What Is Green Marketing

The question on some minds today is, what is green marketing? With a tidal wave of interest now focusing on ways to cut energy consumption and at the same time be ecologically and environmentally correct, the answer to this question can be as varied as the solutions to the global warming debate. Eco marketing can essentially mean the push to raise the public consciousness regarding materials or products that are presumably environmentally safe or friendly. This broad brush moniker can cover a plethora of concepts. Packaging, fuel savings, advertising, building materials, manufacturing processes, and many other facets are included under the umbrella of green marketing ideas.

The now popular trend by many shoppers takes form in the seeking out of businesses that are truly organic or ecologically gracious in nature. So when asking what is green marketing, it may mean simply that the merchant has begun selling only enviormentally friendly products. Both online and onsite stores tout themselves as being "green" by selling everything from organic foods, soaps, gardening supplies and toothpaste, all the way biodegradable trash bags, and fluorescent light bulbs. Other services that will fall under the green marketing ideas shadow are those who assist in disposing of toxic materials, such as worn out electronics, tires, plastics, and other environmentally unfriendly products. New green marketing ideas will spring up exponentially to wrest a market share of a somewhat lucrative commerce interest.

There are some real issues facing the whole eco-friendly business segment at the moment. Products that are pushed on shoppers from this perspective aren't always really that friendly. Biodegradable doesn't always mean that it disappears back into the earth in a positive manner. Indeed some products with that label don't biodegrade at all. Other products that claim carbon offsetting do very little to just that. Since humans around the world leave a carbon emitting footprint through the use of electricity, automobiles, jet travel and other activities deemed as normal, at least to this point in history, products are now being announced as offsetting the carbon footprint to some degree or another. Yet because the term "carbon offsetting" has been used to generically without any testing to back the claim, the government has begun to look into modifying businesses' rights to use the term on products and services until more substantial proof is offered on such claims.

The idea of carbon offsetting has been one of the most popular green marketing ideas embraced by the more affluent consumers all around the world. This idea is based on the concept that a person can "bank" carbon offsetting activities that will negate other carbon producing ones. One prominent European politician recently announced that a private jet excursion, producing several tons of carbon dioxide emissions would be offset with eco friendly lighting at home and a donation to a firm that would plant a number of trees to soak up the carbon emissions of the plane trip. Thus the idea of buying carbon credits was born. To many observers, this kind of conscious salving seems to be a hypocritical way of continuing the excesses of wealth. "There is that maketh himself rich, yet hath nothing: there is that maketh himself poor, yet hath great riches." (Proverbs 13:7)

When the concept of eco-friendly products first began stepping onto the commerce stage in the 70's, very poorly conceived products, from supposed biodegradable detergents that still floated on the tops of rivers to water saving showerheads that barely offered a trickle of water, turned the public off to the idea of sacrificing convenience and annoyance in some cases, for the good of a cleaner earth. One of the answers to what is green marketing is inferior product designs that don't work nearly as well as their more toxic counterparts. To some degree, this perception still exists today, although thousands of products, particularly appliances have earned an energy rating that is a sought after paradigm for all others to achieve. There has been a marked advancement in the effectiveness of ecologically friendly products.

Green marketing ideas also include the move to supply more and more of the world's power through the responsible use of renewable energy resources such as wind, geothermal, hydro and solar power. Over half of all power customers in the United States have the option of choosing some sort of green power as part of their supply source. Depending on the location, choosing green power may actually mean a higher power bill, because of the cost utility companies must to invest in new ways to generate and transport the power. Over six hundred utility companies in thirty states offer green pricing options for their customers. While there is a premium place on these kilowatt hours, some people feel green power is one of the ways America can begin to end its dependence on fossil fuels.

Companies will forever be having to deal with ecological landmines in their advertising campaigns.When the question is asked what is green marketing,it is for certain not what one of America's largest fast food chains devised as a marketing gig in the recent past. For a summer incentive to come in for a meal, the chain offered miniature versions of the most fuel inefficient vehicles in the country. During the summer, children could collect eight different colors of the largest models of the car brand, sending the signal to some ecologically aware children that apparently the fuel crisis, real or contrived, had suddenly ended. Parents with real environmental concerns raised a fire storm of protest over the seemingly "ungreen" approach to the chain's marketing strategy. Like it or not, advertising executives will have to contend with the eco questions ever before them.

