B-to-B: Green is Good
We all understand the sense of urgency to produce and the need to control costs while still meeting deadlines and sales targets. After all, that's business. However, green marketing is a concept that, when implemented effectively, can improve your customer relationships, image in the market and ability to reach the most targeted audience, while helping grow your bottom line.
Green Marketing Matters
While the concept of green marketing is simple in theory - reduce, reuse, recycle - it's critical to examine how to make it happen in a business environment, and that is not quite so clear.
The problem is, business marketers do not agree on exactly what it means to "go green." However, green businesses continue to evolve, and new companies are joining the trend. The green economy is estimated to be valued at more than $209 billion annually and is expected to reach $1 trillion by 2020, according to the LOHAS Journal, which researches and tracks green economic trends. Therefore, it is in the best interest of B-to-B marketers to get on the same page. Green marketing tactics range from using recycled materials for printing and packaging to paperless (online) advertising and marketing.
Yet, the most important issue to address from a purely green marketing perspective is payback. While green tactics can relieve some of it, the financial and economic pressures are still very real. If you implement green practices, which sometimes carry higher initial costs, will the return justify the investment? Or, will you spend more money just so you can say your company is green? There is skepticism among consumers that some companies promote green as nothing more than a sales tactic.
In B-to-B markets, the same perceptions exist, and business decision makers also may question their suppliers' motives. So as B-to-B marketers, we have to be able to prove our actions.
How Targeted Marketing Turns Green
The first, and perhaps most obvious, green marketing step is to use electronic means of communication whenever possible. And it means sending less - that's right, less - information to the marketplace. That's because when you effectively target your market, the response rates (in terms of Web site visits, leads generated and sales conversions) increase in overwhelming proportion to the focus with which you select and filter the target audience.
For example: Your company plans to launch a new product designed specifically for electrical equipment engineers, and your integrated marketing plan includes: direct mail; e-mail; print and online advertising; and custom event seminars, where the product will be demonstrated.