Environmental Marketing Mix

Introduction

An increased focus on environmental issues, has contributed to a rise in the demand for environment friendly products and services or green marketing. The spotlight on sustaining the environment has created terminology such as “carbon footprint” and “offsetting”. Many organisations have adapted their marketing strategies to capitalise on the consumer appetite for environment friendly products and services. Environment friendly marketing strategy takes into account additional factors which are not usually part of the marketing mix. Such a deviation from the academic acceptance of the “marketing mix” components has led LearnMarketing to develop the ‘environmental marketing mix.’

Environmental Product Strategies

There are a large number of environmental issues impacting on the production of goods and products, for example:

- What is the impact of production, sourcing of materials and packaging on the environment?

- Can minimum levels of packaging and environment friendly packaging be achieved without compromising product quality or appeal?

- Supplier practices i.e. are they at least as environmentally friendly as the organisation they are supplying?

Environmentally friendly products can increase and decrease production costs; environmentally friendly production may increase costs for organisations and their suppliers but this may be offset by lower fuel bills through energy efficiency measures or an increase in sales caused by a positive product image. An organisation may able to pass increases in production costs (caused by Environment Friendly products) to consumers. However this will depend on the level of increase, type of consumer, competitor prices and the strength of the economy. For example during times of recession consumers will place price above many of the other factors making up the marketing mix

Environmental Place Strategies

All organisations need to “carefully” time when their product reaches consumers; exact time of distribution will depend on the product or service being distributed. Such timing may have an environmental implication.

Some products will need to reach the consumer shortly after production for example fresh food in order to retain freshness, taste or nutritional value. The fastest method of distribution may damage the environment. Conversely a more environmentally friendly method e.g. via canals may impact on speed of distribution and consequently quality of the product. A method of distribution that combines speed with “environmentally friendliness” may increase distribution costs as some of these processes are still under development e.g. electric vehicles.

In addition to the type of transport used for distribution, an organisation will need to review distribution techniques; For example timing deliveries so that they occur during off peak hours and do not contribute to congestion. Some organisations attempt to make fewer deliveries, whilst others promote concentrated products (e.g. fabric conditioner) as they increase the number of products that can carried in each delivery vehicle.

Even if “environment friendly distribution” is not at the top of an organisation’s list of priorities, government policies may elevate it to the top. Congestion charging and low emission zones have been introduced in the London. Apart from the obvious increase in costs involved in following such policies, a failure to observe environment friendly rules and regulations will lead to fines, sanctions and negative publicity.

After reviewing internal distribution methods an organisation will need to review supplier and subcontractor distribution as consumers and the media expect organisations claiming environmental credentials to work with other environment friendly organisations.. For example do subcontractors use Bio-fuel? Are subcontractors actively managing their “carbon footprint” and energy use?



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