Business operations have a huge environmental impact worldwide, but until recently, very few companies took into account—let alone reported on—how the planet was being affected. As our society has become increasingly more aware of the global conservation issues and knowledgeable about the preventative measures that both individuals and businesses can take, the demand for eco-friendly businesses has increased dramatically. In fact, today’s consumers are actively seeking out more sustainable products and/or services, and investors are evaluating companies’ environmental, social and governance (ESG) efforts before making financial decisions.
For this reason, business marketing strategies need to shift as well. Sustainable marketing—or the promotion of socially responsible products, practices and services—must be part of your overarching marketing plan. One way to confirm your sustainable marketing plan is by checking the boxes is to ensure you are focusing on the triple bottom line of profit, people and planet.
Whether your business is looking to improve its sustainability efforts or just starting to implement green practices, here are three reasons to incorporate sustainability into your marketing strategy:
1. Attracting the Right Audience for Your Brand
In order to continually bring in prospective customers and meet existing customers’ expectations, companies must adjust their marketing tactics to align with the latest trends. For this reason, adding sustainable practices to your marketing strategy will not only attract new customers to your business, but retain existing customers and build their brand loyalty and engagement over the long run.
Regardless of the industry, businesses are eager to attract the younger generations, such as Millennials and Gen Zs, that are gaining massive purchasing power. Generally, people in this age group are huge advocates for sustainability and want to support businesses that share similar values aligned with creating a safer, cleaner planet. These efforts must be promoted through marketing campaigns to win over more customers and ultimately improve brand awareness.
If you’re concerned that sustainability will cost more, don’t fret – 70% of Millennials are willing to pay more for brands that support a cause they care about. Plus, most companies actually see profit increases from making the switch to greener alternatives. By locking in a younger target audience, businesses are setting themselves up for long-term customer relationships—which will lead to greater brand loyalty, and ultimately, more customer demand.
2. Driving Business Demand & Growth
While going green can help you save lots of money, it can also give your business a competitive edge. Committing to a sustainable marketing strategy forces companies to develop new and innovative products and/or services, or at least make improvements to the processes and materials currently being used. This forces leaders and team members to think outside the box to enhance their existing operations and reduce their negative environmental impacts.
This cycle of constant improvement will drive business demand externally, while simultaneously motivating internal staff. Although products and services are the first thing to come to mind when considering ways to improve a company’s sustainability efforts, don’t forget to review company policies or look for small changes to make in the beginning of this journey, such as switching to LED lights in the office or actively cutting back on energy usage.
This will not only reduce operational expenses, but employees will often feel more engaged and connected to their job when they feel they work for an eco-conscious organization. Don’t forget that employees can be the best brand advocates, so promoting green company policies like remote work options helps companies attract more candidates and maintain top-notch employees.
As part of your sustainable marketing plan, remember to update your website, mission statement and core values with your latest initiatives. As new business leads start flowing in and potential customers are closer to making a purchase, you can bet that the first place they will visit is your company’s website before making a final decision. All of these sustainable marketing efforts will eventually lead to better brand awareness, more sales and business growth for your brand.
3. Making a Positive Impact on the Environment
David Brower, environmentalist and founder of several environmental organizations, said it best: “There is no business on a dead planet.” While making the switch to a more sustainable marketing plan benefits demand, long-term financials, brand image and other business metrics, the most obvious reason to switch to more sustainable tactics is to benefit the world as a whole. So many companies are already making a big difference by reducing carbon emissions, waste, energy and water, switching to renewable resources and sustainable packing, recycling products, and using local and sustainable partners.
It’s expected that environmentally safe businesses will only grow in the coming years, so it’s better to start making changes now. Small adjustments add up over time, especially when corporations, small businesses and individuals are collectively working hard to make a difference and benefit the environment.