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Which Strategy is Better: Promoting Green Marketing to the Masses- or Growing Your Tribe Slowly?

May 24th, 2013 No comments

Tips on How to Expand Your Green Marketing Campaign to Reach More Customers

increasing sales though green marketing ideas

By Robert Piller

Austin, TX: Growing your base is at the core of every company- green or not.

For green marketing organizations, the big decision is how to best grow your market without alienating your core tribe – while growing at the expense of no-green companies.

The first thing to do for green marketing success is to define your core audience- or your tribe.  

What is their composition – in terms of age, sex, income, geographic area, political and religious affiliations, etc.?

Define them down to the most minute details.

Now picture this “idealized” customer and give him or her a name.

Look in magazines and try to cut out a picture of this idealized person and post it near your computer screen so you are conscious of this person in all of your branding.

If you cannot define your core customer, you will have difficulty with all your marketing strategies.

Next, think about who this ideal group of customers would mix or socialize with in order to spread your message.

Green marketing needs to spread through education and awareness..and tribe to tribe.

How are you helping your core audience spread the message?

What type of events are you hosting that might get these two groups to come together?

These should be both online and off-line events.

Let this next stage develop gradually – until your core gets bigger.

Then, repeat..and repeat..and repeat.

Don’t force your green marketing message on anyone.  

Let them find you..but make it easy for them to find you or your tribe.

Don’t waste your green marketing message on a group that is not yet ready to embrace it or are non-believers in climate change.

They may eventually buy green products if they are mandated or can save them money on energy usage–but its not the target market you will want to focus any significant amount of time or budget on.

Preaching to the audience is not a bad thing– as repetition of message help to reinforce green thinking, help to uncover new facts and new ideas and give you a chance to strategize.

Keep your marketing message targeted and focused.

Remind.

Educate.

Reinforce.

And help spread your green marketing message one customer at a time.

Here’s to a greener tomorrow, today.

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Robert Piller, President of Eco Marketing Solutions, has over 29 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 recycled and reusable water bottles and imprinted coffee mugs, reusable and organic tote bags, recycled pens and pencils in the country. In addition to being a noted writer on issues of social and safety compliance, Robert Piller recently completed his CAS degree and BASI degree — one of the highest honors in the promotional products industry for his years of continuous education and certification. 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.

Eco Marketing Solutions has a strong Code of Conduct as they carefully vet and qualify all their suppliers.

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.

Facebook.com/ecomarketingsolutionsAsk us Your Green Marketing Questions Anytime at  Facebook.com/ecomarketingsolutions and join the conversation.

 


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Green Marketing 101: Watch for Greenwashing

May 31st, 2012 No comments

Do not green wash in your advertsiingAustin, Texas: Greenwashing has become so prevalent in advertising that many people stop believing most of what they read.  This is good news for those marketers that are try to obfuscate the truth or those that tend to exaggerate their claims.

But for true green companies, greenwashing is a problem that must be addressed.

According to Wikipedia, the term Greenwashing (a compound word modelled on “whitewash”), or “green sheen”  is a form of spin in which green PR or green marketing is deceptively used to promote the perception that an organization’s aims and policies are environmentally friendly. Whether it is to increase profits or gain political support, greenwashing may be used to manipulate popular opinion to support otherwise questionable aims.

Take the Hanes That I saw in an industry magazine the other day.

They call this T-shirt EcoSmart and shout “Sustainability at great everyday prices”.  Sounds environmentally-friendly–right?

Unfortunately, below that sustainability claim, they mention that the shirt contains up to 5% polyester from recycled plastic.

Up to 5%!?!?  .0001% is up to 5%. So is 1%. So is 2% ….

If you are going to make a green claim, substantiate it with facts and do not try to mislead.

Even if this shirt contained 5% recycled material, would it really be a green product?

One of the keys to green marketing is substantiating the claims.

Perhaps a link or QR code that takes you to more detailed information or an infographic about the recycling process.

Perhaps a short video of the recycling process.

