Eco-friendly ways to run a local marketing campaign

Businesses of all sizes have to contend with the reality that many of their daily operations can produce negative environmental consequences. Implementing sustainable marketing practices isn’t just good for the planet, it’s also good for business: 76% of Americans expect the businesses they support to help combat climate change (BusinessDIT).

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Given this important consumer expectation, businesses that build eco-friendliness into all aspects of their operations, including their local marketing campaigns, can position themselves as socially responsible. In this article, we’ll cover everything you need to know about making local marketing campaigns more eco-friendly.

Benefits of eco-friendly marketing

Thinking green when it comes to running local marketing campaigns has benefits for the planet and for a company’s bottom line. Since many traditional local marketing techniques don’t reflect today’s urgent environmental concerns, moving beyond highly polluting campaigns, such as mailers, can help businesses dramatically reduce their negative impact on the earth.

Given consumers’ increasing concerns about environmental issues, practicing eco-friendly local marketing can also help bolster a business’s reputation and brand image. Let’s take a closer look at the benefits of running eco-friendly marketing campaigns.

Reduce waste

Eco-friendly marketing means less garbage in the landfills. We’ve all had the experience of checking our mail only to find a huge stack of flyers, coupons, and brochures, all of which go directly from the mailbox to the garbage. At scale, this means the net effect of all of those local marketing campaigns can be a vast amount of needless waste.

One of the best ways businesses can reduce waste when it comes to local marketing is to use digital marketing materials instead of paper printed materials. Digital alternatives are preferable even to recycled printed materials, which still ultimately generate more landfill trash. If local marketing efforts do involve some sort of mailing, businesses should prioritize sustainable, biodegradable materials.

A major benefit of switching away from wasteful print direct marketing? Massive cost savings. Printing and postage costs can be avoided by focusing on digital marketing alternatives, which are more effective and can be more targeted than direct mail anyway.

Lower carbon footprint

By practicing eco-friendly marketing techniques, businesses can lower their carbon footprint. The effects of this have benefits both in the local community and in the world at large. Eschewing polluting local marketing practices can reduce an organization's contribution to air pollution and global warming, two pressing environmental concerns.

Businesses can reduce their carbon footprint through eco-friendly marketing strategies. This can include opting for digital marketing channels more frequently, working with eco-friendly suppliers, and replacing traditional promotional products and corporate gifts with eco-friendly options made of bamboo or biodegradable materials.

Supporting local initiatives

Making a commitment to practice more eco-friendly marketing techniques can position businesses to support and partner with local initiatives when planning their marketing campaigns. By supporting local environmental initiatives, businesses can put their names behind organizations doing important environmental work. They can also bring attention to environmental issues and even benefit from the marketing that comes along with supporting an initiative.

For example, a local business might make a commitment to working only with local suppliers, giving both parties an opportunity to co-market each other's businesses. Donating to local environmental charities is another way to offer support to a local initiative, which can have the effect of boosting the business’s local reputation as well.

Eco-friendly marketing methods

Small businesses may think they’re not impactful enough for their eco-conscious decisions to matter. In reality, the aggregate effect of more small businesses choosing eco-friendly marketing methods can be significant.

These initiatives can have multiple effects:

  • Reduce the impact of marketing on the environment
  • Help businesses align with customers who share their environmental values
  • Save money

Digital ads

Switching to digital ads is one of the easiest ways to make local marketing campaigns more environmentally friendly. Almost two-thirds of ad spend today is digital rather than traditional, and that share grows more with each passing year (Statista). It’s easy to understand this trend: Not only does digital advertising reduce emissions, waste, and cost, but it’s also far more effective.

That’s because digital ads are uniquely capable of targeting specific audiences and delivering faster results for businesses. They are also far more trackable, offering granular insights into how each ad campaign is performing in real time.

Instead of spending tens of thousands of dollars on a poorly targeted direct mail campaign, businesses can promote their brands in a cost-effective way with digital ads. They can spend less to get in the digital inboxes of customers.

Working with a digital marketing agency can help local businesses spend their money in a targeted, effective manner, delivering meaningful ROI.

Reusable materials

When print materials are used, opting for reusable materials can reduce the impact on the environment. For example, using reusable, recycled, or biodegradable materials for print marketing campaigns can often keep those materials out of the landfill.

Reusing promotional materials is another way to limit their environmental effects. Any time a product or material can get a second life by being reused, waste is limited and potential cost savings can be realized.

Small businesses don’t need to eliminate print marketing altogether: Often, combining print and digital marketing strategies can produce a better effect than relying on just one or the other on its own. Instead, they can reduce their reliance on print marketing, substantially replacing it with digital, and switch any materials used in remaining print ads to environmentally-friendly options.

Social media

Any business who wants to promote their brand in an eco-friendly manner should be leveraging social media. Doing so can limit the production of emissions and waste in the marketing process.

Social media, through its propensity for virality, is uniquely able to help businesses get their message out to a large audience without the need to rely on more polluting marketing tactics. Social media empowers businesses to reach a large audience without the use of any physical materials.

In addition to the environmentally friendly nature of marketing through social media platforms, businesses can create content that boosts their online reputation. They can even incorporate messaging about their environmental initiatives in social media posts, helping prospective customers understand their brand values.

Frequently asked questions

What are the 5 principles of sustainable marketing?

The 5 C’s of sustainable marketing are often identified as consumer-centered, creative and cutting edge, community and connection, cause-oriented, and clarity. Consumer-centered means that the business focuses on the consumer’s perspective when creating and marketing a product. Creative and cutting-edge refers to the importance of not getting stuck in old ways, instead prioritizing innovation and continuous improvement. Community and connection refers to building relationships with other businesses and organizations that share a sustainability agenda. Cause-oriented means a business stands up for a cause it supports. Finally, clarity refers to transparency and open conversation with audiences.

What is green vs sustainable marketing?

Green marketing generally refers to efforts that focus on promoting products and services that have a reduced environmental impact. For example, a business switching from plastic to glass packaging might use green marketing to tout this improvement. Sustainable marketing focuses more broadly on the entire supply chain of the product or service. Businesses may try to address all types of sustainability, not just environmental, in their marketing. Sustainable marketing can also refer to marketing campaigns that are themselves sustainable or environmentally friendly. For example, a business might have a digital-only marketing campaign that reduces the waste associated with direct mail.

About the Author

Lawrence Dy is the SEO Strategy Manager at Vendasta. His career spans from starting as a Jr. Copywriter in the automotive industry to becoming a Senior Editorial Content Manager in various digital marketing niches. Outside of work, Lawrence moonlights as a music producer/beatmaker and spends time with friends and family.

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