Are Green Marketing Dollars Being Allocated Incorrectly?

  • Apr 25, 2011

I recently read an article that said that “sales of many eco-friendly household products launched around 2008 to great fanfare have fizzled over the last two years. For instance, Clorox’s Green Works cleaning line launched in 2008 with a vow to “move natural cleaning into the mainstream” reached $100 million in its first year. Last year, its sales dropped to $60 million. Arm & Hammer’s eco-friendly Essentials line has been pulled from the U.S. market three years after its launch.”

How can the at be so?

With all the education and awareness that the environment has received over the past decade, why are consumers, on the whole, still ignoring green products?

Is it the price point? The past 30 months or so have been very tough on the average consumer, so it is probably normal to expect sales of non-discretionary items to be down. Plus, green-friendly items tend to have a higher price point associated with them, so that would be typical during this economic slowdown.

Are consumers losing interest in green products?

I would venture to say that they are not, as sales at Whole Foods and other similar stores have had growing sales over the past six months.

I believe that marketers are making a huge mistake by aiming their environmental message at the broadest market, when green products are still a niche.

Perhaps companies should target their message to the right audience, which can be younger (15-30), the more affluent, females and seniors. These demographics are proving themselves as the biggest consumers of eco friendly items.

Should we ignore the rest of the population? Probably not altogether, as markets tend to shift over time, and today’s young people are tomorrow’s middle aged. Behavior modification takes time (sometimes generations).

A two-tiered approach to marketing green products might be best. Reach out to your core audience with the majority of your advertising and marketing budget, while spending some time educating the general public.

Social media is ideal for green education, as it does not cost a thing, other than time.

Packaging design and advertising should better match your target audience, as they are your ideal consumer. Educational inserts and product hang tags may also help to educate the public, as well as targeted landing pages that can be reached by QR codes. You cannot be all things to all people.

The green market will grow as people get more disposable income and as green shifts from a niche category to mainstream. How long this shift will take is anybody’s guess.

But I am a strong believer in “preaching to the choir” — or getting your message out to your target audience with minimal time and effort spent on the rest.

Money is tight: Target your dollars where they should best be allocated.

And let your social media speak to the masses in order to grow the base.

Here’s to a greener tomorrow today.

  • Category: green marketing
  • Tags: green advertising, green consumer products, green marketing, sales of green products