A recent Deloitte study suggests that 40% of people choose brands that have sustainable environmental values and practices, and 37% choose brands that have ethical values and practices.
So it’s clear that there are huge opportunities for companies that prioritize sustainable and ethical business practices, and it’s one of the many reasons why many organizations have invested in integrating sustainability in their operations.
One area that is often overlooked when considering sustainability is marketing. There are several reasons for this, including the fact that marketing channels are difficult to measure.
A major exception to this is the digital-only trend. The “Save the Trees, Go Paperless” message is a classic case of greenwashing, one we print marketers know all too well.
With net zero goals to be achieved and growing consumer awareness of the impact of their buying behavior, it is extremely important to examine and integrate sustainability into marketing strategy: from purchase to your message.
Despite the breadth of research conducted by Mike Berners-Lee, the impact of marketing channels such as social media and email is difficult to accurately determine. Other channels like direct mail are more measurable.
At Webmart, we identified that there was an opportunity to develop carbon
calculators for printing and delivering mail. The solution, Enviromail, provides climate-friendly mail delivery and means our customers can align their sustainability efforts in their offering with how they communicate this with their customers.
That’s not to say brands shouldn’t use a channel because it’s not precisely quantifiable and can’t be reported on.
By looking at how your customers interact with your brand, then adapting your marketing mix accordingly, maintain your engagement without excessive touchpoints or footprint.
Integrating sustainability into your marketing buying strategy, beyond cost, ensures that you align with agencies and companies that add value to your overall sustainability strategy. Just as with supply chains, partnering with organizations that share your philosophy will provide opportunities
for the collaboration and the sustainability of the marketing partnership.
When it comes to messaging, we know historically that consumers respond to marketing that demonstrates how your product or service adds value to them.
It is increasingly important to communicate how these meet consumer expectations in terms of sustainability.
Many brands also rely on their consumer tracking to raise awareness of issues that matter to the brand and the actions they take to support it.
Tony’s Chocoloney uses its social media platforms to raise awareness about slavery in cocoa harvesting. Their brand is all about making chocolate production 100% slave-free and are very transparent about their own progress, while being an industry disruptor and calling out competitors.
Their message resonates with their audience on several notes: it raises awareness of the human impact of harvesting cocoa for chocolate, it shows that their chocolate production is actively fighting the problem, and it establishes itself as a sustainable leader in their sector. This approach to raising awareness of their brand and mission is having a huge impact and has been instrumental in their rapid growth.
Marketing is an important function for most businesses, so it’s important to approach it with a focus on sustainability, just as you would with any other area of your operations.
Not only does this put you at the forefront of sustainability, but it’s also the right thing to do.
Simon Biltcliffe is founder and CEO of Webmart Ltd