The environment is a very essential component to life on earth. All sectors going green, the business sector has to demonstrate solidarity in the conservation of the environment. Green marketing is a term used to refer to the marketing of products or services that are friendly to the environment. The term green marketing has quite often been used synonymously with ecological or environmental marketing. Green marketing involves making products and firms green. It also involves the manipulation of prices, promotion and place during the process of advertising. Issues of public policy are also important to mention in green marketing discussion. Green marketing involves persuading consumers into participating in environmental conservation for their satisfaction and overall wellbeing of the society. Ottman, Stafford Hartman (2006).
Objectives of green marketing.
Business organizations carry out green marketing with two main objectives which directly pertain to the properties of the product;
- Customer satisfaction.
- Improving the quality of the environment.
Preferences and other demands form customers have to be respected by the manufacturer. All businesses work to satisfy their customers in one way or another to win their confidence. Environmental concerns can play a very significant role towards customer satisfaction. This is crucial especially when the products being produced affect the environment in one way or the other. In the business world, there is no evidence of a product that has a zero effect on the environment. This means that all products affect the environment but it is the extend of damage that matters. In terms of sustainability and environmental conservation, customers have their differing preferences on the specific characteristics that products must have for them to satisfy their needs. In some cases the customers might be looking for products that are more efficient in terms of consumption of energy. This is in line with the environment in the sense that it prevents the depletion of resources which might be at the risk of extinction. The ever escalating prices of oil can be a catalyst to green marketing with manufactures developing machines that economize on energy use or those products that make use of energy that can be recycled. In such a case, customer satisfaction would only be attained if the products being marketed are energy efficient and are affordable in the market. Prakash(2002).
Improving the quality of the environment.
Researchers have pointed out that before the beginning of industrialization and manufacturing the earth had a clean environment that was free form all sorts of pollutants that exist today. Appeals are made during marketing for products that are less toxic to the environment. For instance there are products which after being used cause a lot of harm to the environment and hence they reduce the quality of environment. Good quality environment can be created by a combination of good engineering, better economics and changing consumer preferences. With good engineering, the process of production and manufacturing of products is not harmful to the environment. Manufacturing firms have to find a better way of dealing with their chemicals to prevent harmful effects from reaching the environment. This particularly concerns the disposal of wastes from their manufacturing processes. McDaniel&Rylander (1993).
Economically, products that are not costly to produce by virtue of their raw materials should be encouraged. For instance campaigning for products that are made from purely natural resources. Biofuels are known to be environmentally friendly and are produced from natural resources that can still be reused in the natural systems.
Green marketing also aims at changing consumer preferences in the cause of improving the quality of the environment. By consumers choosing on products that are biodegradable, they help to improve the quality of the environment. Some products such as detergents are manufactured using toxic chemicals which when released to the environment can cause pollution and other harmful effects. Green marketing can therefore be focused on appealing for products that still become useful upon their release to the environment after being used.
Aspects of green marketing
In this case products have to be manipulated so as to be compliant with the environment. Product manipulations involve changing the basic ingredients and composition so as to be compliant with environmental conservation. A good example is that of consumer home care products like detergents. Research findings have shown that some products release toxins that kill or interfere with the normal life of plants and animals when released to the environment. Green marketing emphasizes on products that are biodegradable in the sense that with their release to the environment, they become useful to plants and other organisms that make up the natural ecosystem. Green marketing also concerns production of products that are made from purely natural ingredients without additional agents that can be harmful to the users and the environment. Prakash(2002).
Price is a very important aspect during marketing. Green products are in most cases more affordable than the other alternatives. This is because the cost of production of green products can be lower than the alternatives. Green energy has always been considered by researchers to be more affordable than coal and petroleum. Compared to petroleum, biofuels have a lower cost and are friendly to the environment. Green marketing therefore appeals for consumers to choose alternatives that have reduced prices and are friendly to the environment. Green marketers are capable of manipulating prices of products so as to lure consumers into buying environmental friendly products. Prakash(2002).
The place for distributing green products is also an aspect of green marketing. In the context of green marketing, the place becomes relevant in the sense that it creates an appeal to the consumers when they realize that it is mindful of the environment. The place of producing products should not be posing a heath risk to the consumers with the release of toxic chemicals. Business organizations have adopted environmentally friendly places for producing and distributing their products. Green marketers manipulate locations of products so as to comply with environmental policies and win the confidence of consumers. Batra (1996)
Promotion is a very important aspect during green marketing. Consumers look forward to products that are promoted using environmentally friendly approaches. In some cases the packaging of products comes in as an essential aspect of promotion. Green marketing involves packaging products in containers that are not harmful to the environment. Cooperate responsibility can be exercised by the company or business organization participating in environmental conservation activities as they carry out promotion of their products. Batra (1996)
Matters of the environmental conservation have been gaining prominences amongst consumers since the 1980s. In fact most consumers are aware of environmental issues that concern products in the market.
Research findings have pointed out that about 87% of consumers in the United States are concerned on their role in environmental conservation. Lifestyles are very significant aspects of consumer behavior and they determine their preference to products in the market. This means that consumer behavior is a very important aspect in the efforts to conserve the environment. Researchers have mentioned that consumers are often willing to pay premiums for green attributes in products rather than the traditional attributes such as price and quality. Research findings further indicate that consumers look for green labels in products and quite often switch from one brand to another in search of environmentally friendly products. Consumer behavior is therefore a very important aspect of green marketing. Marketers have to study consumer behavior in specific market targets so as to come up with successful marketing strategies. (Ottman et al ,2006)
Green marketing strategies.
Green marketing builds upon societal marketing research. Marketers have to determine the needs of various consumers. It is the delivery of the needs of consumers that leads to their satisfaction and overall wellbeing of the society. Societal marketers tend to influence consumer behavior by persuading consumers to buy products that come with important externalities. To be specific in green marketing, social marketers persuade consumers to buy products that are environmentally friendly or those that are vital in environmental conservation. In this strategy, the green marketers are involved in the modification of consumer behavior. A good example concerns marketers for biofuels which are renewable and are friendly to the environment. It is important to note that behavior modification may not be of direct benefit to the consumers. Incentives to consumers are a very important aspect of societal marketing. (Polonsky,1999)
Social marketers might also be involved in the persuasion of consumers to change their lifestyles so as to prevent environmental degradation. The appeal for renewable energy alternatives is a strategy that aims at encouraging consumers to change their lifestyles of relying on hydroelectricity so as to help in environmental conservation. (Ottman et al ,2006)
Societal green marketing can also take the approach of persuading consumers to maintain their machines so that they remain in top performance and do not cause a great risk to the environment. Consumers’ maintaining their car engines to prevent excessive smoke is a strategy that has been encouraged in most countries to reduce the effects of carbon in the environment.
Societal marketers can also advocate for consumers to be buying energy efficient systems and equipments so as to help in environmental conservation. (Ottman et al ,2006)
Sustainable development calls for green measures in all the sectors of the economy. Green marketing is a major strategy towards enhancing the participation of business organization and consumers in environmental conservation. Green marketing entails appealing to the consumers in target markets to opt for products that do not cause further damage to the environment.