Yes, green marketing is a golden goose. As per Mr. J. Polonsky, green marketing can be defined as, “All activities designed to generate and facilitate any exchange intended to satisfy human needs or wants such that satisfying of these needs and wants occur with minimal detrimental input on the national environment.”
Green marketing involves developing and promoting products and services that satisfy customers want and need for Quality, Performance, Affordable Pricing and Convenience without having a detrimental input on the environment.
Green marketing refers to the process of selling products and/or services based on their environmental benefits. Such a product or service may be environmentally friendly in it or produced and/or packaged in an environmentally friendly way.
The obvious assumption of green marketing is that potential consumers will view a product or service’s “greenness” as a benefit and base their buying decision accordingly. The not-so-obvious assumption of green marketing is that consumers will be willing to pay more for green products than they would for a less-green comparable alternative product – an assumption that, in my opinion, has not been proven conclusively.
While green marketing is growing greatly as increasing numbers of consumers are willing to back their environmental consciousnesses with their dollars, it can be dangerous. The public tends to be skeptical of green claims to begin with and companies can seriously damage their brands and their sales if a green claim is discovered to be false or contradicted by a company’s other products or practices. Presenting a product or service as green when it’s not is called green washing.
According to the American Marketing Association, green marketing is the marketing of products that are presumed to be environmentally safe. Thus green marketing incorporates a broad range of activities, including product modification, changes to the production process, packaging changes, as well as modifying advertising. Yet defining green marketing is not a simple task where several meanings intersect and contradict each other; an example of this will be the existence of varying social, environmental and retail definitions attached to this term. Other similar terms used are Environmental Marketing and Ecological Marketing.
The legal implications of marketing claims call for caution. Misleading or overstated claims can lead to regulatory or civil challenges. In the USA, the Federal Trade Commission provides some guidance on environmental marketing claims.
Three keys to successful green marketing
Show potential customers that you follow green business practices and you could reap more green on your bottom line. Green Marketing isn’t just a catchphrase; it’s a marketing strategy that can help you get more customers and make more money. But only if you do it right.
For green marketing to be effective, you have to do three things; be genuine, educate your customers, and give them the opportunity to participate.
1) Being genuine means that a) that you are actually doing what you claim to be doing in your green marketing campaign and b) that the rest of your business policies are consistent with whatever you are doing that’s environmentally friendly. Both these conditions have to be met for your business to establish the kind of environmental credentials that will allow a green marketing campaign to succeed.
2) Educating your customers isn’t just a matter of letting people know you’re doing whatever you’re doing to protect the environment, but also a matter of letting them know why it matters. Otherwise, for a significant portion of your target market, it’s a case of “So what?” and your green marketing campaign goes nowhere.
3) Giving your customers an opportunity to participate means personalizing the benefits of your environmentally friendly actions, normally through letting the customer take part in positive environmental action.
Evolution of Green Marketing
The green marketing has evolved over a period of time. According to Peattie (2001), the evolution of green marketing has three phases. First phase was termed as “Ecological” green marketing, and during this period all marketing activities were concerned to help environment problems and provide remedies for environmental problems. Second phase was “Environmental” green marketing and the focus shifted on clean technology that involved designing of innovative new products, which take care of pollution and waste issues. Third phase was “Sustainable” green marketing. It came into prominence in the late 1990s and early 2000.
Why Green Marketing?
As resources are limited and human wants are unlimited, it is important for the marketers to utilize the resources efficiently without waste as well as to achieve the organization’s objective. So green marketing is inevitable.
There is growing interest among the consumers all over the world regarding protection of environment. Worldwide evidence indicates people are concerned about the environment and are changing their behavior. As a result of this, green marketing has emerged which speaks for growing market for sustainable and socially responsible products and services.
Benefits of Green Marketing
Companies that develop new and improved products and services with environment inputs in mind give themselves access to new markets, increase their profit sustainability, and enjoy a competitive advantage over the companies which are not concerned for the environment.
Adoption of Green Marketing
There are basically five reasons for which a marketer should go for the adoption of green marketing. They are –
Opportunities or competitive advantage
Corporate social responsibilities (CSR)
Cost or profit issues
Green Marketing Mix
Every company has its own favorite marketing mix. Some have 4 P’s and some have 7 P’s of marketing mix. The 4 P’s of green marketing are that of a conventional marketing but the challenge before marketers is to use 4 P’s in an innovative manner.
The ecological objectives in planning products are to reduce resource consumption and pollution and to increase conservation of scarce resources (Keller man, 1978).
Price is a critical and important factor of green marketing mix. Most consumers will only be prepared to pay additional value if there is a perception of extra product value. This value may be improved performance, function, design, visual appeal, or taste. Green marketing should take all these facts into consideration while charging a premium price.
There are three types of green advertising: –
ü Ads that address a relationship between a product/service and the biophysical environment
ü Those that promote a green lifestyle by highlighting a product or service
ü Ads that present a corporate image of environmental responsibility
The choice of where and when to make a product available will have significant impact on the customers. Very few customers will go out of their way to buy green products.
The marketing strategies for green marketing include: –
Marketing Audit (including internal and external situation analysis)
Develop a marketing plan outlining strategies with regard to 4 P’s
Implement marketing strategies
Plan results evaluation
ü Green products require renewable and recyclable material, which is costly
ü Requires a technology, which requires huge investment in R & D
ü Water treatment technology, which is too costly
ü Majority of the people are not aware of green products and their uses
ü Majority of the consumers are not willing to pay a premium for green products
ü McDonald’s restaurant’s napkins, bags are made of recycled paper.
ü Coca-Cola pumped syrup directly from tank instead of plastic which saved 68 million pound/year.
ü Badarpur Thermal Power station of NTPC in Delhi is devising ways to utilize coal-ash that has been a major source of air and water pollution.
ü Barauni refinery of IOC is taken steps for restricting air and water pollutants.
Green marketing should not neglect the economic aspect of marketing. Marketers need to understand the implications of green marketing. If you think customers are not concerned about environmental issues or will not pay a premium for products that are more eco-responsible, think again. You must find an opportunity to enhance you product’s performance and strengthen your customer’s loyalty and command a higher price. Green marketing is still in its infancy and a lot of research is to be done on green marketing to fully explore its potential.