McKinsey just released a must read for green marketers. ‘Helping Green Products Grow‘ outlines five steps businesses need to take to sell green products successfully. Most of it is common sense. Still there were a few surprises, most notably in the area of consumers’ awareness of most concrete actions to reduce global warming:
These findings present enormous educational opportunities, not just for green marketers, but also for environmental educators, hoping to make a difference in greenhouse gas emissions. Bloggers, journalists, teachers, environmentalists need to turn up the volume on eating less beef, improving home insulation, and driving more fuel-efficient car, less often. These are all concrete actions that citizens can understand, and that also can help them save money, particularly during these hard economic times.
Here are the five steps, with selected some highlights:
1. Educate consumers:
Because consumers are largely unaware of green products, a business that sells them must see itself first as an educator, not a sales machine. Our study shows that more than one-third of the consumers who want to help mitigate climate change don’t really know how . . .
2. Build better products:
Consumers will not think better of green products until companies make them equal to, or better than, their conventional alternatives. It’s no surprise: most people value performance, reliability, and durability much more than ecological soundness. . . .
3. Be honest:
To rebuild public trust, companies must come clean about the true environmental impact of their products and their attempts to reduce it, and many will need to address historical concerns about specific products or operations . . .
4. Offer more:
Companies must ensure that consumers understand the financial and environmental returns on their investment in green products, for they are more willing to try new ones-especially those that cost more-when they find it easy to track the savings . . .
5. Bring products to the people:
Having decided to buy green products, many consumers encounter a last hurdle-finding them-either because manufacturers don’t keep up with demand or advertise where they can be bought, or because wholesalers and retailers don’t stock them or display them prominently. Biofuel enthusiasts, for example, must often drive out of their way to fill up . . .
I will end with my usual rant. Buying green stuff is good as long as it translates in net carbon reduction. Otherwise, we are all better off following the old conservation adage of, ‘reduce, re-use, recycle‘.