.3165
16. Alaska 5.4872
17. Alabama 6.1666
18. Louisiana 6.2151
19. Delaware 6.2535
20. W. Virginia 6.3716
21. Iowa 6.4104
22. Rhode Island 6.6646
23. Georgia 6.6713
24. California 6.7999
25. Nebraska 6.8072
26. Oklahoma 6.9690
27. Wyoming 7.2168
28. Texas 7.2457
29. New Hampshire 7.3430
30. North Carolina 7.4116
31. Arkansas 7.5971
32. Mississippi 7.8556
33. Colorado 7.9048
34. Tennessee 8.2213
35. Illinois 8.4773
36. Ohio 8.7336
37. Utah 8.8063
38. Kansas 8.9314
39. Arizona 8.9871
40. Virginia 9.0122
41. Oregon 9.0161
42. Wisconsin 9.4417
43. North Dakota 9.4650
44. Indiana 9.7873
45. Kentucky 9.9515
46.South Carolina 10.2101
47. Michigan 10.4388
48. Pennsylvania 12.9517
49.New Mexico 15.6367
50. Nevada 16.9415

Let’s hope that the education campaigns continue and both consumers and businesses can work toward a 10% reduction in waste per year—which is very attainable.

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Robert Piller, experienced in green marketing campaigns and environmentally-friendly promotional products. His web site includes a comprehensive eco-friendly advertising specialty search, featuring over 250,000 eco promotional items in all price ranges, for anyone interested in going green. The site’s handy search tool helps you easily find recyclable, biodegradable, organic or recycled imprinted promotional items in your price range and time frame. View the Go Green website at EcoMarketingSolutions.com and comment on his blog postings at GreenSpotBlog.com.

Will Declining Oil Prices Affect Alternative Energy Industry?

November 17th, 2008 No comments

Since the price of oil has dropped over 50% in the past year, what effect will it have on the alternative energy industry as a whole?

With cheap oil available, the public outcry has calmed for new sources of energy.  Although this pricing condition is short-lived, the meltdown in the financial sector might have a more lasting and negative impact.

For example, the ethanol industry has seen its share of problems recently due to the skyrocketing costs of corn.  However, as all commodity prices have become turbulent in recent months, some ethanol producers have not adjusted to volatile price swings,  and firms such as VeraSun Energy Corp., have filed for Chapter 11 protection.

The $700 billion government bailout includes an 8-year extension of solar power tax credits, which is very positive.  However, absent an influx in capital investment funds, this industry will not advance as quickly as once believed.

Wind power has also been given a one-year extension of production tax credits.  Again, being that this industry is capital intensive, its growth rate will also slow to a crawl.

With a new administration promising $150 billion over the next ten years in alternative energies, it comes at a very opportune time.

Let’s hope the American people will not be lulled into thinking oil pries will continue to fall forever.  The time for investment into clean energy is now.

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Robert Piller is President of EcoMarketing Solutions LLC, a company that helps businesses promote themselves to their customers and prospects at trade shows using environmentally-friendly promotional products that won’t end up in a landfill. He is a frequent speaker and writer on issues of green marketing. He can be reached at robert@ecomarketingsolutions.com. You can also visit his blog at www.greenspotblog.com.

Trade Show Marketing: How to Attract the Best Qualified Leads and Prospects to Your Booth (Part 2 of 3)

September 10th, 2008 1 comment

(Part 2 of 3)

The day you have marked on the calendar is here. Today is the first day of the trade show you have planned for over the past few months. You’ve lost sleep, spent time at Kinko’s the other night running off last-minute flyers and signage you forgot about, and now you are ready to go.

Or are you ready?

In my previous column, I discussed several strategies for maximizing your trade show effectiveness and return on investment.

In this column, I will be discussing several “at-show” trade show activities and tips you can do to ensure a successful trade show.

Guerilla Marketing: Some companies do an end-run around the show management’s policy of a 5-mile radius of non-competing activities by hosting hospitality suites at nearby hotels (or even the host hotel or at the corporate home office or regional facility). I have even heard of companies that host private invitation-only golf tournaments the day prior to a trade show to get the maximum bang for their buck as they bring in their top prospects, customers and vendors. Be forewarned, however, that if caught violating the show management’s rules, you can be fined, banned, humiliated and forced to walk the plank (well maybe not the plank). Many of these same functions can be done with the blessing of show management with a smile, charm and some money.

