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A Greener Green

More and more studies are showing that companies need to improve their green marketing efforts. Note that “improve” in this case does not mean “expand,” as many have interpreted it. If anything — given consumer confusion in this green-saturated market — companies should pull back and really focus their environmental efforts and the way they convey them.

A just-released study from consumer market research firm Yankelovich shows that while consumers believe in the need for environmental efforts, many of them (41%) don’t believe it’s their job to help. This certainly doesn’t bode well for retailers and manufacturers, who have banked a lot of products and promotions on consumers’ willingness to do their part. Is the bottom about to fall out?

In short, no. As I wrote in a post earlier this summer, people are having a hard time navigating all the green noise out there. They want to help, but they just don’t know how or who to trust. This shouldn’t be mistaken for apathy or a waning of eco-consciousness as a movement — it should be taken, rather, as a challenge for retailers and manufacturers to step up their game.

Consumers, according to Dr. David Bersoff, author of the report from Yankelovich, “are becoming less willing to help marketers pay for the greening of their business and products.”

Before promoting green, going green, doing the green thing, or whatever iteration that takes on within a company, make sure to define what exactly that is. Is it a recycling program that reduces X amount of waste per year? Is it installing solar panels? How much energy and money will it save?

Your shoppers want to know.