Target smart to snare green buyers

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Mike San Fratello
Mike San Fratello

Being “green” is all the buzz today. It's what consumers want, right? Unfortu­nately for marketers, what consumers say compared to what they do can often be very different. Do you know anyone that is in favor of harsh, forced, child labor in Third World countries? Yet, most people go for the cheapest goods and don't often know where they're manufactured. Fewer still base purchase decisions on it.

We all respond to branding in three ways: What we know (or think we know) about a brand; how we feel about a brand; and how we act, i.e., by purchasing a product of that brand.

What we know (or think we know) about a brand is how we connect rationally with it. As a consumer, I may become aware of green positioning of a brand, and over time begin to associate it as an integral part of how a company does business.

How I feel about a “green” brand will de­pend on the importance of environmental issues to me. How I act will be driven by what I know and how I feel. It isn't a lin­ear relationship. What I know will affect how I feel, and what I feel will affect what I remember. So, what's the best way to target green consumers? Find those buying green today. With targeting efforts, you'll be able to improve response rates by using the following tactics:

First, test new “green” and “environmen­tally sensitive” segmentation that is being introduced by various data providers.

Second, for current customers, segment and target prospects based on past and cur­rent purchase behavior. Green branding efforts can still be focused on non-buyers, but direct marketing results will be maxi­mized by focusing on current buyers.

Third, when building custom market data sources via primary market research, capture market awareness, feelings toward your brands or products and current pur­chase activity. This can be used to model and project findings to like segments.

Our research has shown that while not quite as simple as you might first think, it is possible to find new green prospects and improve return on direct marketing efforts.

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