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Consumers Reward Marketing that Employs "Green" Messages

Customers are rewarding companies that use so-called "green marketing" tactics and are willing to pay more for the same product when it is presented with an environmentally friendly message, according to a recent research report from Environmental Leader and Watershed Publishing. (via MarketingCharts).

The report, "Green Marketing: What Works & What Doesn’t - A Marketing Study of Practitioners," also revealed that increased spending on green advertising and marketing is, in many cases, the result of firms finding distinct additional marketing and advertising advantages with green messages.

Plans to Increase Spending

Among survey respondents, 82% of plan to increase their spending on green marketing in the future, the report said. When split into groups that do or don’t measure advertising results, media-measuring companies tend to spend more on their green efforts.

'Greenwashing' Overblown

Though "most firms perceived that they were - in reality - greener than their customers initially thought they were," according to Jennifer Nastu, a study co-author, the research found that companies that perceive themselves to be greener spend the most on green marketing, suggesting that “greenwashing” may not be as prevalent as some suppose. Respondents see their organizations as less "green" tend to avoid green marketing messages. Similarly, it appears that management deliberately moves to make greener operational choices first, and only later markets with green messages.

"While green marketing is showing itself particularly competent in selling, most marketers appear to try to use it as a branding device," said study editor Tig Tillinghast of Watershed Publishing.

"We are now starting to understand that it's under-utilized in its most effective application."

Additional study findings:

  • The internet proves the most popular medium (75%) for green marketing, followed by print (50%) and direct mail (40%).
  • 28% of marketers think green marketing is more effective than other marketing messages, compared with 6% of marketers who think it is less effective.
  • Marketers who track marketing spending and its relation to sales tend to believe people will pay more for green products. Marketers using less trackable media remain more skeptical.
  • Companies with smaller marketing budgets tend to spend more on green marketing.
  • Nearly half of respondents say the decision-makers at their companies hold green marketing in high regard vs. just 15% who say decision-makers hold it in low regard.

About the study: Environmental Leader and Watershed Publishing polled the audiences of online marketing trade publications MediaBuyerPlanner, MarketingVOX, MarketingCharts, RetailerDaily and Environmental Leader to determine individuals’ impressions of how effective "green marketing" has proven to date. The survey received 372 responses.

The full report, which is available for purchase, contains both campaign activity data and case studies and includes information about where green campaigns are running, which media have the most effective reach and what percentages of marketing budgets are dedicated to green efforts in various categories.

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