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This paper discusses about green marketing. Green marketing is now a tool used by a number of firms to increases their competitive advantage because the society is currently very concern about the environmental issue. While applying green marketing, the firms have to satisfy the consumers' needs and wants. Green marketing has several advantages to the firms in terms of sustainability and environmental benefits. It is very important to implement green marketing the right way by using marketing mix. Furthermore, green marketing has its pros and cons. Hence, firms must have proper marketing strategy when applying green marketing.
As the environmental issues continue to affect human activities, the society is now regarding the environmental issues with much concern. Most firms have started using sustainable development framework which is known as green marketing and most of the international organizations have acknowledged green products which are environmental friendly. Marketing managers can use green marketing to earn profits. In addition, green marketing is able to preserve the environment while satisfying customers' needs. Green marketing covers a wide range of business activities and it is similar with marketing mix.
What is green marketing? Different writers have their own definition for green marketing. Green marketing is a plan that serves to satisfy customers' needs and to minimize the impact of marketing on the natural environment (Polonsky, 1994 as cited in Ghosh, 2010). One definition for green marketing is that green marketing serves to fulfill individual goal or organization goal while preservating the condition of the environment (Mintu & Lozada, 1993 as cited in Ghosh, 2010). The American Marketing Association (AMA) defines green marketing as the process of producing; selling and providing services that are environmental friendly (Yazdanifard & Mercy, 2011). The task of defining green marketing has not been simple because a fix definition for green marketing has yet to exist.
Green marketing covers a wide range of business activities. These activated vary from modifying a product to become environmental friendly, packaging change into sustainable packaging and modifying advertisement that supports environmental friendly products (Ghosh, 2010). Overall, the purpose of green marketing is to minimize environmental harm caused by corporation marketing. This paper covers the benefits of green marketing, the risks of green marketing, the procedures of productive and effective green marketing and the sustainability of green marketing.
Advantages of green marketing to a firm
When a firm applies green marketing, that firm can reduce company operation cost and reduce the cost of production by using recycled materials. The company can reuse computer components, use recycled paper for company usage and use e-document for the company's operation.
Moreover, the firm can increase their image either internationally or globally. When the firm's image increases, it will gradually affect the consumers' perception on this particular firm. This can ensure a long term profit for the firm.
This is also a great opportunity for firms who apply green marketing to gain access to new markets and it will help the firm to increase its competitive advantage. Additionally, most employees will feel proud while working for a firm which is responsible to the environment. When the employees are happy with their job, the productivity of the company will also increase.
Lastly, the advantage of applying green marketing is that the firm may get subsidiary for taxes and loans from the government. This is because the firm is taking risks to manufacture new products or redesign existing products to preserve the environment and human health (Rajeshkumar, 2012)
Green marketing in sustainability and environmental benefits
Firms use green marketing in their sustainable packaging and refuse to use harmful products. Coca- Cola Enterprises had produces lighter packaging that can save cost, materials and resources. Coca-Cola Enterprises cut the weight of PET plastic bottle which is 20-ounce by 20 percent; 12-ounce aluminum can by 30 percent and 8-ounce glass bottle by more than 50 percent. Besides Coca-Cola, McDonald's and Starbucks are also using sustainable packaging.
Firms can donate used computers to schools or colleges and green marketing can control the wastage level of the firm. Firms also contribute to the community by providing funds for recycle projects. For example, Coca-Cola enterprises recycled 36 percent of bottles and cans that were sent to the market.
Furthermore, international firms restyle product to decrease the material content and energy consumption. For examples, the McDonald's branch in Germany formulated new lighting systems such as low-consumption fluorescent lighting for its restaurants and in Mexico, solar hot water heating is the main research that is currently being conducted to reduce the usage of liquefied petroleum (Mcdonald's corporation 2009, 2009). In France, they projected interactive software based on energy management system, EcoProgress, as it helps monitor and reduce the energy consumption in restaurants (Mcdonald's corporation 2009, 2009).
Lastly, international firms use green marketing to reduce the level of pollution in earth. For instance, Toyota produced hybrid cars to protect the environment by reducing air pollution; thus, reducing the effects of global warming. McDonald's in UK recycled 100% of their used cooking oil by converting the oil into biodiesel that fueled delivery trucks in the market by the end of 2008 (Mcdonald's corporation 2009, 2009).
Importance of going green
Mother earth is constantly abused by inconsiderate corporations who wish to gain self-profits as its natural resources slowly depletes day by day. The firms have to develop alternative manner to satisfy the need of the customers by using green marketing. The importance of going green is to save the earth by reducing the hazardous wastage, sewage, deforestation and air pollution. This will also preserve and conserve the limited sources for our future generation.
