If you haven't been living under a rock, you probably already understand how important “Green Marketing” is to your organization. More and more consumers are putting sustainability and recycling up front in their purchasing decisions, and how you market yourself to those consumers is going to be a critical component of your success.
As always, the most important thing in marketing is to understand your customer. What are the concerns of your buyers? Are they environmentally driven? Are they early adopters? Are they active in their communities—leading behaviors and thinking? Are they concerned about chemicals and seeking safer alternatives for themselves and their children? Are they trendsetters who want to display their green lifestyle? Is their commitment to green philosophical? Do they look for green products to save money? All of these concerns and more are part of green consumer issues that you may need to address to reach your buyers.
The Natural Marketing Institute (NMI) conducted a research study, based on interviews with over 4,000 U.S. adults. Their report is titled The LOHAS Report: Consumers and Sustainability divides consumers into five different types of consumers, with 83 percent of consumers falling into some type of green consumer.
Here’s how NMI breaks down the green consumer segments:
19 percent LOHAS (Lifestyles of Health and Sustainability): This segment represents the most environmentally conscious, holistically oriented, and active of all consumers. 40 percent Boomers, 61 percent female, mostly married, 23 percent with children, educated, with the second highest income of all five segments.
15 percent Naturalites: This group has a very personal approach to the environment. They are concerned about chemicals and are looking for safer alternatives for their family. Not as committed to sustainability as LOHAS or Drifters, they are interested in learning more. Least likely of the groups to be college educated, 31 percent with children, almost 50 percent of them live in the South.
26 percent Drifters: Younger (48 percent Gen x & Y) and concentrated in coastal cities, this group is driven by trends. Most likely to have children in the home, they want to do more but need to be encouraged. They respond well to the sense of belonging that a green lifestyle brings. The largest segment of the population, with adequate income they can be a very lucrative marketing target.
24 percent Conventionals: Almost 60 percent male and the highest income group, this group is green to save money. They recycle and 25 percent are retired. The second largest segment of the population this group understands spending green to save green.
The rest of the consumers, an estimated 17 percent, are classified as “Unconcerneds.” While this group says they care about protecting the environment, only 24 percent of them recycle.
Once you’ve identified what drives your customers—health, environment, saving resources, philosophy? And which product related concerns are at the top of their list, you can begin to see which products will appeal to which type of consumer. The Conventionals dad may be moved by long-term use and energy savings. The LOHAS mom may find sustainably manufactured materials most appealing. And the “In” crowd Naturalites might want a visibly unique, recycled product to display in their home.
You can learn more about green marketing strategies and the NMI study by downloading Chapter Two of Jacquelyn Ottman's The New Rules of Green Marketing a free whitepaper at NMISolutions.com. It’s one of several terrific whitepapers available on Sustainability.