By Geri Stengel
I just finished reading Guerrilla Marketing Goes Green: Winning Strategies to Improve Your Profits and Your Planet by Jay Conrad Levinson and Shel Horowitz. Though not a new book, I was struck by it’s relevance as the Occupy Wall Street movement continues to gain strength.
The gist of the OWS message is: Don’t be greedy. Share and care and we’ll all be better off.
Consumers have had it with corporate greed; their rage is spilling into the streets around the world. The book couldn’t be more of the moment. It lays out a compelling case against the need for corporations to be greedy. The research proves that being socially responsibility is good for the bottom line:
- Consumers prefer to buy from socially responsible companies.
- Companies that are socially responsible perform as well or better in the markets.
- Investors are shifting more dollars to socially responsible companies.
- Employees of socially responsible companies are more productive and loyal.
Truth be told, customers fall in love with socially responsible companies and when they do, they act like an unpaid sales force, which results in lower marketing expenditures, greater customer loyalty, and a willingness to pay higher prices.
What struck me most is that socially responsible companies use the same marketing techniques as less responsible companies. However, the techniques are more effective for socially responsible companies because they tend to provide great customer service; offer high quality, valuable products and services; and deliver more than what they promise.
But companies that boast of their quality, integrity, and honesty must be more ethical in the marketing vehicles they choose. Today’s permission-based media are a perfect fit for socially responsible companies. Customers opt into your email list and your social networks. They want to hear from you.
Of course, it’s not just about the marketing, it’s about the message, too. Honesty and integrity must be woven into everything you say, from the customer service rep who answers the phone with a smile on her face to the message in your ads.
My wish for the holidays is that next year, Occupy Wall Street will be only a fond memory, because the message will have gotten through: Care about all stakeholders, from stockholders to employees, from the environment to the community. We, the consumers, will repay your efforts.
If you want to know how your company can market its social responsibility, Ventureneer is hosting a free webinar presented by Shel Horowitz, one of the authors of Guerrilla Marketing Goes Green.
Geri Stengel is founder of Ventureneer, which connects values-driven small business owners with the knowledge they need to make the world a better place and to thrive as businesses.