6 Ways to Master the Green Message
Green marketing messages are widespread, with environmental claims and certifications now almost commonplace among the many products and services that prospects receive. But are they effective? And if they aren't, why not? Of course, the first question that comes to mind, especially among prospects, is, "Are they true?" But once the greenwashing hurdle is cleared, marketers need to know which claims matter most to prospects. Moreover, they need to know where and how to position them on their marketing efforts.
It's a complicated subject because green marketing remains in its infancy, as prospects are relatively new to truly caring about such things and marketers are new in promoting such values in their products. "Green marketing seems to be more important to younger people, and as they become older, they will expect and demand it in every phase of their lives. So, yes, it will become a more effective marketing message over time," asserts Alan Rosenspan, president of Alan Rosenspan & Associates, a direct marketing creative and consulting firm.
I spoke to a handful of experts like Rosenspan, all of whom try to provide some answers about how to master the green message.
1. Walk the Walk Before the Talk, Then Watch the Talk
Step one is to put those greenwashing fears among prospects to rest. The way to do that, of course, is running legitimate environmental initiatives within your organization that may extend to your marketing efforts. "To make an environmental claim, you have to have clients that are doing at least something to help the environment," says Peggy Greenawalt, president/creative director at direct marketing agency Tomarkin/Greenawalt Inc.
Next, make sure your claims are specific and clear. The Federal Trade Commission has something to say about this in its Guides for the Use of Environmental Marketing Claims. On its Web site, it says, "The Guides recommend that marketers qualify environmental claims that are broad or vague - or avoid them altogether. For example, broad claims like 'environmentally safe' or 'environmentally friendly' should be qualified - or avoided - because they can convey a wide range of meanings to consumers that may be difficult to substantiate."