In the world of business, new marketing techniques continue to surface. Some end up being game-changers, while others become less important in the business industry.
As a business owner/investor, you should always find the means to connect with your clients and customers differently. Apply great techniques that tell your buyers that they are essential to your business.
Remember that in business, it’s all about staying connected to the market and identifying differentiators from your competitors. Using a method like sustainable marketing is an excellent way to prove your dedicated efforts to our society (if/once you do practice sustainability in your business).
What is Sustainable Marketing?
“The concept of sustainable marketing holds that an organization should meet the needs of its present consumers without compromising the ability of future generations to fulfill their own needs.” – Philip Kotler
Investors are finding ways to lead consumers through the market journey to the point of sale without ruining the relationship between the brands and potential customers. Because ethics plays a crucial role in sustainability, every entrepreneur should build marketing campaigns, putting the consumer, society, and nature into consideration.
The choices everyone makes can affect future generations, and if no one takes action now, the planet will be in ruins. It is everybody’s responsibility to ensure that the future generation will have a reason to live.
Why Does Sustainability Matter?
For starters, statistics show that 63% of consumers prefer buying from purpose-driven brands. Also, 62% of consumers want organizations to stand on cultural, political, environmental, and social issues (Source: Marketing Dive).
As a business person who cares about the community, we have an opportunity to be on the frontline to practice sustainability in all areas. There are 3 pillars of sustainability, informally referred to as people, planet and profits, that may help you understand the true importance of sustainability in the workplace.
1. The Social Pillar (People)
This pillar is often overlooked, as sustainable discussions often focus more on the environmental and economic pillars. The social pillar refers to systems, structures and relationships; with the ultimate goal of wellbeing and providing a good quality of life by understanding what people need.
Examples of social sustainability include:
- Ensuring that you treat your employees right. Retention and engagement strategies are common here.
- Diversity, equity, work-life balance, safety, human rights, etc.
- Community engagement such as fundraising, donating, volunteering for or supporting sustainable causes.
Simply put, lack of social sustainability in an organization is a risk to the quality of both a brand and product.
2. The Environmental Pillar (Planet)
Environmental sustainability focuses on reducing the environmental impact. This can be done through processes, systems and/or activities within an organization’s facilities, products and operations.
Many companies are finding that when they positively impact the environment, there is a clear financial benefit.
Examples of environmental sustainability include:
- Reducing carbon footprints
- Reducing packaging waste
- Reducing water usage, etc.
3. The Economic Pillar (Profit)
“Economic sustainability refers to practices that support long-term economic growth without negatively impacting social, environmental, and cultural aspects of the community” (Source: University of Mary Washington) and attempts to satisfy the needs of humans in a way that sustains resources (human and material). Ultimately, we need to manage resources so they will not be depleted and will be available for future generations.
The Do’s and Don’ts When Practicing Sustainability
There are a few things to keep in mind as you continue to practice sustainability in your business…
We believe in this one, 100%. Share your journey AND teach your consumers what you do, how you do it, and why you do it, and what it all means to you and your company. Take a storytelling approach – it can be a great way to communicate and resonate with your audience.
- Be authentic and transparent
It’s generally easy to tell when a company is not authentic in their sustainability initiatives and communication. Sustainability is NOT something to force – it has to be a true value of yours for the dedication and motivation to flourish. When it’s authentic, sharing it with the world is seamless.
- Be proactive
Instilling a conscious and continuous effort to evaluate and improve your business practices will show! A proactive approach (that directly affects your business and its stakeholders) will boost your competitive advantage and set you apart from your competition.
- Add sustainability to your culture
Be on the front line to integrate sustainability into your culture. Define and communicate your initiatives, goals and purpose effectively and consistently with your entire team/company. Then, welcome feedback and suggestions from the team – enable the conversation!
It’s exciting to get started on this journey, but it’s important to understand what not to do when implementing sustainability into the workplace. Avoid doing the following…
- Never put yourself into debt
Remember that you are in business, and apart from saving the planet, you need to keep your company above water. Therefore, do what you can. You can always adjust. Start little and make changes as your business grows.
- Never shy away from your work
By committing to practice sustainability, you are aiming for greatness. Don’t be afraid to step up and share your story or your policies. Don’t fall into “green blushing”; inform your audience of your achievements and intentions and welcome it to become a marketing opportunity for your business. Keep it authentic and people will notice.
- Don’t practice greenwashing
As an investor, it will be best if you watch your practices. Don’t spend more time and money to market your organization as nature friendly without minimizing your company’s impact on nature. You may be deceiving your society and misleading consumers. (As mentioned above, it can be easy to tell when sustainable practices and communication is not authentic.)Consumers who prefer buying eco-friendly products from companies will be disappointed in your company once they realize your schemes. Be sincere to yourself and your market. Don’t deceive to sell.
Benefits and Advantages of Sustainable Marketing
Sustainable marketing brings many positive outcomes to the industry. Including the following:
- Positively affects the health of society.
- Consumers can benefit from the economic bottom line.
- Positively impacts future generations.
- Attracts and retains employees and investors.
- Increases the company’s ability to observe regulations.
- Reduces company costs and improves productivity.
- Improves financial and investment opportunities. U.S Sustainable, Responsible & Impact Investing Trends states that the market made one-fifth of all assets under professional management in 2016.
- Adds a competitive advantage to businesses and improves brand image. Study shows that 58% of consumers consider a business’s environmental impact.
- Makes stockholders happy because it increases profits. According to a study by Deutsche Bank, businesses with high ratings in social, governance, and natural factors outperform the market both medium and long terms.
Recently, the business industry has been keen on protecting future generations by practicing sustainable marketing. Is your company using this marketing technique or are you ready to make the change?!