Green marketing in marketing mix
Marketing mix are product, price, promotion and place (4P's), but in green marketing, marketing mix have to be done in an innovative way. Products in green marketing are normally made from recycled materials, recyclable and in sustainable packaging. Other than that, products will not affect the environment negatively such as pollution, climate change, deforestation and etc. While manufacturing the products, it should be able to save energy consumption and be able to reduce cost of manufacture. The marketers should produce a product which can satisfy customers' needs and wants.
In marketing mix, pricing is the most critical and important factor. The price must be affordable regardless of the consumers' financial standard. The firms have to show the value of the product because the consumers might be doubtful of the products while buying a premium price product. The value of the product can improve in the function and appearance.
Advertising for the promotion strategy is very important because most of the consumers can be easily attracted by the advertisement and this will allow the consumers to recognize the firm's contribution to the environment (Polonsky & Ottman, 1998a as cited in Yazdanifard & Mercy, 2011). The promotional strategies that firms can utilize includes advertising the enjoyment of daily lifestyles while using the green products and showing that the corporation is responsible to the environment (Tiwari et al., 2011)
Lastly, the location for selling the green products has a huge impact on the consumers. The location has to be convenient because most of the consumers would not go out for their way to buy green products only. Besides that, most of the green products should be widely available at supermarkets and retailers shop.
Strategy while implementing green marketing
First of all, the marketers must be clear with their organizations' objective in developing green products. Marketers also should know their firms' position in the market and their competitors' position so the firms can develop a product that has a competitive advantage.
Secondly, the marketers can have research on the market segmentation of the country and use questionnaires to collect relevant information about consumers' perception. This can satisfy the consumers' needs without affecting the environment.
Thirdly, marketers have to ensure that are green products are environmental friendly such as low consumption of energy, sustainable and reasonable pricing. Besides that, a well-established website of the firm is very important. The firm has to make sure the content in the webpage clearly states the responsibility and the effort made by the firm to the environment (Groff, 2008).
Lastly, marketers can provide trainings to their employees, especially sales representative. This is to give them knowledge on how to promote the green product effectively by clearly presenting the main massage to the consumers.
Problems with going green
Problems would always arise in firms that apply green marketing. The firm must ensure that they do not use green marketing to mislead the consumers or industry. The firm has to follow the laws and regulations or conform to the standards set by FTC's guidelines such as provide clear statements on the environmental advantages; explain environmental feature; explain how the environmental benefits are reached; ensure comparative advantages are justified; ensure negative elements are considered and use purposeful term and pictures (Polonsky & Jay, 1994)
Firms which have limited scientific knowledge are required to make the correct decision for environmental benefits. For example, firms that produce refrigerators and air conditional had replaced the harmful CFCs (chlorofluorocarbon) with HFCs (hydro-fluocarbon). Scientists have discovered that HFCs is also a green house gas. Some firms started to change to DME (dimethyl ether), but this will also damage the ozone layer (Debets, 1989 as cited in Polonsky & Jay, 1994)
Lack of knowledge regarding the customers' needs will also affect the sales of the firm. Most consumers think that green label products will not work as well as those conventional products. Furthermore, consumers are not fully aware of the environmental problems. They rely on the government, international organizations and industry to solve the problems. In addition, most of the customers are not willing to pay a higher price for the green label products. (Ghosh, 2010). Therefore, firms must provide an understanding to the consumers on the purposes and benefits of green products?
While following competitors' strategy in going green, it may lead the firm to make the same mistakes as their leader had. Example, Mobil Corporation presented the biodegradable plastic garbage bags. The truth is when it was disposed, biodegradation did not happen. This caused several US states sued Mobil because of the misleading advertising (Lawrence, 1991 as cited in Polonsky & Jay, 1994). Lastly, green marketing concept used by firms might not be accepted by most of the consumers.
The major purpose of this paper was to determine the benefits of green marketing on the environment, firms and how firms implement green marketing. This finding is important because our resources are slowly depleting and mother earth is getting more and more polluted. Therefore, a vast number of firms, especially international firms started using green marketing as their strategy to conquer the market and to save the environment. On the other hand, not all of the firms are willing to apply green marketing because the firms might face problems while implementing green marketing. Further researches are necessary to find out the customers' perception on green products and to find out the customers' preferences.
Environmental issue is a sizzling topic nowadays as almost every country government and society has started to be more aware about these issues. This leads to green marketing as the only tool for firms to solve the environment issue and earn profits. Green marketing is a marketing strategy which a win-win situation for both sides. Moreover, firms that implement green marketing in the right place and on the right person may help the firm to gain their competitive advantage. On the other hand, there are also risks and problems while applying green marketing so the firm should use the correct strategy to implement green marketing.