Describe about the Readings in Integrated Marketing Communication.
There has been considerable amount of changes in the business process in the modern world with the introduction of complex and intensive equipments within the organization. With the advent of globalization, there has been a lot of transformation in the business environment and rivalry among the organizations has also increased. Therefore, every organization to increase its market share and competitive edge, tries to implement unique methods to attract the customers. These new techniques are often not eco-friendly as the waste residue and the product itself might have an adverse effect over the environment.
Environment plays a massive role in influencing the human activities and therefore, it is vital to maintain a sustainable environment to attain a healthy and prosperous lifestyle in the society. The human beings have therefore become concerned about the natural environment, which has motivated few businesses to redesign their goals and behavior to address the new concern of the society. Some of the organizations have introduced concepts like waste minimization, environmental management, eco-friendly products etc in every operational activity and thereby increasing their customer base. The most important area of operational activity where environmental issues have received a great deal of importance is marketing. The terms like “Green Marketing” and “Environmental Marketing” has evolved as an important marketing concept to aware the society about the firm’s concern about the environment (Nathan, & Mathi, 2013).
This study will therefore, focus on introducing the concept of green marketing and will discuss its importance. It will also evaluate the reason behind the adoption of the above said method and how the customers react to such a concept. The advertising strategy for green marketing will also be taken into consideration.
Review and Analysis of the Literature
By the word Green Marketing, most of the people think that it refers to only the advertising and awareness of products with eco-friendly characteristics. But in general, Green Marketing is a much broader aspect, which is applicable to consumer, industrial goods and services. Therefore, green marketing incorporates a vast range of operations like the transformation in packaging, product modification, redesigned advertising, eco-tourism etc. The concept of green marketing came into existence in the year late 1980s and the early 90s. The organizations then used to respond to the public interest by packaging their new products as “environmentally friendly” and claiming that the products are recyclable, biodegradable, energy efficient etc (Awan, & Wamiq, 2016).
The wave of green marketing became prominent in the form of books published known as Green Marketing. Around the year 2000, another wave for green marketing came into effect when the corporate social responsibility and the triple bottom line became prominent globally. Certain publications like in 2005 by the United Nations report and then a book by Al Gore in 2006 brought in several scientific environmental debates to the common public in an easier way to understand.
The advent of green marketing, there came in lots of drawbacks in the late 1980s when many organizations used this name to demand false awareness about their products and services. For example, a firm named BP Amoco advertised its product “Plug in the Sun” by installing solar panels in many gas stations, while they aggressively were lobbying for oil in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge. The process of green marketing is a very aggressive marketing strategy if the organizations implement them properly. The consumers fell in a dilemma about which product is environment friendly and beneficial as there were no labeling standards. Therefore, the consumers paid extra amount for the misrepresented products. This process established the name green washing where the industries wrongfully represented themselves and their products as environmentally friendly.
Thus, there was a rise in the green marketing with a large number of consumers willing to back their environmental awareness by paying extra amount, which can be dangerous for the future. The society becomes biased towards any green claims and thereby the companies destroy their brand image and their sales if the society finds out that their promotions are false. Thus the meaning of green washing is presenting a product as environment friendly when it is actually not (Polonsky, 2014).
The “environmentally preferable” label shows how the raw materials are obtained, manufactured and distributed, reused, maintained, operated and disposed thereof. With the interference of the government, special labels have been introduced, which identifies the original environmentally friendly products and services. There are several eco-friendly groups who evaluate and certify the products that meet the standards from time to time.
This process concentrates on the relationship between the attitude of the consumers and the environmental strategies with accordance to the firm using this marketing strategy. This marketing issue involves environmental use in the marketing effort. The main aim is that the consumers are given the information about the environmental effect of the products and the customers can make use of this data into account while deciding which product to buy. These aspects will motivate the industries to incline towards the production of the products, which advantageous in the environmental point of view.
Green marketing has the same features as the traditional marketing technique. The process of green marketing includes the 4P marketing mix of price, place, product and promotion. It is of prime importance for the organizations to establish a relationship with everyone they interact with like the suppliers, intermediaries, society and the consumers. Therefore, many companies today have committed themselves for carrying out business functions with respect to the principles of environment. The advent of time has brought in new green behaviors. The new green behaviors have to be according to the increased environmental consciousness from the consumers, law makers, environmental groups etc. It also needs to comply with the national and international rules and regulations that have been established from time to time. The greater commitment of the government has also instigated for the implementation of this trend resulting in the use of economic permits like the taxes and omission of penalties in order to encourage the organizations to consume fewer resources and dispose fewer pollutants. There are also legal results applicable to the companies if they do not pay attention to the laws issued by the government (Sharma, & Iyer, 2012).
