Nearly 10 years ago the meaning of “green” related to Green Peace Association that defended the flora and fauna. Nowadays “green” has a deeper meaning. According to the American Marketing Association, “green marketing” is the marketing of products that are presumed to be environmentally safe. Thus, green marketing incorporates a broad range of activities including product modification, changes to the production process, packaging changes, as well as modifying advertising.
Yet defining “green marketing” is not a simple task where several meanings intersect and contradict each other. An example of this will be the existence of varying social, environmental definitions attached to this term. Other similar terms used are “environmental marketing” and “ecological marketing”. Green, environmental and eco-marketing are part of the new marketing approaches which do not just refocus, adjust or enhance existing marketing thinking and practice but seek to challenge those approaches and provide a substantially different perspective.
In more detail, green, environmental and eco-marketing belong to the group of approaches which seek to address the lack of matching between marketing as it is currently practiced and the ecological and social realities of the wider marketing environment. The legal implications of marketing claims call for caution. Misleading or overstated claims can lead to regulatory or civil challenges. In the USA, the Federal Trade Commission provides some guidance on environmental marketing claims.
The popularity of such marketing approach and its effectiveness is hotly debated. Supporters claim that environmental appeals are actually growing in number–the Energy Star label, for example, now appears on 11,000 different companies’ models in 38 product categories, from washing machines and light bulbs to skyscrapers and homes. However, despite the growth in the number of green products, green marketing is on the decline as the primary sales pitch for products.
On the other hand, Roper’s Green Gauge shows that a high percentage of consumers (42%) feel that environmental products don’t work as well as conventional ones. Given the choice, all but the greenest of customers will reach for synthetic detergents over the premium-priced, proverbial “Happy Planet” any day, including Earth Day. New reports, however, show a growing trend towards green products. In 1989, 67 percent of Americans stated that they were willing to pay 5-10 percent more for ecologically compatible products.
By 1991, environmentally conscious individuals were willing to pay between 15-20 percent more for green products. Today, more than one-third of Americans say they would pay a little extra for green products. An important challenge facing marketers is to identify which consumers are willing to pay more for environmentally friendly products. It is apparent that an enhanced knowledge of the profile of this segment of consumers would be extremely useful.
Everett Rogers, communication scholar and author of Diffusion of Innovations, claims that the following five factors can help determine whether a new idea will be adopted or not, including the idealism of the shift towards “green”: 1. Relative advantage is the degree to which the new behavior is believed to accrue more beneficial outcomes than current practice. 2. Observability is how easy it is to witness the outcomes of the new behavior. 3. Trialability is the case with which the new behavior can be tested by an individual without making a full commitment. . Compatibility is the degree to which the new behavior is consistent with current practice. 5. Complexity is how difficult the new behavior is to implement. So “green marketing” policy is very important nowadays. If a company would like to establish itself for the best site it should produce even one or two “clean” products. And, of course, be available to explain the meaning of “green” products, their necessity and utility for their customers and competitors.