This article is contributed. See the original author and article here.
BSR reports that sustainability and ESG (environmental, social, and governance) reporting is increasing globally. In 2011, 20% of S&P companies published sustainability reports, compared to 90% in 2019. Great. And while boardrooms still need to ramp up quickly, I believe it is fair to say that in the corporate world, more time, money, and effort are spent on sustainability than ever before. Good. Corporations are stepping up their game.
One quick outcome is the number of jobs with sustainability in their title popping up left and right: Sustainable Supply Chain Program Manager, Environmental and Social Governance (ESG) Reporting Manager, Green Finance Expert. Great. Companies are hiring to keep their promises.
Very few of these jobs though are marketing jobs. As a marketer myself, I wonder why that is. Aren’t marketing leaders needed in the shift to a more sustainable and just corporate world? Are we not supposed to help our corporations become more sustainable too?
I think these roles will start emerging soon (:crossed_fingers:), but most importantly, I don’t think marketers should wait for them. I believe marketers should lead the sustainability charge at their companies.
Customers care. All of them. So should you.
Whether your role is demand generation, brand awareness, or thought-leadership marketing, I assume you talk to customers. A marketer’s role is to understand what customers think, what’s important to them, and how your product or brand is relevant to them. Your goal is to make your brand and products as fit as possible to your customers’ moments of truths and build your strategy around that. And ALL customers care about sustainability. So you should, too.
A few statistics:
- 50% of Consumer-Packaged Goods growth from 2013 to 2018 came from sustainability-marketed products Research: Actually, Consumers Do Buy Sustainable Products (hbr.org)
2/3 of customers consider sustainability when making a purchase and are willing to pay more for sustainable products. CGS Survey Reveals ‘Sustainability’ Is Driving Demand and Customer Loyalty | CGS (cgsinc.com)
- 71% of consumers prefer buying from brands that align with their values. 2020 Consumer Culture Report
Whether you are a Business2Customer or Business2Business marketer your customers are all citizens of this world and they are conscious and concerned about the state of the planet. Any way you can help them reconcile their work with having a positive impact will be welcome.
A few tips:
- Include sustainability in your customer surveys and research. Ask questions about it in relation to your business. You are the voice of the customer at your company, sustainability should be part of your pitch.
- Optimize based on new insights and let your customers know. This is valid for any type of business, whether you sell toothbrushes or software. (Sustainable software is a thing.) Check out the Microsoft Sustainable Software Engineering Learn Module for a solid introduction to sustainable software.
Shape the narrative. Bring purpose front and center.
Marketers tell stories that shape our brand and people’s perceptions of it. Brands need to get real, fast. As we build trust with our customers, sustainability is a dimension we all need to add to our practice. It used to be all about Profit. Then we added the People aspect. Planet is next. Profit, People, Planet. The triple bottom line.
I believe brand loyalty and trust will grow if we take the triple bottom line into consideration.
Enough of the bad marketing tactics that mislead people. Enough of the bad marketing that bores marketers before it bores customers. Sustainability is the new creative playground and it enables us to market like we actually give a damn! It’s too beautiful of an opportunity to stand by and wait for a nice “sustainability” word added to our title.
For the French speakers. Pour un reveil ecologique shames brands that greenwash – useful and funny don’t you think?
I am a big believer that we can shape our own work and write our own story. Our role is not to advertise or to sell, it is rather to solve problems. I hope you’ll join me in writing the story of more responsible marketing. Let’s make ourselves accountable for not only how our products gain market share, but also for how they impact the people and the planet. Every job is a climate job. Come on marketers, let’s lead the way! The world is watching (no pressure).
This piece was originally published on LinkedIn and titled, Marketers – let’s get serious about sustainability, by Jessica Mercuriali.
Brought to you by Dr. Ware, Microsoft Office 365 Silver Partner, Charleston SC.