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Green Marketing: Fad or Fab?

Most of the Marketing Fad or Fab features here in the past have dealt with Internet marketing and online advertising. This time we’re going to talk about the eco-friendly trend in green business, and more specifically the concept of green marketing.

How it Works:

To put it simply, a business is utilizing green marketing tactics when their marketing message is targeting the eco-conscious members of the target market. For example, a Web hosting provider markets itself as environmentally friendly to prospective customers by touting the fact that their facilities (where your website would be physically hosted) is run by wind or solar power. Another example would be in food marketing, where you’ll find products marketed as organic or pushing the fact that it’s from local farmers (meaning less preservatives and less waste in transporting the food). Essentially, the marketing campaign revolves to some degree around appealing to a consumer base trying to be more environmentally friendly.

Fad or Fab?

Fab – While my overall outlook on green marketing is a positive one (it’s consumer-driven and often altruistic to at least a degree), I do think there’s a flip-side where certain green marketing techniques are simply fads.

First, there’s greenwashing – false claims about environmental issues to raise concerns with the public – convincing them there’s a problem that may not even exist, and then pushing your product as a solution. This is just deceitful, and we’re in a day and age now where it’s very likely you’ll be caught and publicly exposed (and maybe it’s just the PR professional in me, but I don’t believe in lying to your customers just to make a sale or be able to charge more).

I also think the premium prices for green products will eventually become a thing of the past. As people come to expect more products to be environmentally friendly, their willingness to pay more (looking at the items as special in some way) will diminish. However, with the demand rooted in personal convictions, I don’t think the demand for green products will fade to match that price issue – companies will find a way to go green for less.

When it comes to green marketing, the real key is to be sincere. If you truly care about the environment, and are acting out of that concern first and foremost, consumers will notice. Focus on building a more sustainable business beyond simply being able to increase prices or appeal to the eco-savvy markets, and you won’t be setting yourself up for a PR nightmare down the road.

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Note: Be sure to check out the new Green Business section here at for upcoming green business ideas to help your business (big or small) go green.


  1. Pingback:Public Relations Nightmares » Blog Archive » Green Marketing: Fad or Fab?

  2. Joe Reis

    No way is green a fad – it’s here to stay. Green is more than a marketing gimmick. Green is quickly becoming a way of life. One need only look at the explosion in alternative fuels and sustainable living to realize there is a tectonic shift occurring. I predict in 10 years, green marketing and regular marketing will be one and the same.

  3. Jennifer Mattern

    Good thing I never said green was a fad. 😉 I do however think that the greenwashing segment of green marketing will die in time – the scare tactics would likely find themselves regulated, and the more transparency-demanding consumers won’t put up with the “falsely green” companies (those claiming to be green for marketing purposes by perhaps doing one eco-friendly thing, while running other aspects of their business in completely contrary ways).

  4. Bobby

    There are so many great ways to go green that it CAN’T just be a fad. You figure, every time someone rides there bike to where they have to go, pay a bill online, or receive a pay check through direct deposit that they are being green. People aren’t going to stop doing those kinds of things, which means that “going green” is here to stay. I know one thing is for sure…my bioheat isn’t going ANYWHERE. Ever since I became green it’s like my favorite thing in the house during the winter time. Have you ever heard of it? It’s very popular in the green community so I’d be surprised if you haven’t. It’s AWESOME! It’s biodegradable and non-toxic, so you can forget about breathing in all of those nasty fumes and what not. The best part about it is that it’s made up of heating oils blended with every-day products like avocado and corn. Cool right?

    I heard about it through my job here at NORA. I did a bit more research and found some more great tips and interesting info from:

    Check it out and see what other interesting info is out there that you might be able to use.

  5. Jennifer Mattern

    Thanks for your feedback Bobby. Keep in mind though… the post isn’t asking whether green business or going green is a fad, but whether or not green marketing is a fad. A little bit different. 😉 My biggest concern of course is the type of green marketing done not with the environment in mind, but only the bottom line knowing consumers will often pay more for products thought of as “green.”

  6. Robert Swinburne

    My biggest concern of course is the type of green marketing done not with the environment in mind, but only the bottom line knowing consumers will often pay more for products thought of as “green.”

    Jennifer I don’t think it is too difficult to understand that’s exactly what’s going on lately. New companies are running full steam to jump on the band wagon and siphon as much money as possible from ignorant consumers. Yesterday I read a story on the construction of a 4500 sq ft “green house” utilizing all the “latest” green technology. There were so many environmentally irresponsible things about that project that I lost count. The truth is a five minute web search reveals many of these items advertised as new have been around for as much as a hundred years. (Check out the Climax solar water heater) In my opinion people should think in terms of living responsibly instead of being so quick to use the marketing catch phrase of “Go Green”. My mantra for living responsibly –buy less, save more, reuse and recycle, be aware, and above all remember that just because something carries the name “green” doesn’t necessarily mean it is beneficial to the environment or your family.

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