Globalization and industrialization have been cited as major causes of environmental degradation, global warming and increased climate problems experienced in the world today. For this reason, any move focused towards a more sustainable development is welcomed with much anticipation and authenticity. Many companies are aware of this fact and are now striving to produce products which are eco-friendly in order to attract and maintain consumers. This process of producing and selling products with regard to their environmentally friendly nature is what is known as green marketing.
This research paper seeks to address ways in which the implementation of the green marketing strategy is helping companies to enhance their product offerings and improve their images both locally and internationally. From the extensive data reviewed from contemporary researches carried out on several green companies in the U. S, it is clear that green marketing if properly implemented in any company can help to improve the sales as well as increase the company's competitive advantage in the local and global markets.
However, a lot of caution is needed as any false claim or contradiction may spell doom for the company's brand name and image. Green Marketing. Although no consumer product can be proved to have a zero impact on the environment, some products or services have greater impacts than others. The term Green product is used to describe products which have less negative effects on the natural environment in terms of energy conservation, reduction of release of toxic products, wastes and release of polluting substances to the environment.
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Green marketing is defined as the process of selling goods and services based on the benefits they confer to the environment (Denton, 2004). Such products may be environmentally friendly themselves or the way in which they are packaged is environmentally friendly. The concept of green marketing dates back several decades ago to the mid 1970s when leading manufacturers such as Patagonia, Body Shop, Ben and Jerry's among others first adopted this strategy to improve their sales and overcome competition in the local and international markets (Bennett, Freierman and George, 2003).
The major assumption of green marketing is that the potential customers of such products or services will be more attracted to buy them due to their environmental friendly nature. It also assumes that customers are always willing to pay more for the green products than for the other alternative products. This assumptions are however still unproven although the last few years has seen this strategy become more popular with more and more customers willing to add extra dollars to buy such green products.
Green marketing has thus proved to be a very powerful strategy for marketing companies' products and services. However, these strategy can at times be dangerous. For instance, the public is quite skeptical about the green claims and thus if a company decides to use such claims and they are later discovered to be false or contradicted, the company name stands a risk of being tarnished and its products rejected. For this reason, many green products have either highly succeeded or failed drastically in the market for the last one decade or so.
From contemporary evidence, companies which are able to successfully adopt the green marketing strategy produce products which are able to penetrate into both the mainstream markets as well as the lucrative markets. Such products earn higher premiums by offering extra services to the consumers such as convenience and better performance (Denton, 2004). Green marketing must satisfy two main objectives. That is, companies must strive to improve the quality of the environment while at the same time satisfying the needs of their customers.
This two objectives must be balanced taking care not to underestimate or overemphasize one over the other a situation which would lead to what is known as green marketing myopia (Kirbourne and Beckman, 2006). There are three key factors which a company must consider for the successful implementation of the green marketing strategy. First, the company must be genuine and ensure that all the green claims it makes are honest and viable. In this case, the company must carry out extensive green marketing campaigns and ensure that all its business policies are in line with its campaigns.
Secondly, the company must educate its customers on the importance of such campaigns and how they can contribute towards an environmentally sustainable development by buying such products. Lastly, the company should give its customers a chance to participate in the campaigns as this will help to personalize the benefits of the environmentally friendly actions (Rosenberger and Ottman, 2005). How companies are using the Green marketing strategy. Due to the increased public concerns over global warming and climate change, many companies especially those located in highly industrialized nations such as the U.
S have been forced to adopt the green marketing strategy in order to attract and maintain their customers while at the same time trying to combat this global problems. Companies which have not yet implemented this strategy are at a risk of being scrutinized under certain legislative laws as well as loss of their brand reputation which would have very negative impacts on their sales (Walker and Hanson, 2007). Implementation of green marketing gives a company the opportunity to increase their sales, enhance their product offerings, improve on their brand equity and enhance their image.
In addition to these, promoting environmentally friendly products confers several benefits to the company. These includes; a higher competitive advantage over other companies which have not implemented the strategy, it prepares the company to any future regulations which might be imposed to the increasing climate changes, improves the company's profile and image both locally and internationally and it helps to attracts and maintain customers. Improved image. Image is a very powerful marketing tool in business. It affects a consumer's behavior, beliefs and choices.
By adopting the green marketing campaigns, a company is perceived to be sensitive to issues concerning the environment and to problems affecting the globe such as global warming. Being branded as a green company generates a positive image to the public and this improves the sales and revenue collected by the company. In addition, a company which is well known to be eco-friendly stands a chance of higher recognition both locally and internationally and may even be awarded with great recognition prizes such as the Nobel Peace Prize for its contribution towards a more sustainable environment.
A study carried out on green companies in the U. S by Goldman Sachs in 2007 shows that such companies are often considered to be ethical and for this reason, they highly outdo their competitors in their respective sectors. In fact, the study discovered that such companies had outperformed the MSCI index by more than 25 percent due to a good image and a healthy brand name (Walker and Hanson, 2007). Improved product offerings. Green marketing often involves product development and an overall reorganization of the whole manufacturing process to meet the requirements and specifications for sustainable green products.
This calls for improved research methods, change of the mode of packaging, modifications on the way of advertising the products and the employment newer technological methods which enhance the production of higher quality products. Whether such products come about as a result of careful market research or due to inherent unfolding of the company's commitment towards a cleaner and greener environment becomes irrelevant as long as the company leaps huge benefits at the end of it all. In this case, a company which uses the green marketing strategy offers better products to its consumers than the rest.
For instance, green products have shown at least five significant benefits over the non-green consumer value. This includes improved efficiency and cost-effectiveness, better performance, increased safety and a health advantage to the consumer, higher status and lastly, greater product convenience. This is thus beneficial to the company as well as to its customers. Green marketing incorporates many changes in terms of the product offerings. In addition, the implementation of the green marketing strategy, helps a company to minimize its wastes and manage the process of waster disposal effectively.
As a result, the company is able to reduce the operation costs and improve their productivity leading to higher product offerings. Conclusion. As the needs and preferences of the customers continue to evolve with time, their demands are bound to change as well. With the increased concerns over threats posed to the environment by increased globalization and industrialization all over the world, a major responsibility is posed to the global manufacturers and companies to come up with a solution which will favor both the companies as well as the consumers.
The green marketing strategy seems like a very viable solution to many environmental problems although its implementation and sustainability is curbed by many challenges such as negative attitude from the consumers, high costs of implementation, risk of green marketing myopia and so forth. However, considering the benefits and the market credibility which come with its effective implementation, it can be concluded that green marketing is a strategy worth some valuable consideration.
References. Bennett, J. ; George, S. (2003). Corporate Realities and Environmental Truths.New York: John Wiley ; Sons, Inc Denton, D. K. (2004). Enviromanagement: How Smart Companies Turn Environmental Costs Into Profits. Englewood Cliffs, NJ: Prentice-Hall, Inc. Kilbourne, W. ; Beckman, S. (2006). Review and Critical Assessment of Research on Marketing and the Environment. Journal of Marketing Management, 14(6), pp. 513- 533. Rosenberger, P. ; Ottman, J. (2005). Developing Green Products: Learning from Stakeholders. American Journal of Marketing and Logistics, 10(1), pp. 22-44. Walker, R. ; Hanson, D. (2007). Green Marketing and Green Places: A Taxonomy for the
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