What is Green Marketing?

By Leslie Vos for Learning Hub 

Today, we are concerned with environmental issues more than ever.Air pollution, plastic in oceans, global warming, and food waste — all are among the major threats, making us worry and think of being kinder to the planet. In support of environmental health, millions have joined LOHAS (Lifestyles Of Health And Sustainability), heavily purchasing socially responsible products – despite their higher cost.

Gripping the trend, companies are turning to a marketing strategy that helps to hook such consumers in, addressing their social responsibility and, therefore, influencing their purchasing decisions.This strategy is known as green marketing.

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‘Cheap Swag’: The Promo Industry and a Perception that Just Won’t Quit

by Sean Norris for Promo Marketing Magazine
January 24, 2019

On Friday, Nov. 2, 2018, Fast Company published an article titled “It’s time to stop spending billions on cheap conference swag.” The thesis was right there in the headline, direct and unambiguous. But the page title—the one that appears on your browser tab and in some Google search results—was even more unforgiving: “The $24B promotional products industry is an environmental nightmare.”

You can probably guess how the rest of the article went, but here’s the gist. The promo industry produces a lot of cheap, disposable goods, many of them overseas. Brands buy a ton of these items, slap their logos on them and hand them out at conferences. Attendees leave with bags full of junk they don’t want, and throw most of it away. With the planet on the brink of an ecological crisis and consumers (especially younger ones) increasingly drawn to experiences over stuff, brands should seriously consider alternatives to promotional products.

Or, more succinctly: “We could get rid of cheap swag altogether.”

 

It wasn’t exactly a flattering portrayal of the industry. And, needless to say, it didn’t just strike a chord in promo circles—it was like an entire orchestra blaring at once. PPAI issued a response within hours, addressing criticisms of the industry’s environmental footprint and challenging the assertion that people toss most promos they receive. A widely shared post from commonsku more or less agreed that the industry has some work to do, while pointing to the progress it has made and arguing that a particular passage in the article inadvertently proved how effective promotional products are. (More on that later.) Other industry voices contended that, actually, promotional products do work, and people love them, and nothing to see here.

It was encouraging to see such a swift, concerted response from industry leaders. And it was even more encouraging to see the article spark serious conversation and thoughtful self-reflection. Commonsku’s post, in particular, caught the attention of Elizabeth Segran, author of the Fast Company piece. “Read this with great interest,” Segran said in a Twitter reply to the post. “Thanks for writing it.”

It seemed like a relatively happy ending to what was unequivocally a bad look for the promotional products industry. Damage control was done. Civil discourse was had. And, in what may have been a first for Twitter, nuance was acknowledged and—it sounds crazy, I know—even appreciated. The industry acquitted itself well, and came out looking better for it. Mission accomplished. Crisis averted. Or was it?

When I talk to Segran a few days later, via email, the buzz surrounding the article has mostly died down in promo circles. But I want to know if the industry response had changed her mind, if the volley of statistics and counterpoints made her think differently about promotional products. It hadn’t—not really, anyway. She agreed that certain branded merchandise, the kind people seek out and pay for, wasn’t necessarily in the same class as the piles of stuff foisted upon people in convention 
halls. And she acknowledged that the small-but-growing number of companies producing sustainably and ethically sourced promotional products was a “good intermediate step.” But, for the most part, she stood firm.

“I actually do think that the broader promotional products industry is problematic—not just conference swag,” Segran tells me. “In the midst of the current environmental crisis, I think that producing products whose ultimate utility is not functionality, but to serve as a canvas for a brand to improve its recognition is not a great use of resources. There are so many creative, non-wasteful ways to communicate today, especially on social media. And of course, since utility is not the ultimate goal of these products—since they are ultimately just billboards—they are often made cheaply, which makes them somewhat disposable. I still think there are far better ways to develop brand recognition and loyalty that aren’t as destructive to the earth.”

