Green marketing is a marketing technique that attempts to reduce environmental impacts and improve public health. Green marketing often involves companies positioning their goods as energy efficient or environmentally friendly. However, many different brands in an assortment of different industries utilize green marketing as a means of simply standing out in an overcrowded field of competition, however, green marketing can cause several disadvantages for businesses that rely heavily on it at the cost of other forms of marketing. Some examples of some of the common disadvantages of green marketing include:
* Cost – Green marketing is usually quite costly because it requires an increased level of focus and attention on environmental concerns. There may be a need to devote more funds towards marketing efforts. This means investing in higher quality marketing materials. For example, the purchase of printed environmental awareness postcards is more expensive than purchasing similar postcards designed to promote a product that uses a lower amount of resources. The increased costs are often proportional to the larger magnitude of the environmental concerns. This marketing strategy often requires an investment of more than the typical amount dedicated to other marketing strategies.
* Poor Branding – Green marketing requires marketers to become skilled in effectively communicating environmental concerns to customers. Because most businesses have traditionally adhered to a ‘green’ image, consumers are hesitant to make their purchasing decisions based on this fact. Furthermore, in the past, businesses were often hesitant to change the brand message on products based on environmental concerns. Today, many marketers recognize the importance of marketing to both customers and the environment. As a result, many environmentally conscious marketers have incorporated environmental images into all of their other marketing efforts.
* Customer Base – Because green marketing relies on a strong message, many businesses have capitalized on the growing interest in environmental issues. Today, the average consumer can identify a green product. Additionally, a variety of new, emerging marketing strategies have made it easy for consumers to make their buying decisions based on this fact. The creation of ‘green’ brands has given organizations a chance to differentiate themselves from competitors that fail to incorporate any type of green initiatives. Companies that offer environmentally friendly products and services have begun to enjoy an increased level of success when compared to competitors that refuse to acknowledge the importance of creating a greener future.
* Improved Customer Service – Studies have shown that consumers who purchase environmentally friendly products and services are significantly more likely to be satisfied with their purchases in the long term. This positive response has lead to an increase in overall satisfaction. Additionally, green marketing practices have led to an overall decrease in customer complaints related to product use or service. As a result of these significant benefits, green marketing is now recognized by leading financial institutions and insurers as well as major hospitals.
* Improved Resource Efficiency – As more organizations begin to promote environmentally friendly products and services, natural resource consumption is expected to dramatically decline over time. As a result of these potential advantages, organizations have implemented various programs that focus on reducing waste, limiting the amount of solid waste that is produced and minimizing the amount of energy that is consumed through energy consumption. Further, green marketing practices have led to a significant reduction in the amount of natural resources that are required for the production of goods and services.
* Increased Trust – When consumers are provided with information that is supportive of environmental responsibility, they are more likely to take that information into consideration when making purchasing decisions. Additionally, environmental marketing activities have lead to an increased level of trust among consumers. With increased trust, companies are able to communicate their positive environmental commitments to consumers without causing them to question the integrity of these actions. Ultimately, this increased level of trust allows consumers to place their trust in the hands of companies that are committed to protecting the environment.
* Reduction in Material Wastage – Another one of the key benefits of green marketing is the reduction in material waste. Because the production of most products is less hazardous than traditional methods, green marketing strategies allow for the reduction of waste from both manufacture and the distribution stages of the product. In addition, companies are able to significantly reduce the amount of energy and water that are required for their production processes. As a result of these fundamental requirements, companies and organizations are able to significantly reduce the amount of waste that is produced or distributed, leading to a reduction in the amount of natural resources that are needed to produce and distribute the product.