“Green” is becoming increasingly mainstream among marketers, but is that merely a passing fad in response to customer demands?
The answer may surprise you. A new market study from Environmental Leader and MediaBuyerPlanner suggests that companies are engaging in green marketing because it’s valuable and often more effective than traditional marketing strategies.
The study, “Green Marketing: What Works; What Doesn’t,” includes several intriguing key findings, including:
- 33 percent of respondents said green marketing was more effective than their normal marketing efforts. Only 7 percent said it was less effective. The remaining 60 percent said either they did not detect a difference between their regular marketing efforts and their green efforts, or they did not know which
- Most marketers in the study (80 percent) said they expect to spend more on green marketing in the future. In addition, nearly half of respondents said the decision-makers at their companies hold green marketing in high regard. 15 percent said decision-makers hold it in low regard.
- Interestingly, smaller firms spend more on green marketing than larger firms do. Companies with marketing budgets of under $250,000 spend about 26 percent on green marketing, while those with budgets of more than $50 million spend 6 percent on green marketing
- Companies in the poll said that the internet is the most popular medium for green marketing. Among survey respondents, 74.2 percent have spent money online. The next most popular media outlets were: print (49.8 percent), direct mail (40 percent), outdoor (7 percent), radio and TV (7 percent) and mobile (6 percent).
- Many firms find it difficult to track their marketing efforts. One of the most traceable methods is direct marketing, and among companies that used direct marketing in their media mix, 48 percent said that it was more or much more effective.
- It was encouraging to see that about half of the companies in the survey reported that they are taking steps to reduce their environmental impact. The most popular actions cited were conserving energy in operations (59 percent) and changing products’ ingredients, packaging, and/or intended use to reflect greener values (54 percent).
While this study offers some valuable insights about how marketers perceive green marketing strategies, I was hoping to see a few questions that directly addressed the issue of greenwashing.
After all, learning that 80 percent of the marketers in the study expect to spend more on green marketing in the future gives me pause. Are these marketers working for companies that are actually accomplishing sustainability goals and reducing their environmental impact, or are they merely increasing green marketing spend because these days – in a marketplace that lacks a single, unifying environmental label –even ambiguous or dubious claims seem to work?