Women More Receptive to Green Marketing Messages

As U.S. marketers continue to increase spending on product development and marketing aimed at environmentally conscious consumers, a new study by leading research firm Radius Global Market Research shows that there's a good chance that green marketing efforts targeting men may be falling on deaf ears. 

"More and more dollars are being dedicated to green marketing initiatives built to associate brands with environmental responsibility," says Chip Lister, Managing Director of Radius. "But our survey results show that in spite of this increase in spending, the majority of men are not significantly influenced by environmental responsibility when they make a purchase."

The Radius Know More internet panel survey asked U.S. consumers to rate brand attributes across a broad range of products and services in terms of the amount of influence they had on their decision to purchase.

Results show that when it comes to environmental responsibility, women consumers are much more receptive to marketing messages. A brand's reputation for being "green" matters nearly twice as much to women as it does to men.

KEY DIFFERENCES BETWEEN GENDERS

Women place importance on a wider range of brand values than do men.  Both men and women ranked the same three issues as having the most influence over purchases: (1) Value; (2) Quality; and (3) Trust.  After that, however, men appear to be influenced little by any other brand values.

"We found that the value men and women place on environmental responsibility is part of a much broader pattern," says Lister. "Men are influenced by a much smaller set of brand attributes when they make purchase decisions.  Marketers that stray too far from these core attributes run the risk of not being heard. By contrast women seem readily affected in their brand decisions by issues that could almost be considered 'bigger', certainly well outside the more direct or tangible deliverables offered by the brand/​product."

KNOWLEDGE IS KEY

A new study commissioned by SC Johnson examines how American consumers' environmental knowledge affects their actions and behaviors.  According to the 20th Anniversary Green Gauge survey, 75% of American consumers say they feel good when they take steps to help the environment, a positive sentiment that is reflected by their increased environmental actions.

The survey findings show that Americans are both increasingly knowledgeable about environmental impacts and crave more information. Typically, lack of environmental knowledge is one of the most cited barriers to personal engagement with protecting the environment. In 1990, 39% of American consumers surveyed admitted that they were very confused about what's good and what's bad for the environment; while in 2011, the number of people with the same response dropped to 18%.

Survey data shows that influencing behavior change is possible, and when compared to 1990, Americans are now two times as likely to sort trash to separate garbage from recyclable materials and buy products made from or packaged in recycled materials. Both financial incentives and penalties (both ranked at 49%) have a greater influence on consumers' green behaviors than pressure from family, friends and government – with celebrities having the least reported impact at 7%.

[Source:  "Radius Know More survey."  Radius Global Market Research.  11 Oct. 2011.  Web.  20 Oct. 2011; "20th Anniversary Green Gauge survey."  GfK Roper Consulting/​SC Johnson.  4 Oct. 2011.  Web.  20 Oct. 2011.]