The firms aim to increase competitive edge in the market by abiding by the demand trend of the consumers and thereby making changes of their development over time. The organizations need to focus on both the aspects of marketing, namely maintaining a healthy relationship with the stakeholders to regain loyalty and trust and also making environmental management as a strategic equipment to improve control and decrease the environmental impact and also creates business opportunities for the industries (Chan, He, & Wang, 2012).
The green marketing concept of the marketing management at the operating level can be performed using the marketing mix approach discussed below:
- Creation of green product design
- Distribution of green criteria
- Green product pricing
- Green publicity and sponsoring
The operational program also includes the use of green designing of product. The paper realized that the management needs to be conscious that the green marketing starts with the eco-friendly design and that designing of the product will act as a link between the demand and supply. The use of green distribution is also included as the product distribution system can restrict the solutions of green design as it must guarantee the tangibility of the products in the market according to the eco-friendly nature. The concern about distribution also increases the environmental impact of the products and is thus regulated by the environmental compliance. The pricing of the green products is required because the differentiation in the of the green industries and the product can work effectively when the green products decrease the cost of the clients (Cherian, & Jacob, 2012).
The organizations functioning in the environment has their own values and on the basis of these values, they can introduce a vision of what it wants to do in the future. A unclear vision of an industry will not create a clear idea about the track to follow and will find strategic planning as an useful exercise.
Adoption of Green Marketing
There are various reasons due to which an organization should go for green marketing. They are as follows:
- Competitive edge and opportunities
- Government Pressure
- Corporate Social Responsibility
- Competitive Pressure
- Cost or Profit issues
Corporate Social Responsibility
There are a lot of firms who are starting to understand that they exist in a wider community and thus they need to take initiatives so that they can become environmentally responsible thus resulting in environmental factors being introduced in the corporate culture of the firm.
The regulations framed by the government with relation to environmental marketing are created to protect the consumers through restrictions designed to control and monitor the level of poisonous wastage produced by the industries by implementing different licenses related to the environment thereby renovating the organizational behavior. In many cases, the government also asks the final consumers to more responsible by implementing taxes on the customers who behave in an irresponsible fashion.
Competitive pressure is another crucial force in the environmental marketing area. The main concern of this factor is the industries’ desire to keep up their completive edge in the market. The organizations in many cases find that their rivals promoting their own environmental behaviors and try to duplicate this behavior. Therefore, it is of great importance that the organizations from time to time develop new eco-friendly strategies so that they always stay a step ahead of their competitors (Bhalerao, & Deshmukh, 2015).
Cost or Profit Issues
The disposal of environmental harmful products like the contaminated wastage and spoilage are of great concern for the industries because it requires an expensive method and in some cases are very difficult. To minimize the wastage, the organizations develop more efficient manufacturing processes that decrease the requirement of certain raw materials thus reducing the double cost. In some other conditions, the companies try to fine the end-of-pipe solutions, rather than reducing the waste by finding markets where these waste materials can be used as raw materials thereby reducing the wastage ad spoilage (Adams, 2016). One firms waste becomes an input for another organization.
Green Marketing Mix
All the firms operating have their unique marketing mix policies. Some use the method of 4P and others use the method of 7Ps of marketing mix. As discussed earlier, green marketing uses the traditional marketing policy so it uses the 4Ps marketing mix. The problem associated for the firms is the implementation of the 4Ps in an effective manner (Goi, 2015).
Product: The environmental aim and goal in planning products are to decrease the raw material consumption, increase the conservation of the scarce resources and decreasing pollution.
Price: The most critical and crucial factor of green marketing mix is called pricing. The consumers will only be attracted to pay any additional and extra amount if they find any extra benefit out of the product. This extra benefit can increase the performance, design, function and visual appeal and taste of the product or service. All these factors needs to be considered by the green marketing strategy while charging an extra amount (Khan, 2014).
Promotion: There are various types of green advertising. It consists of advertisements that show a relationship between product or service and the biological and physical environment. It includes those things that promote the environment friendly lifestyle by the limelight of a product and service. The promotion also includes the advertisements that reflect a corporate image of the environment responsibility.
Place: The problem of choice of where and when to make a product visible and available has an important effect on the consumers as the consumers will not move out of their area to buy the eco-friendly product or service.
