Target Practice – Finding The Right Green Consumer

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target.jpgMany entrepreneurs I have worked with have insisted that everyone can benefit from using their product. While possibly true, I’ve always encouraged my clients to focus not on who could USE their product but, who would BUY their product … right now … today or in the very near future. Focusing most of the marketing time and money on those consumers results in immediate sales and the opportunity to spend more in the future to attract those perhaps more reluctant to purchase today.

Last week in my post, Which Organic Consumer Are You? , I wrote about a new report that can help green companies identify that “right now” consumer.

The Natural Marketing Institute just released their latest report on the state of the organic food industry … in other words … who’s going organic. It turns out more than half of us are buying organic foods at least sometimes.

For consumers, this report offers an opportunity for a little introspection. For green entrepreneurs it offers an important marketing tool – a chance to hone in on the right target market for your product.

Secondary research tools like this report allow green companies to benefit from large scale research conducted on green consumers. By taking this information and applying it to your product, you can target your marketing campaigns and modify your marketing spending to reach those consumers who are most likely to buy your product.

Are you a “deep green” company? Do you sell products most likely to be used by the most dedicated eco-consumers? Are you Certified Organic? Then your core market may be Devoteds – The 16% of most committed to organic and its ideals; the most likely to have changed their lifestyle to integrate organic. The more they use a certain type of product, the more it has to be organic.

You’ll want your packaging to reflect those ideals near and dear to hard-core eco-consumers. Your marketing dollars should be used primarily to reach those who are heavy users of organic products.

It’s important for “deep green” companies to recognize their limited appeal, at this time and focus on the heavy user of their product. Since heavy users are just that, you can get a lot of bang for your buck by making sure you get your marketing message to as many of these consumers as possible.

Is your product a bit more mainstream? Is it in one of the key categories in which consumers are most likely to buy organic (fruits and vegetables/meat and poultry products/baby items)? Then your market may include both Devoteds (16% of shoppers) and Temperates (22% of shoppers).

Temperates are also knowledgeable about organic food but fit it into their, sometimes more mainstream, lifestyle. The more a category is used, the more buying organic becomes a treat. They may insist on only buying organic in certain categories and may buy organic primarily but not always in others.

Green companies targeting both Devoteds and Temperates can still focus on a “deep green” appeal since both consumer segments understand the benefits of organic food. As information trickles down to less informed consumers, this category of consumers will grow and will look for those products that seem “authentic.” This is where it becomes important to ensure you have the right certifications.

Some consumers are Dabblers. They are non-committal about organic – they can take it or leave it. For them, buying organic is more about being hip than it is about being healthy. This is almost half (44%) of all consumers that buy organic products!

Dabblers are a fickle market. Since they have no strong commitment to buy organic, they may buy your product one month and the next switch back to the conventional alternative. The key to increasing trial with Dabblers is reaching purchase influencers. Since being hip is an important reason that they purchase organics, they look for products used by those they perceive as hip. A strong PR program is integral to reaching this market and may include blogger outreach and the use of social media. (A strong PR program is important for most all organic product companies since the market is still in the growth phase.)

Whichever type of organic consumer you target, it’s critical to identify and formalize this information. Include it in your business and marketing plans; talk about it in marketing meetings; make sure it is top of mind when developing new products and packaging.

Related Posts: Times They Are A Changing: Green Marketing Tips For Eco Entrepreneurs

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