Target Practice – Finding The Right Green Consumer

Ecopreneurist_jpegOriginally posted March 19, 2008
by MC Milker, Ecopreneurist

Many 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.

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