Walk the Walk, not Talk the Talk: Many times you can get into a trade show by applying as an attendee or by telling management that you would like to walk the show to decide whether or not you want to exhibit the following year. As an attendee, you can visit your competitor’s booth and hear their sales presentations – though you may also be kicked flat on your backside, as well as thrown out of the show by management. I have always found it good business to introduce myself to my competitors, offer to swap brochures (you are each going to end up with each others’ sales material one way or the other) and just start a friendly conversation. Sometimes you can learn a great deal just be being honest and up-front. (Remember the golden rule: “Do unto others…”)

Walking a show floor also gives you an opportunity to actively seek out potential customers, either in the aisles, at seminars, in the restrooms (yes, I have seen it and it is not pretty), at lunch or at other booths. Remember, exhibitors do not like to have salespeople visit their booth on their time (since they paid for their booth space and you didn’t). Best approach is to arrive early (just as the show floor opens) or just as the show closes, as it will be less busy then and exhibitors may welcome a conversation during a slow time.

Attending Seminars: Attending seminars is an excellent way to meet prospects and renew old acquaintances. Same strategy applies here—get there early and stay late—as you will often get an opportunity to meet many high caliber prospects. Have your 30-second elevator speech ready and met and mingle.

Celebrity Appearances: You can plan to have a celebrity at your booth or an opportunity to meet the president or CEO of your company (if that is an appealing option). I have seen booths with local professional athletes, sportscasters, painters, wrestlers, actors, cheerleaders, Spuds McKenzie (am I dating myself?), singers, body builders and “celebrities” that I did not recognize at all.

If promoted properly, a celebrity appearance can bring people into your booth, giving you an opportunity to try to qualify them while they wait in line. A typical Hollywood B-list actor can be had for as little as $5,000 and as high as $25,000 or more per day, so it depends on your budget. Although this can bring both exhibitors and attendees into your booth, I believe that anything you can afford to do that get’s people to stop in, and gives you an opportunity to qualify them, is a viable option.

Sponsorship Opportunities: There are many opportunities for sponsorships, such as hosting the show’s prayer meetings, breakfasts, luncheons, golf tournaments, speakers, concerts, beverage carts, panel discussions, Wi-Fi service, etc. Depending on your budget, these can be an expensive option, but it will give you an opportunity to get your name in the directory, on banners, and mentioned several times throughout the show. These events will also allow you to mix and mingle with many of the top companies in your industry, giving you and your firm instant credibility.

Ad Specialties/Promotional Products: As I mentioned in my first section, a well-targeted imprinted promotional product can stop a person who would normally pass by your booth – and keep your company in their minds after the show. It goes back to the billboard question I like to ask my clients: “If you can put your advertising billboard on your customer’s desk (or in their car), how much would you pay to rent that space?” A useful and meaningful advertising specialty with a quality imprint can help keep your brand identity in the prospect’s mind when they are ready to make a decision – without the high cost of “rent”.

Remember what I mentioned in the earlier column about an A-B-C selection of swag—a low-cost gift for non-qualified visitors; a higher priced gift for qualified prospects and customers; an even higher valued gift for members of the media, “A-list” prospects and others. Be sure to keep the higher priced gifts out of eyesight so they only go to those you intend them for.

I also suggest packing your literature with the imprinted gift so that when they are handed the promotional item, they get your sales information, as well. I have sold hundreds of orders of imprinted bags, both plastic and fabric bags (both made of recycled material to avoid these ending up in landfills, of course), so when you hand out the item, not only does your billboard get carried around the entire show floor, but your sales material is placed inside ahead of time—ensuring it gets to that buyer.

Another good idea is to hand out a live tree seedling tree in a tube, with a single sheet sales flyer wrapped around it. When you hand it to the recipient, tell them that you are giving them a live tree seedling, so when they get home, they should immediately take it out of their bag and plant it. What happens is that nobody wants to kill a tree, so instead of waiting for that mythical “rainy day” to go through the stack of collected trade show material, they will get home and reach for the tree seedling—with your sales flyer wrapped around it. It is a low-cost way to ensure your material gets looked at.

Lights, Camera, Action: Nothing makes a booth look bleaker than dark spaces and shadows. Pay for electricity and have bright halogen lights highlighting your booth, as well as calling out special sections. Be sure to keep the lights high, as halogen lights can get very hot – making your booth quite warm. Lighting is one area you do not want to skimp on.

Personnel: As a final suggestion, don’t forget your personnel. They should be armed with a few opening statements (open ended questions) and given a plan on how to stand, how to introduce good prospects, how to move along visitors that are not prospects, etc. I also shipping a case or two of bottled water to your booth so you and your staff can stay hydrated. Rest them and rotate the staff if possible, as breaks as few as 15-minutes can help to rejuvenate a person and make them more upbeat.

