Green Marketing – Joel Makower’s Excellent Wrap Up

gmarketing.jpgIn looking for a topic on Green Marketing this week, I came upon Joel Makower’s excellent wrap up and critique of the entire concept on WorldChanging.
Makower talks about the disconect between polls and reality, mentioning the ‘Green Gauge Report’ as being particularily over-optimistic. That report suggests that 48% of consumers are making purchasing decisions based on some concern for the environment and in response to marketers decisions to label things as “organic” or “environmentally friendly”.
Makower suggests that a ratio known as the “30:3 ratio” may be more accurate. That number was coined by Wendy Gordon who suggests that 30% of consumers say they are concerned about the ethical and environmental impact of the purchases they make, but a mere 3% actually “walk-the-walk”. So what’s the problem?


Firms make an effort to market their products and philosophy as “green”, but are sometimes met with a derisuve “yawn” by consumers. An interesting example that Makower points out was the luke-warm reception to Philips super efficient “Earth Light” brand of light bulb. After lengthy surveys, customers were shown to have concern for environmenatl matters, but the longevity of the lightbuld was paramount. Funnily enough, changing the brand’s name to “Marathon” was all it took to ressurect sales.
Toyota has learned that touting the Prius for it’s money saving efficiency has been far more important in winning over customers thatn advertising it for its “green” benefits, although they have been increasingly making mention of their pro-active environmental stance.
Makower ends the article with 17 takeway messages for successful “green marketing”. Among the most important – “Link environmental innovations to other benefits, like quality and durability” & “Make environmental messages consistent with the company‚Äôs existing voice in the marketplace.”

Nick Aster is a new media architect and the founder of TriplePundit.com

TriplePundit.com has since grown to become one of the web's leading sources of news and ideas on how business can be used to make the world a better place.

Prior to TriplePundit Nick worked for Mother Jones magazine, successfully re-launching the magazine's online presence. He worked for TreeHugger.com, managing the technical side of the publication for 3 years and has also been an active consultant for individuals and companies entering the world of micro-publishing. He earned his stripes working for Gawker Media and Moreover Technologies in the early days of blogging.

Nick holds an MBA in sustainable management from the Presidio School of Management and graduated with a BA in History from Washington University in St. Louis.