Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Gauging the Green Impact of Your Marketing

The word impact is often discussed around the conference table at advertising agencies. Every marketer wants to make an impact with a brand's target consumer. Expressions like "cut through the clutter" or "get our fair share of voice" are often uttered.

When we look through the sustainable marketing lens, however, the word impact takes on additional meaning. Not only is the "breakthrough" power of impact important, but also the direct impact created through natural resource use, carbon emissions, waste generation, and social justice.

I recommend looking at four key factors when considering the impact of a sustainable marketing program:

1. Energy Use and Emissions
  • What amount of energy will be expended to produce the program? Can this be minimized?
  • Will production create carbon emissions? If so, how much
  • How far will any produced materials be shipped, if they are shipped at all?
2. Waste Generation
  • Is the program created to minimize materials that could end up in a landfill?
  • Are all inks, papers, and other elements of the marketing program considered eco-friendly?
3. Recycled Materials and Recyclability
  • Are all of the produced materials, prizes, premiums, or other elements of the marketing program easily recyclable?
  • Is information about recyclability easy to find for the consumer?
  • Is post-consumer recycled material used whenever possible?
4. Social Cost
  • Are all of the elements of the marketing program produced in a socially responsible environment? (e.g. in manufacturing facilities that provide a healthy, clean environment, don't employ child labor, and don't actively discriminate against its workers or other groups).
  • Is the delivery or message of the marketing program both healthy for and equally accessible to all participants?

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