Viral Marketing Tools

Pathologic phenomenons have allowed the term "viral marketing strategy" to be created and added to the ever expanding language culture of business marketing. The use of the term viral is by no means a happenstance. Just as a virus can infect the human body and spread to various other locations in and outside the host, so does this incredibly ingenious business plan attempt to spread certain types of advertising through entire social networks by being passed along through witting or unwitting carriers. This plan is a highly specialized form of marketing that, to this point in time, has generally been contained to the 30 and younger age demographic. It is an internet business strategy that encourages viewers to pass on a video clip, picture, text or other communication device to as many other users as possible. Just as an airborne pathogen can spread like wildfire, so can the message, advertisement, or other communiqus move exponentially across the globe in a matter of hours or days.

The viral marketing tools of today have only been available since the advent of the social networking sites visited millions of times each day by a youthful demographic. One classic example of this type of viral strategy was a now famous website offering free email addresses and services with a message at the bottom of each email sent out to join and receive the same free service. It did not take too long for this particular ISP to become the most highly used among young people. Offering free or low cost goods and services is a hallmark of this type of advertising. This marketing ploy does not promise instant sales. Closure may happen months down the road. But as services are given away, more and more interest can be developed for products and services laden with a price later on.

There are some important features that must be part of a viral marketing strategy. The first, as mentioned, is to give free things away. The second is to ensure that the message can be passed easily. Large video clips or other huge programs that need massive amounts of power and memory to run are instantly ruled out by those who are savvy webmasters. The whole idea of catching a cold with a simple cough or sneeze from someone else is a principle to be remembered. Ease of communicability is key. "Thou through thy commandments hast made me wiser than mine enemies: for they are forever with me." (Psalm 119:98)

When one considers viral marketing tools, the two large social networking websites are preeminent in thought. The current thought in viral marketing is to embed carefully crafted ads within the pages of these websites that will create real buzz. Now this might mean not so much selling a product as to ask highly provocative questions that will lead to community discussions about the product or ideas or even a political stance. The demographic that uses these sites was born into the video age and as such, the best tools are usually video clips that might even end up on one of the national news networks. Outrageous, weird, obnoxious or just funny clips are reasons why users want to pass along the viewing experience to friends and family members. Discussions, buzz, skeptical minds and anger may all be used as emotional hot buttons to fuel a viral strategy. After all, not only product selling but actual social action can be fueled by such an ad campaign.

When considering a viral marketing strategy, there are many low cost or no cost ideas to help drive one's business. For example, at the end of every email that is sent, a request to visit a particular website can be very effective. Creating an e-book that others can download and read is a possibility. Giving away free services with an ad attached can be another way to use viral marketing tools as part of an internet strategy as well as creating discussion forums with the presence of an ad or ads. Whatever the tools used, the desired action is to have the information passed along social networks and have the ads read with a response.

Of course, this discussion so far has centered on viral marketing strategy on the internet. It is, in most cases, the most powerful way of creating an exponential spread of desired information in the shortest amount of time. However, this strategy can also be used offline and has been the favorite of publicists, public relations people and even agents of sports figures as well and stage and screen actors. Readers of magazines and newspapers, long before the internet was created, have been the witting or unwitting "virus carriers" of publicity schemes. Whenever a public persona's star begins to fall, viral marketing tools such as indiscrete photos, mug shots, or singing the national anthem off key can reignite a faltering career as viewers by the millions "buzz" about the images around the water coolers at work.

When it comes down to the nuts and bolts, viral marketing tools are just a reinventing of the wheel. People have always been curious, enjoying showing others for the first time what they have already discovered, lovers of the sensational, the mysterious and the odd. As long as human beings remain as they are, spreading viruses by sneezing, coughing, clicking a mouse or reading a gossip magazine will always be part of a viral marketing strategy.

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