Outlook for Green Marketing Turns Cloudy

Before the economy slid into recession, green marketing was a hot trend. But financial pressures caused many consumers to cut back on all purchases, including spending on those more expensive green products. Is it still profitable to use a green marketing angle? Grail Research, a division of Integreon, has just published new research on this topic.

It turns out that about 43% of consumers, labeled ‘light green’, who previously purchased green have significantly reduced this part of their budget in recent years. While that’s a large decrease, researchers also discovered that the number of non-green consumers rose 7%, to 22% overall.  And, the number of light green consumers now stands at 60% which is also a drop from pre-recession years. For marketers who remain committed to being green, the most likely customer base is comprised of the 9% of consumers who call themselves dark green.

The chief reason for buying conventional products instead of green is cost. Researchers say that winning customers with green products will take more than labeling. These products must “demonstrate equal or better performance than conventional products.” To sell more green products, marketers should focus on packaging. Over half of consumers say that product packaging is a key influencer when they are shopping green. Marketers have an opportunity to use packaging to reduce the confusion shoppers currently have about green designations. Shoppers are reading recycling information about the product and packaging and looking evidence of natural ingredients to determine whether a product is green. Industry standardization regarding the measure of ‘greenness’ would appeal to shoppers and possibly increase product sales.

"The success and continued evolution of the green market will increasingly be determined by how well marketing messages resonate with consumers. It's no longer enough to just say you're green. Consumers now expect comparable value and performance." said Annica Blake, Global Head, Research Services at Grail Research.

[Source: The Green Evolution Report. Grail Research. 16 Nov. 2011. Web. 5 Dec. 2011]
Kathy Crosett
Kathy is the Vice President of Research for SalesFuel. She holds a Masters in Business Administration from the University of Vermont and oversees a staff of researchers, writers and content providers for SalesFuel. Previously, she was co-owner of several small businesses in the health care services sector.