Existing Frameworks

Green products can be a win-win for all, aligning societal benefits with consumer ones. More typically, however, green products are challenged by three issues, in that they:

Offer Benefits that Consumers Undervalue
Consumers typically undervalue the social benefits from green products. How could they when social benefits are typically less tangible and represent only one of many considerations when making a purchase decision?

Require Tradeoffs
Today, consumers access shopping bots to find the exact product that fits into their lifestyle, at the price they are willing to pay. This may not necessarily be the case for green products, as they typically impose tradeoffs in terms of price, design, functionality or performance in order to deliver green benefits. Take hybrids, for example. Greater fuel efficiency typically requires a compromise in performance.

Target Underdeveloped Markets
Green markets are nascent. As such, green companies may face the twofold challenge of marketing a new product and cultivating a new market category. Consumer adoption may be slow, impeded by limited choice (few manufacturers), high product costs (until production volumes increase) and consumer inertia (wait and see attitudes).

While these issues are by no means limited only to green products, they indeed pose special challenges for marketers and require specific strategies and tactics to overcome.

One Response to Existing Frameworks

  1. Jon Dale says:

    I’m glad I stumbled on your site. Thank you for providing so much leadership on the issue.

    I sell solar panels. There is a lot of enthusiasm within the industry. It’s growing by leaps and bounds. But it, along with other renewable technologies, is still a blip in the energy universe.

    I think the issue is how we turn climate change awareness into climate change action. Let’s face it. The climate change train is moving down the tracks. Regardless of what we do as consumers, we’re unlikely to see any benefits in our lifetime.

    Getting consumers to accept compromise requires political will and leadership. Absent that, we as marketers can continue to make green cool. And we as marketers also need to focus on creating superior products and services that also happen to be kinder to the environment.

    Think about it. GM’s EV1 flopped. The first Prius was not a hit. Then Prius made this cool, modernistic yet practical car that also happened to help the environment. And they had a hit.

    Remember Olestra? There was a product that would help you lose weight and live longer from marketing juggernaut P&G no less. Disaster. My point here is that American consumers are first and foremost consumers. They want better, sexier, faster, richer, noisier, cooler, younger, cheaper, more luxurious. Their tolerance for compromise on those points is quite low. To successfully get green products into the hands of all Americans, we need to stick to those benefits.

    I think of my own experience. People who even look into solar panels are pre-disposed to helping the environment (thank you mssrs. gore and redford). But the ones who actually buy do so because they have a financial asset that provides after-tax returns that appeal to their desire to make money.

    Anyway, that’s my two cents. Your blog has given me reading material for many an evening.

    PS – I see where you’re in the new age of advertising. For a kick, watch Mad Men on AMC. It’s all pretty much true (although I don’t remember many CDs who looked that good in a suit).

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