Segran’s not some college freshman with a Tumblr blog and a bunch of blind idealism. She’s written extensively about fast fashion and its social and environmental impacts. She’s been published in The Atlantic, Foreign Policy, The Nation, The New Republic and more. She’s got a Ph.D. from UC Berkeley. She knows her shit. And, more importantly, she’s the voice of the modern consumer. Writing her opinion off as an outlier would be a bad idea. Shrugging and forgetting about it would be worse. Do either, and you’ll only end up with more articles like hers, more people nodding in agreement as they read along. Her viewpoints on sustainability might have been extreme 10 years ago. Now, they’re commonplace.

And, besides, to ignore the criticism would be to ignore the bigger challenge for the promo industry, one that the responses and reactions and discussions in the aftermath of Segran’s article hinted at but never quite hit on: Despite the best efforts of a handful of forward-thinking companies, organizations and individuals, the perception that promotional products are mostly cheap novelty stuff—the proverbial trinkets and trash—is alive and well. And, more than that, it’s a perception rooted in reality.

“The industry is nowhere near close to doing enough,” Tim Brown, MAS, executive director of Quality Certification Alliance, the industry corporate social responsibility accreditation organization, tells me. “Moreover, in some cases, it is a reality, not a perception. The industry trade association and other organizations such as ours are continuously shouting the message of value and responsible sourcing. Yet, no matter 
what industry representatives—the trade association and others—do, ultimately it is up to industry practitioners to own it, which to this point only a select few truly do.”

The question is, how do you get 23,000-plus promo businesses to own it—and what happens if you can’t?

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B2B Marketing Strategies For The New Year

By Tom Tauli for Forbes Magazine

Marketing in the B2B world is always tough. Let’s face it, the topics can be a bit dry, at least compared to the consumer segment.

So with the year coming to a close, it’s a good idea to think about new approaches. What are customers looking for? What will resonate?

To get some answers to these questions, I reached out to various marketing experts. Here’s what they had to say:

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When Chicago Gives You Lemons, It’s Time to Make Lemonade

Beginning February 1st, 2017, a checkout tax of 7 cents per bag was officially added at all Chicago retailers, from massive chain stores to mom-and-pops — as the city’s latest bid to curb the use of disposable bags.

While city retailers get ready to administer this new tax, consumers need to start gearing up to bring their own bags… or foot the bill. So you’re probably wondering why we brought this up. You have enough to deal with, why would you want to be bothered by this?

What if there was a silver lining? What if the Chicago bag tax was actually beneficial for you and your business.

Surprise surprise, it is!

Through investing in reusable bags, not only are you promoting your brand as being socially responsible and caring about the state of our planet, but you’re saving money and branding your business all at the same time. It’s a win-win-win situation… for you.

According to Ipsos, a global independent market research company, 71% of adults consider themselves aware of the positive or negative impact the products they buy have on the environment, with 57% stating that this is something they consider on a daily basis. This presents you with an opportunity… to show your customers that you share their concern, and that by trusting your brand, they are a supporting a company that is actively involved in improving the state of our environment.

Today, more than ever, people are taking an active role in the purchase of Eco-friendly and sustainable products. So it makes sense for your business to clasp onto that passion and promote it with your own logo.

Still not impressed?

BAG

Not only are they beneficial on an ethical level, but they also have an advantage when it comes to aesthetic. Reusable bags come in a variety of shapes, sizes, and colors, leaving personalization completely in your hands! You are able to match colors and styles to the rest of your marketing strategy, and provide bags that individuals genuinely want to carry around.

Not only that, but reusable bags represent walking billboards for your brand, as they are taken to school, work,the grocery store, and basically any other daily activity that requires an extra pair of hands. Thus, your audience extends beyond the owner of the bag, and involves friends, coworkers and anonymous passer-by’s who will be thoroughly impressed by the versatile and Eco-friendly product that has your company name on it.

Another great feature? Many reusable bags can be folded and stuffed into small carry pouches for you to clip onto your car keys, handbag, or briefcase. This means that your customers have a bag ready to go whenever they need to head down to the supermarket or clothes store, with your logo across it.

At this point, there really isn’t a good enough reason not to invest!

Call us at 312.440.1800 or email us at team@edventurepromotions.com and we’ll help you find the right products for any occasion.