But definitely a more honest approach then calling a product that has 5% or less of its contents made from recycled material and EcoSmart product.

A few bad apples does ruin it for green marketing and the entire green movement.

It is time to call major advertisers out on it when greenwashing is so blatant.

Let’s put truth back into marketing anfd advertising campaigns so companies can focus on truly becoming more sustainable and green friendly.

Let’s create real green brands and promote true green branding and eco marketing.

Happy promoting!

Here’s to a green tomorrow, today!
Facebook.com/ecomarketingsolutionsAsk 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.

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Green Marketing: Are You a Pretender or are You Serious About Going Green?

November 1st, 2011 No comments

The Value of Recycled Promotional Products

green marketing requires consistent messageAustin, Texas: I got a call this morning from a green marketing consultant wondering whether or not she should spend the extra money getting recycled journal books rather than regular ones, imprinted with her name.

The price difference was nominal– maybe 25 cents on a $4 imprinted journal book.  

I was shocked, speechless for a few seconds.  Then I started to laugh.

If you are a company that is serious about green marketing, your thinking has to be focused 100% on green.

  • No dithering.
  • No “sometimes”.
  • No “maybe”.
  • No “only if I get a great deal”, etc.

If you do not show a genuine commitment to eco marketing, then you are, at best, not serious about the environment– and, at worst, a fraud or hypocrite.

Going green is not a part-time cause.

It is a way of thinking – a way of acting.

It is a change in your behavior, activities and a change in the way you look at the world.

Going green should be a trigger to change how you do many of the everyday tasks in life–from driving, to shopping, eating, switching to energy efficient lightbulbs and appliances, etc.

If you are to consider yourself a green organization, you need to live green.

  • Act green.
  • Think green.
  • Read about green.
  • Write about green.
  • Preach green.
  • Vote green.
  • Editorialize about green.
  • Be green.

If not, do not even think about using the words “eco”, “green” or “environmental” anywhere in your name, in your logo – on your mission statement, your website, etc.

We don’t need green wash. We don’t need subterfuge.

If you are going to carry the green banner, let’s take a more serious view of our commitment to the environment and to social causes.

Let’s make a difference.

Here’s to a greener tomorrow, today.
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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.

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Best Way to Improve Green Marketing, Sales and Branding Is With Outreach

July 13th, 2011 No comments
Best way to improve green branding is through green outreach programs

Outreach: The Best Form of Marketing & Branding for a Green Company

Austin, Texas: I was asked at a panel discussion recently what would be the one best way for a green marketer to increase sales.  I immediately responded with OUTREACH.

After some discussion and debate, I came to the conclusion that I had given the right answer.

Sure, everybody wants to increase sales, so they start planning creative strategies.

Focus groups.

Visits with ad agency and or marketing departments.

New product features–gotta have them.

New ad campaign–a must to justify this campaign.

Sleeker packaging–why not?

The list goes on–products, features, benefits, etc.

All these are fine.  But so what?

Why should customers care?

The base for green products is not growing at the same rapid pace it has for the past decade.  The greenies are all on board, as I had mentioned in a previous post.

But what about the rest of the population?

If you are not doing outreach programs to promote green causes and the benefits of going green, you will not expand your market share. In fact, if every company in your field promoted a green product to the same base, your market share will dry up quickly, as competition for that segment will increase.

Set aside a good amount of your green marketing and advertising budget–and spend it on creating awareness for environmental issues:

  • recycling
  • reuse of products
  • carbon footprint
  • cap and trade
  • sustainability
  • alternative energy
  • pollution reduction

Your products and services should only be mentioned in passing — or as an afterthought.

Outreach should be done to create passion.

To build the base.

To inspire social change.

Can it be political?  Sure.  Will it create some negative impact among non-greenies? Possibly, so tread carefully.  But if you are truly a green company, the positive will surely outweigh the negative.  And, if you are truly green, those that are most offended are probably not going to be your ultimate target market any way.

At your next show, will you be touting product benefits–or building the base through outreach?

