10 commandements of marketing green products

Yet again, Augustine Fou is inspiring a post of mine. Over at clickz he posted a brilliant adaptation of the 10 Commandements, adapted for modern marketing. In line with my passion for sustainable products being more present in daily marketing messages, let me adapt the commandements to the needs of this underrepresented segment on the Spanish market.
1.Though shalt not target customers with messages they don’t want. With messages, Fou refers to ads, and cites several findings about how low their impact actually is. For green products this is not even an option, as the background information of the public has not yet reached the critical level in Spain to make sense of small messages. Thus, the market should turn to more informational formats, taking advantage of the increased time available at the Spanish public television where advertising is now banned, only leaving space for informational breaks (Spanish, English). If the green sector paired with the government to promote ecological products, these breaks could be used to inform the public with background facts.
2.Thou shalt be truthful. Nothing to add here.
3.Thou shalt respect your customer. Take them serious. Talk to them on eye level and do not assume that they don’t care anyway. Explain why you do or don’t use certain practices and treat your customers as if you might meet them in person some day.
4.Thou shalt make it easy for people to find you. Advertising is not the only way to get out your message. People might also be searching for products or inspirations. They talk between each other, recommend, forward, defend and condemn. To be part of this conversation, more green alternatives need to become visible for those who search. Yes, your green products are awesome. But if you do not invest some time into website optimization, participating in online (and offline!) meetings to spread the word, those who want to find you will have a hard time searching.
5.Thou shalt be useful. Again, giving out information is the key. Often green products are not different in use than conventional products. So explain to your customer why the bamboo salad bowls is exactly as useful as the plastic salad bowl, but do add the distinct advantages of the bamboo bowl. This is not only the nice color and warm touch, but also information about sustainable farming, the community project based on the income etc.
6.Thou shalt make it easy for people to pass along. Encourage recommendations, share information, use the online world. Granted, at this time only half of all Spanish people are online at home (though 1/3rd of those without internet at home, have access at work). But internet costs are falling and the government is doing its part to accelerate the development through special credits and educational efforts, both for individuals as well as for SME’s and institutions. It is now time to get the infrastructure in place so people can share, collaborate, and talk about (and with) the green sector.
7.Thou shalt measure and optimize. Gather data, analyse it, and then improve. Always.
8.Thou shalt listen to customers. As well as to potential customers. In my green supermarket a big part of the consumers is non-Spanish, from countries where a sustainable lifestyle is more “normal”. They have higher expectations because they usually have something to compare their experience with: listen to them to improve your services. But also include their Spanish counterparts to be sure to adapt the offer to their needs.
9.Thou shalt remove any organizational barriers to speedy, collaborative innovation. Introduce meetings between sales, marketing, and product research. Be well informed what customers cares about (sales) to translate this into more innovative products (production) and spread the word (marketing): sustainable products need holistic organizations to be successful.
10.Thou shalt not do brand-ing, at least not as a stand-alone strategy. Consumers today quickly see through the beautiful images and don’t like to be treated as if they can’t see the truth behind the matter. Engage with your customers. Quality and reliability will earn you a reputation that spreads by itself.

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