At Blue and Green Tomorrow, we have the upmost respect for companies that are committed to sustainability. Sadly, we find that many of them fail due to unrealistic goals.
Many companies believe that being sustainable is enough to stand out in the market. Unfortunately, the hard truth is that green businesses often have a hard time being profitable. Even a 2017 report in Harvard Business Review discussed this harsh reality.
In today’s world, businesses that prioritize sustainability and eco-friendly practices need to have effective marketing strategies to stand out in the market. With a good marketing strategy, eco-friendly businesses can successfully communicate their values and goals and build trust with their customers. A well-crafted marketing strategy will help them reach new customers, increase sales, and create a positive brand image. Moreover, it will also help them make an impact on the environment by creating awareness about their eco-friendly products or services.
How to Develop a Good Green Marketing Strategy
A well-coordinated green marketing campaign generates product or service awareness in a specific target market. Ideally, the campaign also entices consumers to purchase the product or service.
To set the stage for a successful outcome, a company must thoroughly understand its audience’s needs and buying motivations. As a green business, you will obviously need to emphasize the fact that your product is eco-friendly, since customers want to buy products that are good for the planet. However, you need to talk about other selling points as well.
Next, the business must develop a green marketing strategy that reaches its intended market. Equally importantly, the company must launch its marketing campaign on its customers’ preferred media and communication channels. Failure to do that will decrease the campaign’s effectiveness and lead to suboptimal results.
Customers’ Four Primary Needs
The biggest mistake green businesses make is trying to focus entirely on the eco-friendly benefits of their products. Your target customer obviously cares about the planet, but they have other priorities that also need to be addressed.
Customers have four basic needs that they bring to every marketplace interaction. When a business recognizes and meets these needs, the company will foster customer loyalty and present a positive brand image. This often leads to a satisfying customer experience.
Satisfied customers lead to increased sales, as a happy customer will likely do business with the company again. Even better, the customer will recommend the business to their family and friends. The eco-friendly mission of your company will further improve your brand image, but it won’t help if the other factors aren’t met first.
Unfortunately, the opposite is also true. If a company does not respect customers and treat them fairly, the consumer will likely take their business to a competitor. Referral business will also dry up. Over time, the company may lose its standing in the marketplace. Even eco-friendly customers will abandon your company in favor of less eco-friendly options if the quality of your service is poor.
Well-Defined Communication Channels
When customers want to engage with a business, they want a convenient communication channel to interact. Ideally, the brand will use an omnichannel communication strategy. Here, customers can choose from several equally accessible channels. Each channel delivers the same quality customer experience.
Excellent Customer Support Availability
In the 21st century’s digital landscape, customers expect businesses to offer 24/7 customer support. Ideally, the company will staff its call center with live associates knowledgeable about the business’s products or services. Many companies can also be reached via social media, SMS/texting, chatbots, and/or chat apps.
Respect, Friendliness, and Empathy
When customers communicate with a business, they want to be treated with respect. They want to know the company values them and appreciates their business. Customers also want to interact with a friendly customer support agent who brings their humanity into the conversation. Finally, customers want the agent to show empathy for their concerns.
Quick Resolution of the Problem
Time-crunched customers want their problems resolved quickly and efficiently. Whether in a conversation, SMS/texting exchange, or chatbot interaction, the customer wants the business to acknowledge and resolve their concern.
Knowledge of Customer Needs Helps the Brand to Reach Its Target Market
When a business takes time to understand its customers’ needs, it can formulate a more effective marketing campaign to reach its target market. Thorough market research enables the business to fine-tune its approach.
First, the business can design a marketing message that will likely resonate with the audience. This graphics-rich message will likely focus on the business’s product or service. At the same time, the message will emphasize the benefits the customer will receive from using the product or service.
Equally importantly, the business must deliver the message via customers’ preferred communication channels. Digital advertising on popular customer platforms and social media channels should be considered. Other digital venues may be appropriate.
Marketing Campaigns Can Serve Varied Needs
Marketing campaigns don’t have a single well-defined objective. For example, the marketing manager can design a campaign to cultivate a brand image in a competitive marketplace. Brands also use marketing campaigns to spotlight new products or ramp up sales of an existing product.
By defining the marketing campaign’s goal, the campaign manager can choose the marketing scope and the optimal media mix for reaching a specific target market. Companies that operate in highly competitive markets often run regular marketing campaigns to keep the brand “top of mind” among customers.
Mitto: Use an Adaptable Omnichannel Communications Strategy
Switzerland-based Mitto has long championed good business-to-customer (or B2C) communication. Ilja Gorelik, Mitto’s Chief Operating Officer, said effective B2C communication drives good brand experiences.
