Consumers Shying Away From Green Kool-Aid

August 15, 2007
By Greg Galitzine,

Group Editorial Director
Technology Marketing Corporation – TMCnet

Despite the best efforts of the media, it seems that most consumers are
not buying in to the idea that we are in an environmental crisis.
According to recently published research from Yankelovich, a survey of
2,763 consumers showed that only 34% feel more concern about the
environment than they did a year ago. Perhaps more troubling, a scant
22% feel they can make a difference when it comes to the environment.

Yankelovich’s survey, titled GOING Green, conducted in
collaboration with Getty Images, sought to examine how much consumers
truly care about green issues.
“Consumers are not drinking the Kool-Aid when it comes to green,”
said J. Walker Smith, president of Yankelovich. “While they’re highly
aware of environmental issues due to the glut of media attention, the
simple fact is that “going green” in their everyday life is simply not
a big concern or a high priority.”
Still Smith believes that the opportunity presented by “going
green” is an important niche one that companies should continue to take
advantage of.
Smith stresses that if organizations are required to spend large
sums of capital in order to meet strict federal and state environmental
regulations, then it makes perfect sense to try and leverage the ‘new
and improved’ green product to consumers.
The Yankelovich president is also firm in his belief that it is
still possible to change consumers’ behavior so that the green
attributes of a product become a key feature in the buying decision.
“Where companies are currently falling short with their green
marketing strategy is that they’re failing to establish a personal
connection with the consumer, in other words, consumers currently have
no knowledge of what green means or has to offer to them,” he said.
To illustrate the varying degrees to which consumers are likely to
purchase products based on their “green-ness, Yankelovich has created a
Marketing Action Framework identifying consumers on a scale ranging
from Green-less to GreenThusiasts (see figure).


      Green-        Green-         Green-         Green-         Green-
       less          bits          steps          speaks       thusiasts

        29%           19%            25%            15%            13%

      Lowest      Behaviors       Moderate      Behaviors       Highest
    Attitudes    Higher Than     Attitudes        Lower        Attitudes
     & Lowest       Lower        & Moderate     Than High      & Highest
    Behaviors     Attitudes      Behaviors      Attitudes      Behaviors

    ..........    ..........     ..........     ..........     ..........

    Unmoved by    Don't care       Aware,     Talk the talk   Environment
  environmental  but doing a     concerned,     more than         is a
     issues &     few things    taking steps  walk the walk    passionate
      alarms                                                    concern

“To make a green marketing strategy successful, organizations must
employ behavioral tactics that move consumers up the continuum to
greater levels of ‘green-ness,’” he said. “Marketers who focus on these
segments in isolation will not change consumers’ green behavior.”

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