Today’s green industry business environment presents new hurdles not seen in the past. Market saturation, environmental criticisms, and changing customer needs, topped off by a rocky economy, make for a colossal mess of a marketplace.
To tackle these challenges, a blend of new and tried-and-true marketing techniques should be implemented into a business’s plan to stand above the competition regardless of wholesale or retail distinction.
Businesses should consider the following suggestions when making future marketing decisions.
1. Strategic planning
First things first, businesses must plan. How do establishments know where they are going if they don’t know where they have been? Strategic planning is the first essential step in catapulting sales. Businesses must assess where they are currently, define their audience, set goals and objectives, then place milestone tasks that complete those goals or objectives.
“In today’s hyper-competitive world, businesses need a strong strategy that has a consistent voice throughout the organization,” said Michele Baker Cuthbert, owner and creative director at Baker Creative, a full-service branding agency located in the Columbus area. “From marketing to sales to how it manages, that voice ultimately establishes the brand in the marketplace.”
Once a marketing plan is established, companies can track their progress from a starting point and make changes accordingly.
Flexibility is key. Just because a plan has been established does not mean it is permanent. Markets can be volatile and the ability to ebb and flow with it is essential to being profitable in the long run.
2. Public Relations
The green industry is often condemned for not being “green” enough. Plants provide an incredible return on investment environmentally, socially, and economically. A grassroots public relations campaign that tells about the measures the company is taking to ensure eco-friendliness is a powerful and cost-effective tool to proactively share the business’s message with the target audience. By conveying the message to the customer ahead of time, the company has the benefit of starting the conversation not just responding to it.
3. Collective and Cause Marketing
Collective marketing is a tactic that generates lots of enthusiasm for the greater industry but often falls short of funding due to costs involved in conducting such a campaign. A great alternative is cause marketing.
Consumers love to feel like they are making a difference when they buy. There is a reason why Susan G. Komen for the Cure is one of the most well-marketed foundations today. Special edition versions of almost any item in various colors can be found year-round to support virtually any cause imaginable and people love it! Customers feel empowered by aligning purchases with their personal beliefs.
Paul Ecke Ranch, the premier poinsettia grower, launched a cause marketing campaign in 2009 with the introduction of their Polar Bear poinsettia. For every cutting of the white holiday plant purchased, the poinsettia giant made a donation to preservation efforts spearheaded by Polar Bear International. One-hundred percent of the donations went toward education and relief operations in support of the endangered species.
Commissioned by Paul Ecke Ranch, Baker Creative developed a strategy that combined guerilla and cause marketing for the OFA Short Course at the Greater Columbus Convention Center in July. The strategy used was unexpected, grabbed attendees’ attention and generated traffic to highlight the Polar Bear poinsettia.
Baker Creative created huge paw prints directing OFA attendees from the door of the convention center to the Paul Ecke Ranch booth.
The campaign was a success. It drove more traffic to the booth than in previous years and increased awareness for the Polar Bear poinsettia.
“Cause marketing is a great tool to connect and communicate your company’s investment in the community,” Cuthbert said. “The emotional connection goes beyond the price of your product.”
4. Internet Technology and Social Media
More green industry companies are adding social media to their online marketing efforts in addition to comprehensive websites and e-newsletters. By utilizing online strategies, businesses can save on printing costs and resources that were formerly spent on paper promotion pieces and catalogs. An added bonus, the companies appear even more eco-friendly by cutting back on potential waste.
Social media strategies may be the hottest trend in marketing, but it comes with good reason. Companies connect directly with their clients, creating communication portals and one-to-one relationships. Not only can a retailer tell its customers about the latest sale, but they can also address complaints much faster than traditional methods. Wholesalers are able to keep up with the latest trends of the industry by observing the conversations conducted through social media via Facebook, Twitter and other platforms.
It’s a vast and confusing territory to navigate. Contact Baker Creative today to help you settle concerns commonly associated with the new technique and establish guidelines for whether it fits into your business’s plan.