Outreach first.  Sales will follow.

That is the best way to increase green product sales over the next decade–and beyond.

Let’s Make Every Day Earth Day

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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.

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eBay Making It Cool to Reuse Shipping Boxes

September 20th, 2010 No comments

reuse corrugated boxesKudos to eBay for introducing its shipper box that is supposed to be reused, sent from eBay seller to buyers, and then sent further along, until the end of its useful life.

Made of 100% FSC-certified and recycled material, it is designed to use minimal tape and to be able to withstand multiple use.

Hopefully these stylish bozes will become a status symbol for eBay members, and help to encourage reusing of boxes to other industries, especially any company in the mail order business. Perhaps Amazon, Dell, Lands’ End, Apple and other large-volume shippers will create their own boxes to encourage reuse, rather than recycling.

“Our company been reusing boxes since 1986,and have heard favorable feedback from our customers”, says Robert Piller, President of Eco Marketing Solutions. He continues. “Several companes have a kraft-colored spray paint that can be used to mask over old labels and scuff marks– rendering these reused boxes as good as new”.

For companies that are going green or are looking to reduce their carbon footprint, small changes like reusing boxes and other shipping supplies, go a long way and show your clients that you are “walking the walk”. Perhaps companies can include a decal or insert sheet (both made of recycled material) ecplaining why reused boxes are being sent out – and to encourage the recipients to do the same. Think of the number of trees that can be saved if every company made it their goal to reuse their shipping boxes at least one time.

Remember, going green is a state of mind– and small changes can begin at the top, as well as in the shipping department.

Help make Every Day Earth Day.
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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 any business or organization 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.

Too Many Green Labeling Choices Means Greater Confusion for Consumers

September 8th, 2010 No comments

Simplify green certificationIt has been reported that ULC Standards has acquired TerraChoice, the managers of Canada’s EcoLogo program.  This consolidation might make it easier for consumers to differentiate between green claims—so as to compare apples to apples.

Currently, the EcoLogo program covers more than 7,000 products in 80 categories—with 70 different standards.

Simplicity is the key to any certification and for ease of understanding.  Until we get to just a handful of green certifications and labels, manufacturers will continue their greenwashing claims and obfuscate their actual compliance to green initiatives.

An educated consumer is the greatest weapon against false claims, but too many labels will make the entire process into a joke.  How about a grading system- A through F—like used in most schools.  You can add a plus or minus beside the grade to help draw more attention to detail, if so desired. But it would be a simple system that would work for most comparisons.

Here’s to simplicity.. and a greener tomorrow, today.

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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 any business or organization 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.

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FTC to Offer Tighter Guidelines on Green Marketing

August 24th, 2010 No comments

FTC to help prevent greenwashing with new guidelinesAccording to an article in Advertising Age, the Federal Trade Commission is planning to introduce a  new set of so-called Green Guides that are used by the FTC to guide enforcement of existing laws. They are the first environmental-marketing guidelines in 12 years and could radically reshape how far marketers can go in painting their products, packaging or even corporate images green.

These guidelines should help to clarify terms that are used by many manufacturers and retailers to promote sustainability.

Currently there are nearly 300 different Green Seals of Approvals used to grade a products “level of eco-friendliness”, and these guidelines will help to clarify these terms and definitions for consumers once and for all.

This can help to render much of today’s green washing claims obsolete.   However, as with any new rules and guidelines, it is important that the American consumer learns to read the labels and to understand these labels.  However, after a recent trip down the candy, cookie, soft drink and cereal aisles of my local grocery store last week proved, just because labels are out there, doesn’t mean anybody will be reading them or paying attention to them.  Sugar, fructose, corn syrup and other sweeteners are still high on the ingredient list of many of these products, and they are still selling quite well.

Let’s hope the public takes the time to learn these new guidelines — and supports those companies that are helping to make a difference to make the planet greener.

Let’s make every day, Earth Day.

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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 any business or organization 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.

