Carbon dioxide emissions from power plants burning fossil fuel for energy, carbon dioxide emissions from burning petrol for transportation, deforestation, the disappearance of coral reefs, floods, killer storms, the melting of the polar ice …
Let’s face it. To deny Global Warming at this point in time is simply silly.
But what does it mean for B2B companies?
To clearly understand what’s going on, I suggest we look at SMB’s since they represent the majority of B2B companies that comprise our economies.
For SMB’s, sadly, business cases for sustainability and energy efficiency just aren’t strong enough to make real investments. The reason is simple. Energy efficiency investments projected payback takes over 3 years. The reality is that most SMBs are concerned about having cash in the next 3 months!
But the problem is on a much larger scale. The whole supply chain system is wrong. Companies need to rethink their basic and primary practices in Production, R&D and Logistics.
If each player involved in the B2B supply chain system starts working on new ideas and methods, it comes down to single innovations driving mass innovation.
So, what now?
The scientists have done their job, they’ve done what they do best, they have proven that our world is seriously endangered. Now it’s time for marketers to do what they do best, to influence.
How do we turn the tide?
What’s that? “A social trend in which people use technologies to get the things they need from each other, rather than from traditional institutions like corporations.”
Social Media changes everything. We’re living a power shift, a shift to the people.
Where before, if you wanted to have your voice heard, you had to write a letter to the editor, and hope that it might be featured in a local newspaper, today, you can say as much as you want, as loudly as you want, reach more people than any newspaper, simply by having a blog.
Where before, mass rallies had to be organized on the streets, these days you join an online group or online community to make things change.
You there, Marketer, how much power do you think you have? Marketers leveraging their practice with Social Media have as much if not more power than most corporations or institutions. Think about it…
As a social media marketing expert you have the ability to make videos go viral, you can make your tweets go around the world 20 times, you can raise 1,000,000$ simply by creating a facebook page that donates a dollar to charity for every ‘like’.
However, always remember: The easy part of Green Marketing is communicating to customers the positive environmental changes that a company makes.
The hard part is actually convincing companies to revisit all their products, the way they get manufactured, their packaging, their distribution; everything must go through a microscope.
The good news is that Green initiatives of businesses can be leveraged with Social Media Marketing, and most importantly they can be debated, and improved upon.
3 best practices when it comes to B2B Green Marketing in Social Media
1. Prove that you’re green and test your claims before launching
To leverage your efforts into results you must prove that you’re green, prove that you’re doing something that tends towards green. Saying it and not proving could be very could be very damaging to a business.
And don’t do this alone! Test out your claims by bouncing them off your stakeholders! See what they think before launching any green initiative!
2. Deliver educational content on a regular basis
B2B markets are complex technologically. Ask yourself, who do I have to write for in order for that client company to switch from something not green to something green?
The type of educational content you provide should not focus on ‘do the right thing for the environment’ but how ‘doing the right thing for the environment’ is beneficial to your potential client’s business. Guilt marketing doesn’t work. In fact it has the opposite effect.
You might say that Green products are more expensive or Sustainability commitments for change are costly … Well, yes they are, but when has selling more expensive products or costly actions become hard for marketers? It’s your job to be able to sell added value.
3. Provide transparency and reinforce credibility with accreditations
Transparency is key for successful green marketing. You have to prove you’re trying, that each day you tend towards environmental responsibility; you don’t have to prove you never make mistakes.
Being transparent gets others involved, showcasing your green businesses actions publicly allows you to gain insight from industry watchdogs, to perhaps engage with other businesses who are currently doing the same thing, to cooperate. Transparency is your number one friend, not your greatest enemy.
Second, get those accreditations! Submit your products to a neutral third party for evaluation! If you’re going green, if your business is making the efforts, these accreditations and certifications are really not that hard to get!
Once you have these accreditations, leverage them like the pro that you are!
The scientists have done their jobs.
Now it’s the turn of the marketers. It’s our turn take the relay baton and run with it.
Marketers have a lot of power and influence in this new social media reality, but as my friend Peter constantly reminds me: With great power, comes great responsibility.