“A business cannot attract and retain a customer if that customer doesn’t have positive experiences with the brand. Brand loyalty, conversions, evangelism, repeat purchases…none of these actions that enable a brand to grow are possible with unhappy customers.
“For brands today, ensuring they’re ‘getting it right’ with their digital customer communications is vital. It’s more or less the only way the two interact these days,” Ilja Gorelik remarked.
Mitto’s Omnichannel Communications Evolution
Today, Mitto leads the telecommunications industry with its innovative customer engagement technology. Enterprise-level firms and mobile network operators (MNOs) continue embracing Mitto’s value-added methodology.
Ilja Gorelik lays out Mitto’s mission and describes the company’s progression to a recognized omnichannel leader. “At Mitto, we’re on a mission to deliver reliable, high-quality communications between businesses and their customers every time.”
SMS to Omnichannel in 10 Years
Mitto didn’t achieve its omnichannel influencer status overnight. Instead, Ilja Gorelik said omnichannel was a natural evolution of the company’s early A2P SMS messaging offering.
“Our company was founded in 2013 with the specific aim of building a state-of-the-art Application-to-Person (A2P) SMS messaging platform, unrivaled in reliability, that could support the requirements of a new wave of A2P services. As the demand grew for the enablement of omnichannel communications capabilities, we expanded our portfolio beyond SMS.
“[We] now include voice, chatbots, all major chat apps (WhatsApp, Viber, Facebook Messenger, etc.), Google Business Messaging, RCS, myriad CRM and marketing platform integrations and, most recently, pre-built tools for bulk campaigns and conversational support chats…Simply put, we make communication happen,” Ilja Gorelik summarized.
Omnichannel Communications for Marketing Campaigns
Businesses can also adapt this omnichannel approach to their marketing campaigns. Companies can use certain communication channels to deliver targeted marketing messages. Voice communications and social media immediately come to mind. Other channels may also be suitable for campaigns.
Ilja Gorelik acknowledged the challenge of reaching every customer on their preferred channel(s). He emphasized that Mitto has the resources and technology to help businesses accomplish this objective. “There is no single channel to reach every customer, no perfect message, and customers’ expectations for brands are sky high.
“Mitto’s services help brands navigate this complexity. Through its global partnerships with mobile network operators and advanced routing capabilities, Mitto gives brands the flexibility to meet customers wherever they are with the speed and agility they require today.
“Brands need to speak to customers wherever they are ─ be it SMS, chat apps, or other ─ with a single consistent voice. Otherwise, they risk losing them and their revenue. Drawing multiple digital channels seamlessly together will become a foundational element to unify customers’ touch points across all channels,” Ilja Gorelik summarized.
Two Forbes Communications Council Members Share Insights
By learning more about a business’s target audience, the marketing team is better equipped to deliver a successful marketing message. Here, two Forbes Communications Council members share insights on how learning about the audience can help the marketing team to craft the right message.
Gily Netzer: Chief Marketing Officer of Perimeter 81
Gily Netzer oversees marketing and growth for New York City-based Perimeter 81, a global network security services firm. She advises every marketing team to thoroughly understand its audience and be well-versed about the business’ Unique Selling Proposition (or USP).
“There are two things every marketing team needs to understand deeply; otherwise, you miss vital components that will limit your growth. First is having a detailed understanding of your target audience. That includes the market, your ideal customer profile, their pain points, challenges, and emotional drivers. Understanding all these nuances allows you to create the most effective marketing strategy.
“Second, it is imperative to understand exactly what your business offers and how it stands out from your competition. You want to know the features, benefits, and use cases the product solves. It is also important to recognize the strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats to your product to create a holistic understanding of what you’re trying to sell…You tie the two together with a fine-tuned understanding of who exactly you’re selling to,” she emphasized.
Jeff Fleischman: Chief Marketing Officer of Altimetrik
Jeff Fleischman is a C-suite executive at Michigan-based Altimetrik, a digital services growth firm. With a strong focus on customer experiences, he employs an omnichannel marketing strategy that positions clients to get results. He advises brands to delve into the customer journey before deciding how to market to specific audiences.
“Understanding the customer journey is the key to developing an effective marketing plan. Marketers should thoroughly understand the client experience to build a timely and contextual marketing and communications plan. The more personalized you can make the messaging, the more likely you will be to connect with your intended audience,” he concluded.
Green Businesses Must Adapt to Customers’ Changing Needs
Running a green business’ is difficult. You obviously want to reach eco-friendly customers, but you have to emphasize their other concerns with your green marketing strategy.
New technologies, demographic changes, and other variables can factor into the evolution of customers’ needs. Businesses should monitor these needs and adjust their communications and marketing campaign channels accordingly.
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