Sustainable marketing is everywhere these days. Businesses are designing new products and campaign materials built around the idea of sustainability, and businesses and consumers are buying them.
But what’s the big deal? Is sustainability really worth embracing in marketing?
It turns out it is. With younger generations driving a shift in market values, attitudes, and behaviors, an authentic sustainability push can help ethically scale your business. Here, we break down the details that are leading modern brands to embrace sustainability at scale.
Younger Generations are Driving a Shift in the Market
For commerce brands, decisions tend to be made where the money is. In the modern economy, that means with the up-and-coming generation known affectionately as Gen Z. Gen Z represents the demographic born between 1997 and 2012, a demographic that makes up an increasingly large portion of the market and buying power.
Gen Z now possesses an estimated $34 billion in spending power, a number that will only go up as these young men and women step into burgeoning careers and begin to accrue wealth. For now, their spending mostly revolves around fashion and food, making it especially important for marketers in these industries to pay attention to generational trends.
But all marketers must be aware of the shift that Gen Z is driving across global commerce. This shift is a social and environmental concern for sustainable practices. Younger generations want their brands to reflect their ethics, and this is increasingly shaping what they purchase.
Market research supports this analysis by revealing Gen Z values and what they’re willing to buy. For instance, climate change/protecting the environment was ranked as the top concern for Gen Z. Correspondingly, 73% of surveyed Gen Zers said they were willing to pay more for sustainable goods and services.
Never before has sustainability been such a huge factor for marketers to consider. In the future, the trend towards sustainable products is only likely to increase, as it has with every younger generation that enters the market. As Millennials and Gen Z begin to inherit the wealth of retiring Baby Boomers, embracing the green revolution will be a necessity for businesses of all industries.
But marketers must understand the value of sustainability lies in authenticity. If you’re caught greenwashing, you’re unlikely to increase your sales to any significant degree.
Authentic Sustainability Represents Real Value
Greenwashing is the act of claiming that a product or service is “sustainable” or “green” without having any real evidence to back that up. This occurs when companies care more about getting in on modern trends than actually making a difference in the way they do business. Customers, however, tend to see right through greenwashing.
During the early days of sustainable advertising, for instance, British Petroleum spent $200 million on rebranding and campaigning with new “green” imagery and statements. This campaign proved ultimately valueless when a clearly inauthentic approach to sustainability led to incredibly damaging oil spills. BP had to drop their green claims, without much to show for a $200 million price tag.
But authentic sustainability does the opposite. True sustainability balances the environment, economy, and people to produce improvements to the way we function as a society. This means reduced waste, reduced consumption of resources, and reduced output of toxic pollutants.
Sustainability, then, is perhaps only possible with the help of business analytics, which provides you the tools to collate and evaluate your data. Integrated effectively, business analytics allows organizations to save money, create revenue potential, and improve their adaptability. All this is possible through the breakdown of data trends into actionable insights that show where resources can be reused and energy consumption reduced.
Sustainability should be a role of all content on your platform. From native advertising to management styles, authentically sustainable marketing is marketing that makes sustainability a strategic priority and lays out specific goals. Forty-one percent of organizations that create value through their sustainable practices do so primarily because their strategies are clear, with focused and actionable priorities.
Authentic sustainability makes value growth possible. In turn, this proves to businesses that sustainability efforts are worthwhile.
Sustainability Efforts are Worthwhile
In short, the investments you make towards sustainability in business and marketing will be worth your time, because they’ll make a difference in your ability to adjust as needed to a rapidly changing economy. Sustainability is unique in its potential for businesses since implementing it can help you achieve all kinds of beneficial results.
Amidst the benefits you can experience from sustainable marketing are:
- Enhanced brand image
- Increased productivity
- Reduced costs of operation
- Greater ability to comply with regulations
- More interested partners, investors, and customers
But getting here requires a genuine approach. You’ll need to maintain authenticity in the strategies and tactics you employ during marketing if you hope to avoid greenwashing. Your strategy will be the overarching plan for implementing sustainability, while your tactics will consist of the day-to-day procedures you enact to achieve it. From the planning stage to follow-up evaluations, a commitment towards renewable, low-impact policies will help maximize the potential of your marketing efforts.
This is why brands today are embracing sustainable marketing across all industries. Get started now with your own future-focused policies that cut costs and attract new business. Sustainability means success, so ensure yours with authentic, intentional marketing.