Product Management Library of Knowledge
April 22, 2010
Green Marketing Strategy - Radical Green Innovation That is Insights Driven
By Glennon Franklin
The dimension that is often missing from a green marketing strategy is segmentation based on green attributes. Classic consumer insights driven marketing begins by identifying wants or needs in a particular opportunity space (for example, hunger, cleanliness, financial security). Those wants or needs are then addressed with a product or service "solution".
In many cases, green attributes are merely bundled with the existing solution and without regard for whether those attributes address a green want or a green need. Thus, a food product may be organic, when what the consumer really wants is recyclable packaging. A credit card may offer carbon offsets, when what a consumer really wants is discounts for green purchases.
Accordingly, a robust green marketing strategy will include parallel insights activities, identifying wants and needs in the core opportunity space, and separately identifying environmental or energy related wants and needs.
In the core opportunity space for most consumer products and services, marketers have a deep and rich understanding of fundamental wants, needs, attitudes, perceptions, motivations, and behaviors. These insights have been developed through years of employing sophisticated techniques, like ethnographic studies, projective interviews, and mathematical analysis of attribute values.
Further, there is information gathering and analytical tools in place to capture emerging trends and capitalize on nascent opportunities to develop new solutions for evolving wants and needs.
There is not a broad-based corollary understanding of fundamental wants and needs around use of energy and impact to the environment that encompasses attitudes, perceptions, motivations, and behaviors. Thus, in order to engage in true green innovation, we must first seek to understand the relative importance of all the different potential issues, solutions, and attributes related to energy and the environment. To complicate matters, this will all be set in the context of the particular opportunity space for which the innovation is targeted.
Once those insights are available, then creative problem-solving can identify solutions for those green wants and needs. In other words, the next level of innovation is rooted in green, not the core product or service opportunity space. To be truly innovative, to find the break-through green revenue or growth opportunities, will require a robust insights process focused on perceptual needs states related to green.
Through use of proven techniques, used in an innovative way, you can identify transformative opportunities for your business that are rooted in a fundamental understanding of your target customer's green wants or needs. By providing solutions that address deep-seated wants or needs, you create the basis for a fruitful and durable relationship.
Additionally, by developing a robust understanding of the issues in the green opportunity space, you will also identify ways to effectively communicate with, engage, and persuade your audience to purchase your product or service.
That has the potential to create entirely new revenue streams, and to enhance or reinvigorate the performance of existing products or services. It is a green world waiting to be explored.
Glennon Franklin is a Principal at Green Sight LLC, which provides actionable advice on green marketing strategy, innovation, and employee engagement in sustainable business practices. http://www.greensightllc.com
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