The American Marketing Association defines green marketing as “the marketing of products that are assumed to be environmentally safe.”
While this definition of green marketing is short and sweet, it actually hints at one of the biggest obstacles manufacturers first faced when marketing green products in the early days more than 30 years ago: The consumer, whether corporate or individual, could never really be sure that the products they were selecting were truly green. In fact, there was no definition of what a truly green product even was.
Today, thankfully, we have respected organizations with established criteria and standards that must be met by scores of products used for many different purposes in order to be designated as green.
Additionally, over the years, green products have become both less expensive and more effective, both of which were also issues with some early environmentally preferable products. Today, green products are well accepted by consumers; in fact, for large numbers of the population, there is a real belief that selecting products that help protect the environment is no longer a choice, but a necessity.
From their humble and difficult beginnings, green marketing and green products have grown significantly. Along with this growth has come entirely new language.
For instance, the following words and phrases were either not invented or rarely heard 30 years ago:
- Going green
- Environmentally safe
- Environmental protection
- Sustainable lifestyle
- Sustainable development
- Protecting our Earth
Today, however, these terms are commonplace. In fact, few companies would consider introducing a new product that does not have at least some, if not many, green attributes—from using less energy, water, or other resources, to being made from recycled products, to being totally recyclable. Modern consumers want to identify with green products, to view themselves as green stewards, doing their part to protect our environment for today and for the future. This makes green marketing a powerful tool that is likely to become even more persuasive in the years to come.
Robert “Buzz” Kravitz is president of AlturaSolutions, which works extensively with B2B industries such as the professional cleaning, foodservice, hotel, hospitality, and Green-related manufacturers and organizations. Contact him at www.alturasolutions.com