Starbucks’ Awards Winner of Contest for Reducing Paper Waste and Consumption

August 16th, 2010 No comments

EcoMarketingSolutions.com offers hundreds of custom printed biodegradable coffee cups The winner of a competition sponsored by Starbucks to gather ideas for reducing non-recyclable paper cup use isn’t even a cup at all, but a concept for encouraging customers to bring their own cups for possible free drinks.

The top four winners of their contest are all excellent ideas to reduce paper consumption, but only one was a reusable or biodegradable cup.

“We’re very interested in looking at the winning ideas and many of the other submitted ideas as we develop new solutions to reduce cup waste,” said Elise Chisholm, Starbucks spokesperson. “We haven’t yet had a chance to determine specific action plans. Increasing adoption of reusable cups – including travel tumblers and our own ceramic serveware – is definitely an important part of the equation for us.”

The Betacup competition offered a total of $20,000 for ideas that could eliminate paper cup consumption. Starbucks sponsored it as part of its efforts to only offer reusable or recyclable cups by 2015.

The winning idea was the Karma Cup, a simple concept for putting a chalkboard by the register at a coffee shop, having customers that use reusable cups make a mark on the board, and then giving a free coffee to every 10th customer that uses a reusable. This is a fun and creative idea – but be sure to move back toward the end of the line once you see the 10th person get their reward.

The three honorable mentions were: Read more…

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New Eco Index Developed by Outdoor Industry Association

August 9th, 2010 No comments

Eco Index will help establish new green metrics for manufacturersAs companies are becoming more green, the next phase is trying to quantify exactly how much energy is being used in the processing, manufacturing and distribution of their products.

A new tool developed by the outdoor gear industry hopes to simplify the comparisons of “eco-friendliness” and to help companies understand what goes into their products and then improve any stage, from sourcing raw materials to recycling clothing.

The Eco Index, a project of the Outdoor Industry Association’s (OIA) Eco Working Group, is being launched this week at the Outdoor Retailer trade show for beta testing is intended for a range of products, from clothes to backpacks to camp stoves.

“It helps you identify the holes in the sustainability of your product and the impact your product is having,” said Beth Jensen, OIA’s corporate responsibility manager.

According to GreenBiz.com, the version of the Eco Index being released isn’t complete, but the OIA wanted to get a version out and in use so it can gather feedback and tweak it if necessary as it finishes up the rest of the Eco Index.

From Guidelines to Facts and Figures

The Eco Index, a web-based tool, has three levels, Jensen said, which are guidelines, indicators and metrics. The guidelines are just what they sound like, guidelines for how companies can be more conscious and sustainable when making products. Read more…

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Proven Strategies for Gaining More Green Customers

July 27th, 2010 No comments

Tips for Attracting More Green BuyersAmerican citizens are becoming more worried with the environment. The growth in this number is evident in the 1.4 million members and supporters of the most popular and oldest non-profit green organization, Sierra Club. With greater number of people making their residences more energy efficient, driving cars which are consume less fuel, recycling waste materials and purchasing environment friendly products, this trend has led to a substantial increase in the number of self-sufficient companies on Main Street selling to green consumers.

Small businesses selling green products have become a growing business community. At the same time businesses dealing in general products are increasing the percentage of green products they are offering.

Robert Piller, President of Eco Marketing Solutions, says his company, which produces custom printed eco-friendly products for retail, has seen a record number of retailers increasing their product mix to include green products. He states, “Last year, we had many retailers, both small and independent accounts, as well as major national chains, begin to increase the number of recycled and biodegradable items in their product mix and planograms. From recycled tote bags to biodegradable and reusable drinkware—insulated tumblers, stainless steel bottles and ceramic mugs, we saw a 36% increase in same store sales to these accounts.”

The following information is designed to enable local companies to recognize green opportunities and to better market to the green consumer.

How to Identify the Green Consumer?

While the truth remains that all green consumers are not the same, knowledge of a few of traits they have in common will enable businesses to make a more careful study of the market for eco-friendly products and services.
Read more…

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