It's this type of customer focus that makes your messaging more believable, said Joyce Dorris, managing director of Union Green, the sibling agency of creative ad agency Union. One of Union Green's clients—software and services provider Management Health Solutions—took a similar approach with its marketing messages.
The company greened itself by moving many of its support documentation to the Web, among other things; but when it hired its agency and launched a new e-mail marketing program and Web site design, the focus was on its customers, Dorris said.
“They did not come to us asking us to communicate their green objectives,” she said. “They came to us to reach and help their customers.”
Once companies are ready to expand green messaging into other online marketing collateral such as banner ads or search marketing, the campaign elements must be fact-driven.
Apple's latest MacBook ads are a good example. The ads provide product specifics about how the company has changed its packaging and how it's removed mercury, arsenic and PVCs from some of its components. Apple also takes advantage of the fact that its laptop is Energy Star-compliant.
“If your product is Energy Star-compliant, you should definitely include that. If you can throw out terms and facts that are searchable, it's going to benefit you,” said eMarketer's Verna. “With e-mail and search especially, you have the opportunity to really tell a story that becomes more believable.”
Mars Drinks uses this strategy in its interactive marketing, too.
“We now have five drinks that have a direct, sustainable benefit, and we give people these facts,” Vennard said. “Sustainability doesn't have to be thought of as a benefit in isolation. It's a good way to champion the cause and halo the brand.” M