- able to be maintained at a certain rate or level.
- able to be upheld or defended.
The word sustainable has been thrown around left and right in recent years with people waking up to the very real effects of climate change on our daily lives and our future generations. Individuals are using this word to change their lifestyles, looking to live a “sustainable life”, which creates less waste and carbon emissions.
While companies and brands are using this word to change the way things have always been done, releasing new products made out of recycled materials, lowering their emissions, buying carbon offsets, becoming more transparent with their impact and much more.
When it comes to marketing, what does it mean to be sustainable?
Marketing is notoriously not sustainable. It’s what many companies refer to as a money pit, sucking up many resources unable to scale or sustain most marketing campaigns and strategies. What’s worse is that most companies are not even aware of the return on investment for their marketing dollars. All they know is if they turn the machine off then sales take a drop, but what works best, which channel has the lowest cost per acquisition, it’s all a mystery.
This is precisely why the word sustainable is starting to become known in the marketing world. Sustainable marketing is built on a solid foundation of data, scalable long term strategies and repeatable processes. Discover the top 5 reasons why your brand needs to ditch traditional marketing and move to sustainable marketing!
1. It doesn’t cost more
You can no longer throw money at your marketing problems and cross your fingers to fix them. Technology is being forced to make changes for the benefit of the consumer, giving them more privacy, less personalization and intrusive ad experiences. People want to feel in control of their data and purchasing decisions, they are doing more research when deciding on a brand so click bait will no longer do the trick.
Take Ecosia in the image above, they are solving user’s challenge to make an impact while living their normal day-to-day lives. This search engine works just as Google but all of their profits go towards planting trees so your searches turn into a positive impact for our planet. One low-cost sustainable marketing strategy they use is simply stating that searching will plant trees in the search bar and showing below the number of trees planted.
Instead of investing heavily into ad campaigns your brand needs to focus on providing immense value. Answer these questions to get started. We have provided a sample for a sustainable yoga mat brand.
- Who is your target audience? What challenges do they face? What are they passionate about? What are they actively looking for?
- e.g. 85% Women, 15% Men who are very active, interested in wellness and living a healthy lifestyle. They struggle to find time and ideas to cook healthy, vegetarian meals and live more sustainably. They also value community and can struggle to find a network of like-minded people. They are passionate about making a positive impact and many may be trying to make a career change that reflects their values.
- What can you offer your target audience to solve their problems and connect with their passions beyond your product or service?
- e.g. Content on quick and easy, healthy recipes, especially vegetarian focused. Guides on how to live more sustainably and what life changes they can make to have the largest impact. Connect the audience with each other to build a larger supportive community. Partner with other brands with complementary products and similar values to introduce your audience to their solution and vice versa.
Making the switch to sustainable marketing won’t break the bank. Instead, it will simply require moving your budget to a more innovative strategy that is customer focused and value driven. This will require that you dive into your target audience’s challenges, passions and values to determine the best solution you can provide that will build true loyalty.
2. It’s reliable, measurable and scalable
Sustainable marketing means that it is built to last. For any strategy to last it’s value to your business will need to be proven. To get started you will need to focus on the foundation, specifically the technology and processes that you will use to track all your activities and results. Follow these steps to turn your marketing from traditional to sustainable:
- Build the foundation: Identify the best marketing technology stack including tracking, CRM, social, email, etc.
- Identify the value that sustainable marketing strategies will provide to the target audience, what problems will you solve?
- Run tests and get feedback from your target audience to ensure the values you’ve chosen are correct
- Once the main values are identified put in place the processes to scale these solutions such as a workflow for creating and sharing content, nurture streams to share relevant information, community engagement calendars and automation, etc.
3. Tortoise or the hare? Be the tortoise
We all know the story of the tortoise and the hare, where the hare runs as fast as he can the tortoise takes his time and ends up finishing first. With a sustainable marketing strategy you’re not cutting corners or creating a house of cards. Instead, you are building a strong base and framework for your brand and marketing strategy.
Creating lasting value and engagement takes time, this isn’t a pill you can take and feel the effects within 30 minutes. It’ll take longer but it will also last longer allowing you to win over the brands who are just trying to run as fast as they can no matter what that means to their brand values.
4. Engagement is long-term
Building marketing strategies that are customer-value driven means that you don’t have to be sharing constant discounts to keep users engagement and coming back to your brand. When you communicate with your audience it’s to share real value instead of trying to simply get likes or clicks.
Problem-solving high quality content that you share today will continue to be shared and read years into the future. On that note, the keywords you use in that content will also continue to position your brand in search engines. Even further, the communities that you build and nurture will continue to engage with each other even if you take a day off so you don’t need to depend on blasting out information constantly to increase and maintain engagement.
5. First Impression might be all you need
As the saying goes, first impressions are everything. In marketing we used to be able to rely on intrusive technology to stalk our users until we get them to convert… or hate us. With google changing its cookie policies and user’s demanding data privacy we cannot rely on these retargeting solutions to reach our target.
Instead, we need to hyper-analyze user experience with our brand from every possible channel, making sure from the first touch that our values and solutions are clearly aligned with our target. Take the image above displaying Blue Land’s home page, right away showing how they care about making this planet cleaner!
Optimizing your first impression is extremely scalable and sustainable, avoiding a classic “leaky bucket” situation where many brands collect data and user interest but miss the mark when it comes to building user experience. Once you build the experience that speaks to your target’s values their loyalty is a natural side-effect.