During 1960s concerns for the health of the earth were considered the responsibility of the government however the 1990s known as “the earth decade” saw the innovation of greener products and the necessity for green marketing (Leslie, Bock, Joseph, 2013). Green marketing refers to all efforts to produce and promote products that contain ecological and environmental harm minimization features. This essay discusses characteristics of the green consumer, green marketing myopia, greenwashing, guilt and the level of involvement and current examples.
Identifying green market segments is challenging, as research is contradictory. Some studies have focused on socio-demographics, such as sex, education, age and social class (Schlegelmilch, Diamontopulos and Bohlen, 1994). These studies tend to find green consumers more likely to be female, younger, better educated and therefore having a greater understanding of environmental impact. However, a group with increasing potential is the Baby Boomers. They now have a greater disposable income than ever before and a greater concern for their aging health. More in-depth studies focus on consumer beliefs, values and expectations. D’Souza, Taghian and Khosla, (2007) state the need for marketers to use this information to determine a balance between price, primary-performance and green-performance in their product.
The Roper Survey (Ginsberg and Bloom, 2004) categorizes five market segments, from the True Blue Greens who have deep-seated environmental values and are active in helping the earth to Basic Browns who have little environmental interest. Greenback Greens are a slightly less environmentally aware group than the True Blue Greens, while Sprouts who are strong supporters of environmental causes but are not active, remain open to persuasion. The Grousers are uneducated in environmental issues and do not believe their actions will have a significant impact.
Despite the weak beliefs held by some of these groups they offer potential through explanation of how a product can benefit the environment by way of formal labels on packaging or informative salespeople (Ginsberg and Bloom, 2004). Lush cosmetics are more likely to appeal to Sprouts as they stock many vegan products and have an natural image, however a True Blue would dislike their products for not being completely natural, vegan and using as much packaging as other generic skin care companies despite store appearances. Lush Cosmetics employee helpful salespeople who advocate how their products can benefit the user and have low environmental impact. Consumers who choose to shop here certainly want to feel as though their purchase is nature-friendly.
In order to reach the Grousers advertisements and infomercials can provide an accessible outlet. The Ozonater otherwise know as the Green Refrigerator advert (The Ozonater Green Refrigerator Infomercial 2014) promotes longer lasting food storage by oxidising the air and keeping food fresher for longer. The advertisement explicitly states not only how much food and money will be saved but also the positive impact of sustainable food sources due to less wastage of gone off foods and reduced amounts of plastic bags and containers.
Banikarim (2010) identified an important group amongst consumers, the “Eco-Mums”.
Women control nearly two-thirds of consumer spending, causing one marketing agency to identify mums as “the most powerful audience on the planet”.
Single Mums Lead on Global Green Spend 2013
Products that appeal to this consumer group whose concerns are primarily with the health and well-being of their families are those that are cost-effective and are socially responsible. “Eco-Mums” represent a valuable market segment to attract not only as the main household shopper but also to shape their children’s values. Go Clean Go Green plant-based cleaning products reassure mums they won’t aggravate children’s asthma or allergies.