October 28, 2021

What is Sustainable Marketing?

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What is sustainable marketing and why is it important to start now?

Sustainability is about adapting to new behaviours and practises that will ensure the planet has a brighter future, and any global resources we have are there for not only our children, but for generations to come.

Many businesses have already started the journey to a more sustainable future, with many more following, and it’s these businesses that should be reviewing their marketing strategy to encompassing ‘sustainable marketing’ into the mix. However, they must have the understanding that sustainable marketing is about longevity, swapping short-term gain for long-term success.

Businesses that are utilising a sustainable marketing strategy are benefiting from the changing behaviours of consumers, so it’s important not to get left behind.

‘In the last 12 months, 28% of consumers have stopped purchasing certain brands or products because they had ethical or sustainability related concerns about them*’

Sustainable marketing should encompass not only your products, but also your sustainable strategy and brand image. Businesses that demonstrate sustainable, ethical & social responsibility & accountability, are becoming increasingly attractive to consumers who share these values. But you need make it obvious, as most customers will expect businesses & brands to ‘upfront’ with this information.

Your business should be aware of what it takes to achieve a sustainable marketing strategy and be ready to commit. It takes more than just aligning your brand with a topical issue.

A sustainable marketing plan needs to be delivered over a longer timeframe and not just for the short term. Sustainability doesn’t go away and therefore it needs to be weaved into a long-term plan. Consumers generally understand that businesses who are switching to more sustainable practices, will need time to make the shift, but are willing to back those that demonstrate they have it as one of their priorities.

What do you need to do?

Set sustainability goals and objectives that are clearly understood and detail what you want your business or brand to achieve. This will give your story authenticity and allow your communications to come through with honesty & integrity. Be realistic with what your business can change, making promises that can’t be achieve will not only damage your reputation, but it could also be costly. Think of it more and ‘short term pain, for long term gain’. 

Delivering your sustainability message…

You need to ensure consistency, so make sure you’re specific about what your business or brand is doing to be sustainable., and don’t try and hide behind the ‘sustainability banner’, consumers will respect your honesty.

Consumers will come on a journey with you, so make sure you take them with you. It will not be practical to make a wholesale shift to being a sustainable business, so whilst one part of your business or brand may already be sustainable, not all areas of your business will be.

Don’t leave your business open to criticism, other you might find yourself being scrutinised and subsequently lead to negative social media activity that will damage your reputation. Let consumers see that your business is leading the way to change and that you’re active in addressing environmental, ethical & social issues. 

‘In the last 12 months, 34% of consumers have chosen brands that have environmentally sustainable practices or values*’

Creating a sustainable marketing strategy for the long-term…

It’s important to ensure that your sustainable marketing strategy is well thought out and implemented for the long-term, sustainable marketing can result in higher value transactions, higher sales volumes, and a higher level of customer retention. It’s important not to get drawn into short term trends, as this will allow time for your sustainable marketing strategy to become established.

Transactional marketing is important to many businesses, so don’t isolate your sustainable marketing and make sure you integrate it in to all your marketing activities, this will only help to reinforce your message.

Make your sustainable marketing plan…sustainable!

Don’t forget, marketing has a carbon footprint too – so ensure that any part of your campaign that involves the use of materials, e.g., printed brochures, leaflets and billboards, are not manufactured from materials that are not sustainable. Prioritise digital marketing activities and communicate through targeted digital advertising, social media, blogs, newsletters, and email marketing.

The upshot will be that not only will you be demonstrating your sustainable credentials from the outset, but you’ll also be increasing your digital footprint, and this will mean your business will benefit from marketing uplifts such as improved SEO. By making your content relevant to your target audience, you will increase brand loyalty and encourage your customers to become brand advocates.

If you’re ready for to find out more and embark on a journey towards a more sustainable marketing strategy for your business’ long-term success, contact Kioo Marketing today for a free consultation.

*Source: Deloitte