Sunday, August 8, 2010

Green Marketing


According to the American Marketing Association, green marketing is the marketing of products that are presumed to be environmentally safe. Thus green marketing incorporates a broad range of activities, including product modification, changes to the production process, packaging changes, as well as modifying advertising. Other similar terms used are Environmental Marketing and Ecological Marketing.

                The obvious assumption of green marketing is that potential consumers will view a product or service's  "greenness"    as a benefit and base their buying decision accordingly. The not-so-obvious assumption of green   marketing is  that consumers will be willing to pay more for green products than they would for a less-green comparable alternative product - an assumption that, in my opinion, has not been proven conclusively.While green marketing is growing greatly as increasing numbers of consumers are willing to back their environmental consciousness with their dollars, it can be dangerous. The public tends to be skeptical of green claims to begin with and companies can seriously damage their brands and their sales if a green claim is discovered to be false or contradicted by a company's other products or practices. Presenting a product or service as green when it's not is called green washing.


The green marketing has evolved over a period of time. According to Peattie (2001), the evolution of green marketing has three phases. First phase was termed as "Ecological" green marketing, and during this period all marketing activities were concerned to help environment problems and provide remedies for environmental problems. Second phase was "Environmental" green marketing and the focus shifted on clean technology that involved designing of innovative new products, which take care of pollution and waste issues. Third phase was "Sustainable" green marketing. It came into prominence in the late 1990s and early 2000.


For green marketing to be effective, you have to do three things; be genuine, educate your customers, and give them the opportunity to participate.

1) Being genuine means that

a) that you are actually doing what you claim to be doing in your green marketing campaign and
b) that the rest of your business policies are consistent with whatever you are doing that's environmentally friendly. Both these conditions have to be met for your business to establish the kind of environmental credentials that will allow a green marketing campaign to succeed.

2) Educating your customers isn't just a matter of letting people know you're doing whatever you're doing to protect the environment, but also a matter of letting them know why it matters. Otherwise, for a significant portion of your target market, it's a case of "So what?" and your green marketing campaign goes nowhere.
3) Giving your customers an opportunity to participate means personalizing the benefits of your environmentally friendly actions, normally through letting the customer take part in positive environmental action.


Green marketing must satisfy two objectives: improved environmental quality and customer satisfaction. Misjudging either or overemphasizing the former at the expense of the latter can be termed “green marketing myopia.”
In a 1960 Harvard Business Review article, Harvard professor Theodore Levitt introduced the classic concept of “marketing myopia” to characterize businesses’ narrow vision on product features rather than consumer benefits. The consequence is that businesses focus on making better mousetraps rather than seeking better alternatives for controlling pests. To avoid marketing myopia, businesses must engage in “creative destruction,” described by economist Joseph Schumpeter as destroying existing products, production methods, market structures and consumption patterns, and replacing them with ways that better meet ever-changing consumer desires. The dynamic pattern in which innovative upstart companies unseat established corporations and industries by capitalizing on new and improved innovations is illustrated by history. That is, the destruction of Coal Age technologies by Oil Age innovations, which are being destroyed by Information Age advances and the emerging Age of Cleantech— clean, energy-and resource-efficient energy technologies, such as those involving low/zero-emissions, wind, solar, biomass, hydrogen, recycling, and closed-loop processes.


Marketing literature on greening products/ firms builds on both the societal and social marketing research. Societal marketing implies that organizations (governments, businesses and nonprofits) need to determine the needs of target markets and to deliver the desired satisfactions in a way that enhances the consumer’s and the society’s well-being. Social marketing focuses on designing and implementing programs that increase the acceptability of a social idea, cause, or practice in (a) target group(s).

            Traditionally, marketers focus on individual needs for designing/marketing products to best serve these needs. This approach is predicated on two assumptions. First, individuals are motivated by the promise that products will satisfy their needs at outlays acceptable to them. Second, individual actions do not have significant externalities (the divergence between public and private costs/benefits), positive or negative. The presence of externalities often instigates actions from the nonmarket environment, mainly in the form of governmental regulations.
         Unlike traditional marketers, social and societal marketers seek to persuade consumers to alter their behaviors that have significant externalities. However, these behavioral modifications may not directly/sufficiently benefit consumers or the benefits may also be not includable.


The marketing of successfully established green products showcases nongreen consumer value, and there are at least five desirable benefits commonly associated with green products:
  • Efficiency and cost effectiveness
  •  Health and safety performance
  • Performance
  •  Symbolism and status
  • Convenience

Every company has its own favorite marketing mix. Some have 4 P's and some have 7 P's of marketing mix. The 4 P's of green marketing are that of a conventional marketing but the challenge before marketers is to use 4 P's in an innovative manner.


The ecological objectives in planning products are to reduce resource consumption and pollution and to increase conservation of scarce resources (Keller man, 1978).


Price is a critical and important factor of green marketing mix. Most consumers will only be prepared to pay additional value if there is a perception of extra product value. This value may be improved performance, function, design, visual appeal, or taste. Green marketing should take all these facts into consideration while charging a premium price.


There are three types of green advertising:
 Ads that address a relationship between a product/service and the biophysical environment.
 This promote a green lifestyle by highlighting a product or service
 Ads that present a corporate image of environmental responsibility


The choice of where and when to make a product available will have significant impact on the customers. Very few customers will go out of their way to buy green products.

Challenges Ahead

 Green products require renewable and recyclable material, which is costly
 Requires a technology, which requires huge investment in R & D
 Water treatment technology, which is too costly
 Majority of the people are not aware of green products and their uses
 Majority of the consumers are not willing to pay a premium for green products


Green Technology can create wonders in the world. It’s the duty of every person in the world to maintain the greenness of the world as such. Buying green market products to repair current systems is not only very cost effective, but is more environmentally responsible than continually replacing systems with new equipment. So let us put our hands and efforts together for a green world.

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