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The Tao of Green Marketing

by Irv Weinberg, Carolyn Parrs  |  
August 4, 2009
  |  4,917 views

To the Chinese, Tao means "The Way." A recent Google search for the phrase, "Saving the planet one [whatever] at a time" revealed more than 17 million responses, with everything from saving the planet "one flush at a time" to "one hanger at a time" to "one bag, one shower, one burger, one carpet, one idea..." You get the idea.

Obviously, if you want to get your green message heard, responded to, and acted on, saving the planet one "whatever" at a time is not The Way to do it.

The New York Times reported that consumers have begun to suffer from "green fatigue." It's not hard to understand why when you can buy organic gummy bears and free-range beef jerky nestled between the six-packs and the rolling paper in a convenience store.

For your green message to be heard and translated into sales, you have to make your message relevant not only to the fate of the planet but also to the fate of the people living on it.

The question is, How?


The answers to that marketing dilemma, Grasshopper, are as follows.

1. Spell green with three E's

The first "E" is for ecology, which is obvious because that's where the green market was born. Saving the spotted owl, the rain forest, and the whales are all hugely important. But that is just the tip of the melting iceberg. In today's environment, the green message and movement need to be much more to make a difference on a planetary level.


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Irv Weinberg is a principal at Mind Over Markets (www.mindovermarkets.com), a strategic green-marketing communications and business-development company. He blogs at www.greenmarketingblog.com and can be reached at 505-989-4004.Carolyn Parrs is a principal at Mind Over Markets (www.mindovermarkets.com), a strategic green-marketing communications and business-development company. She blogs at www.greenmarketingblog.com and can be reached at 505-989-4004.

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  • by Andrea Learned Tue Aug 4, 2009 via web

    This sage advice reminds me of the wisdom in Katya Andresen's "Robin Hood Marketing" - that you can beat people over the head about the issue YOU want them to take on, or... you can figure out how to get their attention via THEIR values, and then show them how you fit in. One example (very much paraphrased from Andresen's book): you can tell teens how smoking is bad for them and they'll die young to try to get them to quit, but they could care less. Pitch them on how they'll stick it to "the big corporate man" by not buying into smoking and, voila - you've sold them by way of their values. Reaching the green consumer is not about how great your brand is for being "green" and why can't the world see that and come running - it's about how consumers are intrigued by becoming more green and you can be right there to help them along that path.

  • by Dorothy Harr Wed Aug 5, 2009 via web

    Sorry, but with the economy as it is, families are just not willing to pay a higher price for "green products." The Light Greens will be a growing segment as the economy continues to shed jobs (and frankly I doubt the 19% stat...I think it is higher - consumers always say they are more green than they really are in surveys). People want clean air and want to help the environment, but consuming green goes out the window if you are afraid of losing your job. You have to acknowledge that in your marketing. Prices are important to how green a consumer is willing to go.

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