Smart marketing for sustainable products and services

Smart marketing for sustainable products and services
© relif, image #138791024, 2017, source:
Energy, Materials, Water, Waste, Carbon
All sectors, Service sector, Wholesale and retail
High cost
Payback time:
0.5 - 2 Year(s)
Payback time:
Payback time of the marketing investments are not precisely defined; typically marketing new products aim for short-term gains (a few months up to 1 or 2 years max.)
Return on investment:
5 - 50%
Return on investment:
Investing in smart, professional marketing can boost demand and interest from new markets, resulting in increased turnover
Premises and operation areas:
Office management
Size of company:
Micro (less than 10), Small (less than 50), Medium (less than 250), Large (more than 250)
Advancement in applying resource efficiency measures:
Beginner, Intermediate, Advanced
One off investment:
1000 - 20000€
What is in it for you:
Increase visibility of your sustainable products. Find new markets and gain competitive advantage.
Descriptive information:

Companies are trying to use more sustainable processes and resources to match growing environmental and social awareness. Changing processes and resources incur some costs for the companies, but can lead to profit if properly managed. For these costs to turn into profits, the sustainability of the products must be effectively communicated to the consumers. Hence, adopting a smart marketing approach is important to be successful in a market where companies are competing over their 'green' image.

Consumers are not only looking for good-quality products that are affordable, durable, convenient and meet their needs; today issues like health and wellness, buying local, and lifestyle choices all come into play. These are a challenge for producers but also a selling point in modern marketing strategies.  

Guidelines to improve sustainable product marketing:

  • Be true: sustainability claims should have a sound basis; the product or service must be truly sustainable. Authenticity comes across to consumers while ‘greenwashing’ is tolerated far less.
  • Make sustainability part of your company DNA: sustainability is not just a selling point, it is a way to see things.
  • Tell a story: explain how your company decided to become sustainable, telling the story increases your credibility.
  • Blend sustainability features with other features: sustainability is one of your product's features, but its main one is its ability to meet consumer needs.
  • Use labels but don't rely on them: accreditations can showcase some of the company's sustainability achievements, but cannot fully communicate the commitments of the company.
  • Use social media: it can communicate your ‘brand story’ in a targeted and cost-effective way.

Smart marketing of sustainable products should help to increase your sales and profit. It will save money in the long run, even though the initial cost can be higher. It can also help in accessing new markets and finding competitive advantages.


"People are looking for something that works... For example, they need a dishwashing detergent that actually cleans the dishes. That’s why this Seventh Generation ad starts with the glass-top table getting sparkling clean with plant-based cleaners. We don’t see a dour narrator intoning about how using this cleaner helps save the fish (although that’s probably true). Instead, we see a bunch of excited kids eating birthday cake right off the table. The messaging here is clear: fewer harmful chemicals = a more joyous life. Who can argue with that?" - Alison Monahan

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