How To Implement Sustainable Marketing In 7 Easy Steps
Table Of Content
These two generations were born and raised in an era where the effects of climatic change became evident.
The marketing operations in earlier generations were driven by profits and nothing else. The rampant exploitation and misuse of resources for profits have left these generations facing a climatic crisis unlike any generation before.
The consequence of all of this is, now we have these two climate conscious and socially responsible generations forming the majority of the consumer base globally.
What does this mean for your business? If you want it to survive well into the future, sustainable marketing is your only option!
Let’s start with learning what sustainable marketing is.
What is Sustainable Marketing?
Sustainable marketing involves the promotion of products, services, practices and brand values that are environmentally and socially responsible.
The objective here is to produce products and services and run the business operations in a manner that has no negative impact on the environment or society.
Businesses have been hesitant to go green until now because of the profit motive. However, considering how the market has shifted, a business’s existence will end up with a question mark if they do not turn to sustainable marketing.
Now, that is a big enough motivation for any brand to adopt sustainable marketing.
However, that is not the only benefit. Adopting sustainable marketing will increase costs and complexities in the short run. In the long run, however, sustainable marketing is not only more cost-effective but better for a business’s health.
We also cannot ignore the benefits that our society and the environment will enjoy owing to businesses switching to sustainable marketing.
Whom will you sell your products to if there’ll be no one around, right?
Let us learn more about sustainable marketing so that we never have to tackle that question in the future.
The Five Principles of Sustainable Marketing
Adopting these principles for your business will always end up being beneficial. You can always start with one principle at a time to smoothen the transition.
1. Consumer-oriented Marketing -
Making marketing work in the traditional way is not feasible any longer. Understanding the customer has to be the core focus of any marketing undertaking.
Knowing the view from the consumer’s perspective enables you to draft a more effective and efficient marketing strategy. This becomes possible as you know what solutions and values a customer is specifically looking for from a brand.
2. Value Marketing
The only way to stay profitable after adopting sustainable marketing is to create good value to offer. The value is not limited to the quality and utility of the product.
How sustainably they were created and how easily they can be recycled, also add to a product’s value. By providing good value, not limited to the product, your business can ensure profitability in the long run.
3. Innovative Marketing
Stagnation has always killed more businesses than poorly made decisions. It is imperative that your business keeps innovating in terms of products, services and business processes in the long run.
Whether you opt for meme marketing or metaverse marketing is up to you. Experimenting with innovative ideas is what is necessary. This is how a business can stay relevant in the future market and continue offering good value to the consumers.
4. Vision Driven Marketing
The business needs to be centered around a vision for the betterment of society and the environment. All your business activities and goals should not revolve around a product, service or profits.
Having a long-term vision grants your business stability and direction in the long run while benefiting the consumers and society.
5. Societal Marketing
Satisfying consumer needs and earning profits for your firm will not be enough in the long run. Your business’s long-term objective must also include providing back to society.
By operating in the interest of the consumer, society and the business itself, a business can do well and stay profitable in the long run.
These principles sound amazing but how does a business become sustainable? We’ll guide you with a step-by-step guide.
How to Make Your Business Sustainable in Easy Steps
The age-old marketing questions of what to produce and how to produce come into question here. Your business needs to answer these questions while ensuring sustainability.
Here’s your definitive guide for making your business sustainable in the long run. Follow the below steps and ensure proper execution and your business will not only survive well into the future but retain healthy profitability.
Step 1 - Evaluate Your Carbon Footprint
Every journey towards a sustainable future must start with evaluating the present. You can have experts conduct a sustainability audit for your firm or conduct the evaluation in-house.
The aim here is to understand how much do your business operations impact the environment and society adversely.
You can break down the impact into categories such as procurement, material utilized, production, utilities, distribution, packaging, post-sales, product recyclability, etc.
Once you have identified and evaluated all operational areas, you can target and work on each area to reduce your carbon footprint and negative effects on society.
Step 2 - Set up a Leaner Procurement Procedure
The procurement operations are often overlooked as they tie right into inventory management. However, having a good inventory management setup needs to be complemented by a leaner procurement setup.
Logistics adds a lot to greenhouse emissions. In order to reduce your carbon footprint, you will need to have a procurement process that pools consignments of raw material into a single supply run.
To pull this off without it affecting your production function, you will need to ensure the reorder quantities of each component are adjusted for this system.
It is possible to implement JTT along with a leaner procurement process. A combination of the two can help your business minimize your carbon footprint.
Step 3 - Procure Sustainable Raw Materials
If your business produces products, you need to ensure you are procuring raw materials that are produced/harvested in a sustainable manner.
Many a time, the raw material most businesses procure for production adds significantly to their carbon footprint.
Extensive use of raw materials that cannot be replenished has adverse effects on the ecology. Thus, it must be ensured that your business procures raw materials that do not have a significant carbon footprint and are replenishable.
Changes in the product design can significantly reduce the business’s carbon footprint. You can revamp the design so that it is produced using sustainable resources and minimal carbon emissions.
The benefits of a good design are not limited to production, however. A well-designed product will require less packaging, will also be easy to disassemble and upcycle at the end of its lifecycle.
Such well-designed products reduce the environmental impact they have pre-production and post-production. Moreover, a well-designed product is easy to process at the end of its lifecycle, which means less waste going to landfills.
Fewer resources will be needed to be allocated for waste management. These saved resources can be conserved for a more sustainable future for society.
The choice of raw materials, their sourcing, product design, etc. also play a big role here. These decide to what extent a product can be recycled.
The aim should always be to maximize the extent to which products can be recycled. A common point overlooked in this process is ensuring the ease of recyclability.
Your business even needs to ensure that disassembling and recycling the components of your products is not resource intensive. When recycling a product is not economical, they end up in landfills most of the time.
Step 6 - Optimum Utilization of Energy and Using Renewable Sources
Energy consumption forms the brunt of a business’s direct carbon emission. In most cases, businesses have no control over the source of energy they’re supplied from. The power utility company is entirely in control of this.
In such cases, your business can opt for minimizing the amount of energy you consume. This will directly cut your carbon emissions and require less production of electricity.
That in turn will have a domino effect and reduce the pressure on mines and oil producers to ramp up production.
In case you have control over your power mix, you can opt for any renewable source of energy. Better even, you can even opt to go completely carbon neutral using renewable sources of energy such as wind, hydro or solar aided by an energy storage system.
Step 7 - Educate Your Consumers
It is important that your consumers know and understand your efforts toward sustainable marketing. Educating them about your initiatives can act as silent marketing.
Once consumers are aware of all your initiatives to conserve the environment and provide back to society, they will be willing to pay higher prices and be a part of your initiative.
This will not only translate to sales growth for your firm but you will be able to make up for the increased costs arising out of adopting sustainable marketing.
The key here is to market in the right way, to educate your consumer base. Educate them about how your products are made using sustainable materials and how you minimize your carbon footprint
Educate them about how they can help you recycle your products safely and about ways they can help you become even more sustainable.
Sustainable marketing is the only way forward. You will have to bear increased costs in the short term but the costs will decrease significantly in the long run.
Being able to sustain humanity in a healthy manner is perhaps the biggest benefit of adopting this approach. This way no business will have to wonder whom they can sell to if no one is left.
With sustainable marketing, we can ensure a better future for the environment, humanity and businesses.
Yash Chawlani is a B2B SaaS Marketing Consultant and Founder of Merlin, a result-oriented online marketing agency. He specializes in SEO and Content Marketing and helps various B2B & SaaS companies with his top-notch marketing strategies. You can get in touch with him via LinkedIn.