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Consumers Shying Away From Green Kool-Aid
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August 15, 2007

Consumers Shying Away From Green Kool-Aid

By Greg Galitzine
Group Editorial Director

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).
Smith offers advice to marketers looking to take advantage of the green opportunity before them.
“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.”
Greg Galitzine is Editorial Director of TMC’s IP Communications group, which includes INTERNET TELEPHONY magazine, SIP magazine, IMS magazine and the just announced UNIFIED COMMUNICATIONS magazine as well as the industry’s leading Web site, TMCnet.

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