Following these ideas can help you make the most of your time on the show floor. In my final segment of this article, I will discuss one of the least used, and most important, of the three areas of trade show marketing—the post-show follow up process.

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Note: To view the other segments of this three part column, visit http://blog.ecomarketingsolutions.com/?cat=65

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Robert Piller, President of Eco Marketing Solutions, has over 25 years of experience in running and implementing green marketing campaigns and is a leader in the recycled promotional products industry, including offering one of the largest selections of reusable and organic tote bags, recycled and biodegradable water bottles, recycled pens and pencils in the country.

His company’s website, EcoMarketingSolutions.com, features over 25,000 eco-friendly promotional items in all price ranges, for any business or organization interested in going green. The site’s handy search tool helps you easily find biodegradable, organic and recycled imprinted promotional items in your price range and time frame.

You can also reach him by email (robert (at) ecomarketingsolutions.com) or comment on his blog postings at GreenSpotBlog.com or below at his Twitter link.

Follow ecomarketing on Twitter

Trade Show Marketing: How to Attract the Best Qualified Leads and Prospects to Your Booth (Part 1 of 3)

September 8th, 2008 No comments

(Part One of a Three Part Series)

One of the biggest hurdles my clients’ face is in proper trade show marketing. A trade show can easily cost from $10,000 for a basic 10 foot by 10 foot booth, with one or two people manning it, to $100,000 or more for larger booths with a full staff, state of the art booth, graphics, drayage, hotels, meals, taxis, etc.

Why spend that much money and not focus some time and energy on maximizing your return on investment? Often trade show planning and marketing falls to someone who is given conflicting goals and objectives (or no objectives at all) and that person is often without a dedicated staff, budget and little management input.

Without clear objectives, you cannot measure the success of a trade show, other an ambiguous overall grade. Are you looking to increase sales? To brand your name in the marketplace? To secure appointments for your sales team? To connect with present accounts? To meet with members of the press?

After you decide on the overall goal, break it down into a quantifiable amount, such as opening up 20 new accounts with projected first year sales of $100,000 each; securing 25 product demonstrations within the next 60 days, etc.

As a veteran of well over 300 trade shows over the past 20 years where I have been an exhibitor, and over 1,500 others where I have worked with my clients to maximize their trade show exhibiting dollars, I have practically seen it all—the good, the bad, the lame and the ugly when it comes to trade show marketing.

I have exhibited and worked some of the nation’s largest shows (National Restaurant Show, International Housewares Show, National Association of Convenience Store, New York Gift Show and the National Hardware Show, to name a few), as well many small regional, state, and city Chamber of Commerce shows, and I can attest to the importance of pre-show/at-show and post-show activities, and would like to break these down in a few simple steps.

In this column, I will be talking about the importance of Pre-Show trade show activities. In following columns, I will address At-Show and Post-Show activities and strategies.

Pre-Show Activity

There are several options in promoting your appearance at a trade show, and I have broken down a few of the most popular, in no particular order of importance.

Big Smile Approach—You can just show up, smile a lot and hope attendees walk by your booth and stop in. Your signage and name may bring them in, but remember, attendees are busy, often in a hurry and may have their head turned in the opposite direction of your booth – and miss you completely. Plus, try as they might, not everyone walks down every aisle, they may be on their cell phone or talking to an associate as they pass by – or may see your booth, give you a head nod, and keep walking by.

Many of my fellow exhibitors use this approach with mixed results. To pull it off, you will need some aggressive sales people to stop people in the aisles. A well-planned question or a give-away can help stop them in their tracks, but don’t try the “How are you doing?” or “Nice Day, huh?” approaches. Your question should be thought-provoking and open-ended, such as” Do you want to see the latest product that can improve your email click-through rate by 12%?”. The question should be designed to appeal to the right demographic.

Lucky Winner Approach: Have a drawing or contest at the booth: I have seen spin-the-wheel for savings or treasure chest hunts, where people try their key in a treasure chest lock to try to open the chest and win a prize. Anything you can to do to create movement and activity at your booth can work. The key is to find a quick way to move the unqualified people out of the booth quickly and keep the better qualified prospects in your booth for a longer period of time.

People like booths that are crowded and have people in it, so as not to miss out on the product that everybody else is looking at. It’s an interesting psychological study on human nature and the fear of missing out on something good.

Pre-Show Marketing: I would consider pre-show email, pre-show mailings, pre-show telephone calls and trade show directory advertising as pre-show advertising.

You can invite prospects into your booth to receive a free gift, special show pricing or terms and to introduce them to your new products or services. I have had success with all four of these activities, with varying degrees of success. If you can secure appointments ahead of time with your present customers and prospects, that can help to ensure a successful show.

