What is Green Marketing? - Definition & Characteristics

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  • 0:03 What Is Green Marketing?
  • 3:21 Credibility & Empowerment
  • 4:12 Education
  • 4:35 Integration
  • 5:09 Marketing Mix
  • 5:26 Lesson Summary
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Lesson Transcript
Instructor: Beth Hendricks

Beth holds a master's degree in integrated marketing communications, and has worked in journalism and marketing throughout her career.

What stands out about green marketing? In this lesson, we'll explore what green marketing is and the various types of characteristics necessary to make it function to benefit both a business and the consumer.

What Is Green Marketing?

Chances are, you've seen a green marketing campaign or two and didn't even realize it. For example, in 2014, Tide launched its #TurnToCold marketing campaign, encouraging consumers to make the change from washing their clothes in hot water to washing in cold water. According to Tide, switching to cold water is an energy- and cost-saver which, in turn, benefits the environment. They even developed a detergent called Tide Coldwater Clean formulated to work better in cold water washes.

TOMS offers another example of green marketing. The popular shoe manufacturer orchestrated a Project Holiday campaign, with the goal of donating a pair of shoes to children in Ethiopia for each pair (up to 30,000) sold. The green marketing initiative was so successful, Toms surpassed its goal by more than 20 percent, without spending a dime in advertising.

Additionally, auto industry giant Toyota has made green practices not only part of its marketing, but its entire corporate culture. In addition to offering hybrid vehicles, Toyota has gone a step further by implementing green practices into its manufacturing and letting the public know about it. It has featured fast facts about its accountability on its website, including stats like ''93 million gallons of water saved in North America through water savings projects.''

Do any of these examples give you an idea what is meant by green marketing? No, it's not the color green, specifically, but the use of the word 'green' to signify a company's commitment to environmental values.

Green marketing is not simply the act of giving lip-service to loving the environment, but really making an effort, whether in designing products, offering services, or building a corporate culture that has a significant impact on the environment and the world around us.

The concept of green marketing goes beyond the simple, ''Buy me!'', type of advertising or selling, and not only tells the consumer about the product, but why it aligns with things that the consumer finds important. That might include:

  • Recyclable packaging
  • Sustainable manufacturing or design
  • Free of toxins and chemicals

Many companies are moving toward green marketing as part of their organization's overall social responsibility. The idea behind social responsibility is that a company behaves in such a way that it is aware of, and behaves sensitively toward, concerns facing society, culture, and the environment. Maybe a business is able to reduce its energy consumption or has developed practices that make all of its packaging more Earth-friendly. Green marketing, then, is certainly one way to project an organization's social responsibility out into the world. Green marketing is particularly important in industries where consumers are focused on sustainability and more environmentally-friendly consumption, such as automobiles and foods.

Surprisingly? Green marketing is not for everyone, so companies must weigh whether their consumers are more - or less - motivated to make purchases or be loyal to a brand by green practices. If they think their customers will be attracted to green marekting, then a blueprint for green marketing might include any, or all, of the following components:

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