Promotional ‘Green’ Benefits- Will The Trend Survive?

October 17, 2007 at 12:36 pm Leave a comment

Companies venturing out to reach consumers in new ways are experimenting with promotional benefits in the shape of immaterial goods. More and more frequently, these are ‘green’ offers. Immaterial marketing has really taken off throughout all established industries, but there’s virtually no information about its effectiveness.

“Using Green promotional benefits, [i.e.] incentives that have environmental benefit, to drive acquisition is uncharted territory as there are few benchmarks to validate their use or their effectiveness”, MarketingGreen believes.

What is clear so far is that the stage is being set for entirely new economic concepts and formulas. Companies, already opening themselves up by swapping expensive production facilities for free open source tools, eliminating middlemen and replacing money with goods, are experimenting with a hoist of techniques.

In this light, Doc Searls points out that the attention economy as just another way ‘for advertisers to skewer eyeballs’ is pretty much on its way out. The logic is simple. “Why build an economy around attention, when intention is where the money comes from?”, he says.

Consumers have been putting up with commercialist marketing approaches only because individually they do not have the resources and strategic talent of the commercial gurus. But this landscape is changing.

Call it attention, intention, experience economy, what’s beyond doubt is that the power-of-the-individual is irreversible. Individual projects and not just smart marketers’ viral exploits are all but barred from entering into the ‘mainstream’. What’s more, those individual initiatives that stand out from the crowd, are memorable for reasons that are all their own. Replicating them isn’t necessarily a workable formula.

In going the ‘green’ route, marketers can decide to play on consumers’ guilt, but few will opt for this. But it is a proven fact that consumer sentiment on environmental matters is edgy to the point that a real voracious hate of the superficial could develop into the deathblow every marketer fears.

Materialistically rich consumers want immaterial values. Sustainability is the buzzword, and everybody knows that it can’t be negotiated any further. Consumers don’t only want to have the feeling but they want to be sure that when they buy they are sending signals right to the company bosses that tell them to make systemic changes. “Strictly speaking, these may not be rational”, says Alex Steffen at WorldChanging.com, but there’s a “whole different level of committed consumption [that] comes into play”.

It will take time for the new initiatives to materialize into recogniseable forms that can compete with the cornershop. It’s a slow process “as both buyers and suppliers need time to get used to something they literally didn’t grow up with”, say Trendwatchers. They warn that those ideas that threaten existing power structures might be subjected to opposition, which might slow development. Other factors that slow the progress are companies’ misinterpreting creativity for spending, and reckless expansion.


Personal carbon footprint calculators are increasingly popular. These are multiple choice questionnaires that gather data about your age, location, food choices, travel habits, housing and household arrangements. Calculations take into account much productive land and water is needed to support your consumption and waste. BeGreenNow offers a good calculator, as well as ideas for offsetting your individual carbon footprint. Wired.com provides an integrated calculator of energy and food consumption.

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Entry filed under: Green News.

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