I like a combination of email and a postcard or letter, just in case your client or prospect misses one – or forgets to bring their email printout.

The offer a quality imprinted premium for stopping by and visiting can also be successful. These days, many people are looking towards eco-friendly promotional items. I have heard the word tschotchkes being thrown around in certain circles, but when done right, a free premium or gift can get people to stop by. Some people call it swag. In fact, at Hollywood award shows, they entice celebrities to be announcers not with cash, but with a bag of goodies they call “swag”.

I have sent oil executives pre-show postcard mailings picturing the free item just for stopping by, with a redemption rate of over 18%. If it is unique, limited, and, especially a quality item, people will come by and visit your booth. People love free goods, and in a trade show environment, many are actively looking for free gifts, regardless of their professional title, salary or way they dress.

Like anything thing else, it is choosing the right item for the right demographics. At electronics and high tech shows, a free quality water bottle, MP3 download card or imprinted USB stick can be enticing. In an eco-friendly environment, it can be a free live tree seedling a tube, a garden kit or a Frisbee made from recycled plastic.

Do your research and get a fun and useful gift. You can use our free service at www.ecomarketingsolutions.com that allows you to view over 500,000 imprinted promotional items, which you can sort by keyword or price range. In fact, I often suggest having three groups of gifts — one for good prospects, one for top prospects and one to get non-qualified people to leave your booth with a smile. Keep you two top levels out of the public’s eye, and award them discreetly and with pride.

Trade shows can be your most cost-effective method of attracting and meeting with top prospects and renewing ties with present customers. They can also be a huge money-loser when not done correctly. Pre-show marketing can help guarantee you the success you and your company deserve. You owe it to yourself, and to the rest of your team and employees to maximize the show’s effectiveness.

Here’s to a successful trade show.

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Note: To view the other segments of this three part column, visit http://blog.ecomarketingsolutions.com/?cat=65

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Robert Piller, President of Eco Marketing Solutions, has over 25 years of experience in running and implementing green marketing campaigns and is a leader in the recycled promotional products industry, including offering one of the largest selections of reusable and organic tote bags, recycled and biodegradable water bottles, recycled pens and pencils in the country.

His company’s website, EcoMarketingSolutions.com, features over 25,000 eco-friendly promotional items in all price ranges, for any business or organization interested in going green. The site’s handy search tool helps you easily find biodegradable, organic and recycled imprinted promotional items in your price range and time frame.

You can also reach him by email (robert (at) ecomarketingsolutions.com) or comment on his blog postings at GreenSpotBlog.com or below at his Twitter link.

Follow ecomarketing on Twitter

Are Americans Willing to Pay More for Environmentally-Friendly Products?

August 4th, 2008 1 comment

In my discussions over the years with clients, one question seems to pop up more than any other: Are Americans willing to pay more for environmentally-friendly products?

For the segment of the population that is most affluent, most educated and most eco-conscious, the answer has always been – yes.

Now, a survey conducted by GfK Roper Public Affairs & Media and the Yale School of Forestry & Environmental Studies, shows that an ever increasing number of Americans are willing to pay more for environmentally friendly products.

“Many American consumers, even in the face of economic uncertainty, express a willingness to pay more for environmentally friendly products,” said Anthony Leiserowitz, director of Yale Project on Climate Change.

Half of the respondents to the survey said they would “definitely” or “probably” pay 15% more for eco-friendly clothes detergent (51%) or for an automobile (50%). Forty percent said they would spend 15% more on “green” computer printer paper and 39 percent would do the same for “green” wood furniture.

What has been most surprising in this study is the fact that Americans who said their current financial situation is “fair” or “poor” were just as willing to spend 15% more on such environmentally-friendly products as detergent or wood furniture as those Americans more confident of their current financial situation.

As the green movement continues to grow, this survey should make it clear to industries across the board that green products will continue to increase in demand. Whether you are a manufacturer, small family business or service provider, it is important to increase the development or repackaging of your products as environmentally friendly.

As green becomes the norm, and probably the cost of entry for most products within the next 3 to 5 years, those firms that get a jump start on their competitors will have the best chance of capitalizing on this premium price differentiation. After that time frame, the green premium will most likely disappear and companies will have to look for the next marketing edge.

In the meantime, go green. It makes economic sense.

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Robert Piller is President of EcoMarketing Solutions LLC, a company that helps businesses promote themselves to their customers and prospects using environmentally-friendly promotional products that won’t end up in a landfill. He is a guest speaker and writer on issues pertaining to green marketing. He can be reached at robert@ecomarketingsolutions.com.