At the end of the last century, the world intensively started to pay attention to the environment, and at the same time the need for a healthier diet developed. There was a fundamental change in public consciousness that nature is not something that is God-given, but the only home that must be fostered and preserved. World governments reacted by introducing legal regulations which in turn stimulated the development of businesses related to this industry. “Environmental marketing”, “Organic marketing” or “Green marketing” are some of the terms used in marketing of products that are beneficial to the environment.
The difficulties about definition
Nineties of the last century were called “environmental decade” because the environmental and social care significantly affected the purchasing decisions of consumers. The concern for the environment in which we live and the needs of customers for green products have led to the development of green marketing. Definition of this type of marketing creates a challenge in itself, because its definition in commercial, social and environmental terms have somewhat contradictory meanings. Marketing of products that are presumed to be safe for man’s environment is a commercial definition, developing and marketing of products that have minimal negative impacts to the environment or to improving of its quality is a sociological definition, and ecological definition applies to organizations that promote, produce and pack products that are appropriate and acceptable for the environment.
Identification of consumer
Green marketing covers a wide range of activities that includes the modification of products, processes, packaging and advertising. First, it is important to locate and identify the consumer, then assess how this group of consumers is informed, and what additional training is needed to expand and strengthen it. If we observe the demographics of buyers of environmentally friendly products, women are more interested in the environment than men, often buy organic products and women are more engaged in sorting waste for recycling.
However, both sexes are equally represented in the activities of preserving the environment in which we live. Also, people with higher incomes and higher levels of education, and therefore greater access to information, often pay more attention to organic products and the environment. Psychological indicators of consumers tell us that people with conservative values do not want to complicate their life with the changes or do not want to be part of something that does not comply with basic standards. Therefore, they are not open to changes in standards and purchase green products. On the other hand, people who buy organic products attach more importance to internal values such as happiness and personal fulfillment, while people who are not fond of buying such products respect more external values such as sense of belonging, security and respect. Observing the behavior of customers who use green products to a large extent has shown that the opinion of other people, states and environmental groups have huge impact of them. They also have a strong identity and high degree of concern for the environment.
A group of customers called “Green activists” is definitely the target group, because they have the highest educational level, work in highly skilled jobs and have the highest incomes. However, sometimes they also show high skepticism about the promotional and marketing claims.
Generally, customers in the world do not base purchasing decisions on the basis of its position on the environment, even though it is present somewhere. Of course, if the target audience is more informed about the problems in the ecology, it has the greater influence on purchase.
Concept of development
The concept of green products, companies and marketing is still in its infancy and requires a vision that will track activity. Attitudes of management and strategy dictate strict enforcement of business policy. It is very important to develop a sense of environmental responsibility within the company and clearly transfer it to the customer.
Whether that means to start setting up recycling bins on each floor of a company or an ambitious green office building, each company can decide for itself and in accordance with their possibilities. What is important that employees must act according to environmental management vision. It should be noticed that there have been a change in values and allocation of the new customer segment where the quality is more important than the quantity. Short term is not important as long-term , and people no longer think through “I” than through “we” . Accordingly, a new vision of the company will go in line with this modern opinion of the consumer society.
Since the production of green standards in the companies is financially demanding, it is important to find a way how to lead these costs to a minimum that it would not be too much reflected in the price of products. It is also necessary to educate target audiences about what is necessary for the production and about all its benefits.
Product positioning is necessary to justify the price, but also to be set up as a market leader. From this, naturally follows the excellent positioning in the value system of the customer. What makes your product unique and has it the targeted costumer? What makes it practical and affordable? The positioning must not rely solely on the environmental benefits, but it should be qualified as added value of the products. In short, a reference to a person’s environmental awareness and the value will not sell the product. Still, the primary criteria for purchasing a product are physical accessibility of products, price and comfort, while the ecology is secondary. Now, when we are at the beginning of the placement of green products, it is necessary to educate consumers as a part of marketing campaigns. It is necessary to emphasize the practical benefits to the consumer in advertising your organic product. A large number of green products have become a part of the massive use because of its practicality, such as for example energy-efficient machines . They should not be regarded as environmental benefits, rather through the practical value for customers.
Being first is a big advantage
Green marketing is a challenge. Globally, sincere concern for the environment and taking care of a healthy diet will accelerate the process. This will surely help companies in their efforts to environmentally round up their business and help customers choose the right products.
The specificity and complexity of ecological marketing will require major changes in most companies that start from strategy management, product planning through to the role of advertising in environmental management. The benefit of this is the fact that only the development of the entire environmental industry resists global crisis.