7 actionable tips for developing a sustainable marketing plan
Let’s face it, it has become THE buzzword in today's business world…
We’re experiencing more marketing than ever pushing sustainable products, services, causes and initiatives…
But isn’t sustainability just something that only the big corporates can afford to care about?
What does it mean to you and your business?
And isn't it time we all took sustainability more seriously?
According to a recent report by the National Small Business Association (NSBA), 71% of small businesses view sustainability as important, with 35% considering it very important.
In addition, the COVID-19 pandemic has led to increased interest in sustainable and ethical practices, as consumers become more aware of the positive impact and future benefits between public health and the environment.
Every business on the planet has a responsibility to operate in a way that minimises their impact on the environment, supports the local community, and ensures long-term economic viability.
So, as a small business, what does sustainability really mean for you, and why should you care?
First and foremost, sustainability means operating in a way that balances the needs of the present with the needs of future generations.
This means taking a long-term view of business operations and considering the impact of decisions on the environment, society, and the economy.
And while sustainability may seem like a daunting task for small businesses, it can be a critical component of long-term success.
Consumers are increasingly looking to support businesses that prioritise sustainability.
According to research by Deloitte conducted in 2022, more consumers than ever are being proactive in their pursuit of adopting a more sustainable lifestyle, whether by choosing brands that have ethical or environmentally sustainable practices and values.
Small businesses have a significant impact on the environment, and adopting sustainable practices can help reduce that impact.
By reducing waste, conserving energy, and using eco-friendly products, small businesses can help protect the environment for future generations.
Sustainability can help small businesses reduce costs.
By conserving energy and water, reducing waste, and using sustainable products, small businesses can save money on utilities and waste disposal.
Sustainability can help small businesses to enhance employee recruitment and retention.
Many job seekers are now expressing a preference to work for a company with sustainable practices.
Better still – from a strategic marketing point of view…
Sustainability can improve a small business's brand reputation.
By demonstrating a commitment to sustainability, a small business can differentiate itself from its competitors and build a positive brand image.
Sustainability can help a small business expand and grow into new target markets.
By adopting sustainable marketing practices, small businesses can attract environmentally conscious customers and build a loyal customer base.
Sustainability can help small businesses reduce its marketing spend – and try something different for their marketing mix.
By using digital marketing channels and reducing printed materials, small businesses can save money on marketing expenses.
But where do we start?
Here are some actionable tips for developing a sustainable marketing plan:
Define your sustainability goals
Start by defining your sustainability goals and values.
Consider what environmental and social issues are important to your business and how you can address them through your marketing efforts.
Experiment with more digital marketing channels
Digital marketing channels such as email, social media, and online advertising are more environmentally friendly and cost-effective than printed materials.
Consider using these channels to promote your products and services.
Use sustainable materials
If you do need to use printed materials, consider using sustainable materials such as recycled paper and soy-based ink.
You can also use digital tools like e-books and online brochures to reduce your use of printed materials.
Support local suppliers
Small businesses can reduce their environmental impact by supporting local suppliers and reducing transportation emissions.
Consider sourcing marketing materials and products from local suppliers and using sustainable transportation methods such as bicycles or electric vehicles.
Educate your employees, customers and suppliers
Educating employees and customers about sustainable practices can help promote sustainability and encourage positive behaviours.
As part of your internal communications, consider providing training for employees and include sustainability messaging in marketing materials.
Partner with environmentally friendly companies
Partnering with environmentally friendly companies can help promote your commitment to sustainability.
Consider partnering with companies that share your values and promoting these partnerships in your marketing materials.
Engage with the community
Engaging with the community through events, partnerships, and donations can help promote your commitment to sustainability.
Consider sponsoring local events, partnering with local charities, and volunteering in the community.
Sustainability isn't just another business buzzword, prioritising sustainability in your marketing efforts will help build a more sustainable future for your enterprise and enhance success!