Guest Post by Sofia Ribeiro, Founder and co-owner of Kiwano Marketing

Throughout the years, I have encountered many people who wanted to go green, but couldn’t sell the eco approach to the executive team. I believe most managers are simply not aware of what green marketing is, and why it’s better than traditional, non-green marketing.

Understanding What Green Marketing Is

Green or sustainable marketing is a series of marketing and advertising techniques that have a reduced impact on the environment. It allows you to get more value for your money while increasing customer loyalty and creating competitive advantage.

But green marketing is not for everyone. If your goal is to develop a green marketing campaign, you should first look inside your company and assess if a green program is the way to go. Is your organization truly working towards reducing its impact on the environment? If not, then I strongly advise you to choose a different program – consumers are already weary of green washing, and you’d be risking your company’s reputation.

Strive to back up your claims and research what processes your company can improve to reduce its impact on Nature. Some organizations decide to rethink their packaging; others change the type of paper used in the office; many associate with cause-worthy non-profits to convey their message.

The Benefits Of Going Green

– Doing what is right

Green marketing focuses on using resources that are less harmful for the environment, and is associated with fair-trade practices as well. By choosing a marketing technique that is environmentally-friendly and, in the least, as effective as a traditional, non-green marketing one, you’ll be contributing towards cleaner natural resources. And that makes you feel good.

– Creating uniqueness

Preferred by small businesses for its environmental and social responsibility, green marketing campaigns tend to make a lasting impact on the customers who experience it, and increase the brand’s value in people’s minds. Customers recall a brochure that uses a different type of paper, an email explaining why the company is reducing its print materials, or even a news article on how the company is becoming environmentally sustainable.

– Building your competitive advantage

Companies opting for green marketing are targeting a market niche left aside by most organizations out there. According to a recent survey by market researcher Mintel, 12% of the respondents can be identified as True Greens, while 68% can be classified as Light Greens (consumers who buy green sometimes). By going green, you’ll be talking to 80% of the market that is untargeted by your competitors.

– Optimizing your investment

Green marketing focuses on using resources that are less harmful for the environment, and piggybacks on the power of word-of-mouth to spread the word on its campaign. Because of its focus on environmental sustainability, green marketing campaigns are also cheaper when compared to traditional marketing. Companies doing green marketing only use materials they will actually need, and save considerable sums of money through its word-of-mouth component. These companies also tend to look inside and find ways of optimizing their own processes, thus reducing energy spending and garbage produced.

One of the ways of going green in your marketing strategy – and saving some money in the process – is to shift to digital campaigns when possible (and appropriate). Internet marketing produces less carbon emissions, and you can easily find a server that is 100% powered by alternative energies. What is great about this type of marketing is that it’s typically easier to track your campaign’s results, helping you understand where you should concentrate your promotional efforts. Plus, Internet marketing and word-of-mouth campaigns are usually cheaper than traditional marketing techniques, which results in a lower cost per acquisition (CPA).

The Proof: What’s Working

If your boss – or client – is still not sold into green marketing, share with him some successful stories of green marketing campaigns:

– Coca-Cola: the Coca-Cola/NRC Recycling Bin Grant Program

As part of their efforts to eliminate waste and promote recycling, Coca-Cola partnered with the National Recycling Coalition (NRC) to help local communities recycle beverage containers in public events. Grant recipients of the Coca-Cola/NRC Recycling Bin Grant Program received actual recycling bins instead of funding, leveraging Coca-Cola’s buying power. The grant program runs on an annual basis and it’s open to governments, civic organizations, schools, non-profit groups and for-profit companies.

– Nokia: The Take-Back Campaign

Nokia is also doing its share in reducing the waste generated by its products. Nokia’s Take-Back campaign encourages users to give their old, broken, unused cell phones and chargers for recycling at their Nokia Priority dealers.

– Zipcar: The Low-Car Diet Campaign

Zipcar’s Low-Car Diet campaign is back for 2009. For a month, participants across 13 cities will put down their car keys and dust off their bikes and roller skates for a healthier and more eco-friendly way of commuting. Last year, 300 Low-Car Diet participants not only helped cutting traffic congestion, but also walked 85% more, biked 136% more and decreased their miles driven by 71%.

© 2009, Sofia_Ribeiro. All rights reserved. Do not republish.

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Author: Sofia_Ribeiro (13 Articles)

Sofia Ribeiro is the founder and co-owner of Kiwano Marketing, a green marketing services provider dedicated to support small, sustainable businesses. An experienced marketing professional and a green enthusiast, Sofia has an extensive marketing background across both small businesses and large enterprises throughout Europe and North America. Her expertise lays in guerrilla marketing and Internet marketing techniques, paired with a solid experience in copywriting and industry research. Sofia also manages a green marketing blog at