Challenges of Green Marketing
There exist many challenges, which the firms need to eradicate in order to make environment friendly products more demanding in the market. This is due to the fact that eco-friendly products need recyclable and renewable raw materials which are very expensive. They also require innovative technologies, which require a vast investment in the research and development of the organization. The water treatment technology to reduce the level of wastage and pollution is also very costly (Sheehan, & Atkinson, 2012). The government and the firm’s needs to extend campaigns about the effectiveness of eco-friendly products as most of the consumers are not aware of the benefits and use of these products and services. The most critical challenge is the fact that the consumers are not willing to pay an extra amount for these products as they find cheaper products giving them the same level of satisfaction.
Green Market Advertising
The assessment of the impact of advertising on the society has been in study for a long time. Therefore, it can be said that advertisement acts as a teaching tool that has shaped the culture of the society. It is also a technique of fantasy that creates the desire for goods and services and highlights the pleasures of consumption.
The meaning of green marketing and advertising varies and thus it can simply be defined as the advertising and marketing of the product through the use of eco-friendly bio-degradable and recyclable products. The recent evaluation of environment friendly advertisement is categorized into three segments, namely the environmental hero, the antihero and the anarchist. The realized anti hero is a customer who understands the pressures and tensions in the current society where something is pushing towards the consumerism and the other is commanding to be environmentally aware. The anti hero thus lives a comfortable life by moving out of the environment responsibility. The mindset is therefore is of an enemy of the environment movement. The initiative of green marketing can only survive if the consumers believe that it can create a transformation and their individual consumption will affect the society (Grimmer, & Woolley, 2014).
The other categories of eco-friendly consumers are the environmental hero and the anarchist, each of them following the environmentalist mindset and ideologies. The environmental hero believes that they can make a change through choices of strategic consumption like purchasing from environment friendly industries. The anarchist on the other hand really wants to a statement about the matter of environmentalism and thus wants to implement this part to help the environment.
Therefore, it can be said that the advertising and promotional strategies should be such that it needs to impact all the three categories of consumers. The promotions should induce the consumers to understand the need to use these products and it is necessary to save our environment for the present and the future generations. The promotional and the advertising campaigns also needs to point out the essential eco-friendly features of the product or service and therefore it can be helpful for the consumers to understand its benefits and thus they get motivated to purchase them (Boztepe, 2016).
Consumer’s Response to Advertising
This section of the study helps to find out the responsiveness of the advertisements to the consumers. The reaction of the consumers is crucial to find out the effectiveness of the advertisements, which acts a platform for understanding the effect of green advertising. The modern society that constantly consumes the advertisements from the media has different impact on the consumers in different ways. The response of the consumers can either be influenced by the individual preferences and motives or by collective motives. These motives thus, shape the insight of the consumers through advertising. The response of the consumers towards an advertisement will directly influence either negatively or positively towards the perception of the brand and product purchase. The consumers will have a positive attitude towards the behavior of the advertising if they find that such a product will have a positive outcome (Ankit & Mayur, 2013). Therefore, the advertisements created should be with the theory in mind not only to change the behaviors themselves and also the beliefs that will change the behavior and drive an effective purchase.
Conclusion and Research Objective
This study is undertaken to evaluate the meaning of green marketing and the combination of 4Ps of green marketing combining its challenges. The study also determines the effect of advertisements and the responsiveness of the consumers towards these advertisements. The study primarily looks into the matter of green marketing and why is it necessary in the modern world. It also helps to evaluate the origin of green marketing and the reason why green marketing has gained so much importance globally. Green marketing also tries to identify how the implementation of these strategies will be useful to the society as a whole. The wrongdoings of the firms by misrepresenting their products as eco-friendly are also discussed.
The current advertisement motive is to appeal the personal values and providing consumer empowerment and therefore, it is the right time to implement the eco-friendly awareness into the marketing mix thereby, solving the problems the world faces. The process of green marketing can thus produce highly effective results if it is used properly and with integrity.
The objective of the study is to analyze the response of the consumers and encourage them to purchase eco-friendly products. The study also reveals the effect of advertisement and the effect of a proper promotional campaign and advertisement in generating awareness in the minds of the consumers. It is therefore, found out that the green marketing is still in its early stage and thus requires a lot of research over the environment friendly marketing by eliminating green washing and other challenges faced by green marketing. A proper exploration over the areas that need improvement will lead to an optimal use of the full potentials of green marketing and advertising. .
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