We all know that if we continue to consume the earth’s resources at the current rate, the planet is in serious trouble. Whilst many of us recycle as much as possible, how many of us think about sustainability and our obligations to future generations when we go about our business activities?

Typically we think of only larger companies having Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) policies. But we can all do our bit, even those of us who are working in ones and twos. If you have already implemented recycling for your waste or changing your paper stocks where do you go from there? Looking at the sustainability of your marketing could be a great way to further your green credentials.

For years, marketing has been seen as the black sheep of the business family when it comes to the environment. The bad boys that encourage excessive consumption as new products are launched without a thought. But things are changing. Business owners must now consider the impact and resources their marketing campaigns use.

For those of you that feel sustainable marketing is just too difficult to undertake, consider the business argument. Consumer’s expectations change. Increasing numbers of us buy from companies and brands that are aware of environmental issues and are actively combating the drain on our global resources. Despite the recent economic downturn, ethical spending is up. So by increasing the sustainability of your marketing, you might also attract a new ethically aware customer base. It could also differentiate your brand from competitors, increase your customer retention and brand loyalty. Who would sniff at that?

If you want to begin to look at sustainable marketing for your business, where on earth do you start? My advice would be with a Sustainable Marketing Audit to look at the impact your product or service has on resources. This will allow you to gauge how environmentally friendly you are now and give you some ideas of where you can focus improvements.

First, write out the headings that cover the classic marketing topics of the four P’s: Product, Place (and distribution), Price and Promotion. Next, take each heading, and with your product in mind, decide whether you can or have the ability to apply the three R’s a) Reduce b) Reuse or c) Recycle.

For example, under Product you may ask ‘What is my product made from? How is it packaged? Or how will it be disposed of?’

Or under Place ‘Where is my product made? How is it transported?’

For Price you could consider ‘Does the price include a warranty for repair? Are pricing incentives being used to encourage over-consumption?’

For Promotion, ‘Are the product attributes being accurately communicated to the customer? ‘What resources are being used to communicate the products features?’

While these are only the first steps in setting up a sustainable marketing policy for your business, from small acorns large oak trees grow. And after all, isn’t that what this is all about?

Do you need to outsmart your competitors? Contact us now on 01449 782235 to discuss what you need and how we can help you meet your goals.

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