The key to tomorrow's marketing:

Sustainable marketing or green marketing

Sustainable marketing describes a business practice whereby companies align their marketing strategies and tactics to achieve long-term environmental and social goals while striving for business success. This type of marketing takes into account not only the immediate needs and wishes of customers, but also the long-term impact on the environment, society and the well-being of future generations.

Thinking, acting and behaving sustainably in marketing offers companies the opportunity to strengthen customer confidence, open up new markets, develop innovative solutions and gain long-term competitive advantages.

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What opportunities do sustainable thinking, action and behaviour bring?

Sustainable marketing, also known as green marketing, is a modern approach to marketing that not only promotes the long-term business success of a company, but also offers environmental and social benefits for employees, customers and society as a whole. Sustainable marketing is an extension of the traditional "marketing mix" that goes beyond the mere presentation of sustainable products and encompasses all corporate aspects relating to sustainability. This extends from production to packaging, advertising and distribution and requires more than just an environmentally friendly façade or a collection of quality seals.

Sustainable marketing encompasses a variety of strategies that reflect a company's commitment to environmental protection and social responsibility. One popular method is cause-related marketing, where every product sold contributes to an environmental or social cause.

Another important strategy for sustainable marketing is the promotion of transparency and responsibility. Companies that disclose sustainability-related information beyond the legal requirements, such as the origin of their raw materials or the selection of their suppliers, strengthen customer confidence in their brand.

Finally, there are campaigns and initiatives without direct branding that are aimed at promoting the common good and are not directly linked to the marketing company.

Sustainable marketing pays off in the long term

Sustainability has become a key factor in corporate management. Companies are increasingly recognising that sustainable marketing has the potential to open up new markets and business opportunities. Economic success and ecological commitment are not contradictory goals. They can go hand in hand.

This calls for a holistic approach whereby companies not only focus on key financial figures, but also take environmental and social aspects into account.

Stakeholders expect companies to take responsibility and organise their business models in line with the principles of sustainable development. It is therefore essential to view sustainability not just as a mere reporting function, but as an integral part of corporate strategy and management.

Sustainability and sustainable marketing : a competitive factor when it comes to recruiting talent

Sustainability is becoming increasingly important in the talent market. Jobs that make a positive contribution to the environment and society are very attractive, especially for young people. Companies that share their values and are committed to the environment and society strengthen the loyalty and motivation of their employees.

Many companies already have green skills, and these need to be identified, combined in new ways and developed further. In addition, building a broader talent ecosystem can help close the gap, whether through joint ventures, cluster organisations or collaborations with other companies.

The new quality criterion

Sustainability has become a new premium feature that significantly increases brand value and reputation. Companies that practise sustainable marketing and are committed to sustainability are perceived more positively by the public.

Active involvement in sustainability can significantly improve the image of brands. Brands that consistently focus on sustainable marketing and communicate their efforts credibly become more attractive in the eyes of customers.

Sustainability makes brands "future-proof" and gives a new dimension to their original strength - namely offering orientation for customers. By integrating sustainability considerations, customers become more emotionally attached to the brand, which increases loyalty.

Sustainability as the key to customer loyalty

More and more companies are recognising the real competitive advantage of Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) and are increasingly striving for innovation in this area. Their aim is to stand out from the competition, retain customers and win new ones. To this end, services are being developed that are based on the use rather than the ownership of a product.

Brands that are willing to help their customers change their consumption habits will undoubtedly create a new kind of loyalty. This loyalty isn’t based on consuming more cheaply, but on consuming better. Especially at a time when customers are increasingly becoming activists themselves through social media and taking on ecological responsibility, this type of loyalty is gaining in importance.

The next wave of innovation

Sustainable marketing acts as a driver for innovation and technological change as companies are encouraged to invest in clean technologies and renewable energy. With digitalisation revolutionising all areas of organisations, a return to the pre-digitalisation era is inconceivable. Sustainability will develop in a similar way and become the next wave of innovation.

The challenge now is to recognise the potential of sustainable marketing, to exploit it and make it usable. This targeted approach to the challenges posed by sustainability as a driver of development also affects small and medium-sized organisations.

Companies can also benefit commercially

Sustainable marketing not only offers companies ecological advantages but can also pay off commercially. In the long term, it contributes to efficiency gains and cost savings. The motto "affordable above all" is becoming less important among German consumers, as there is a change in awareness regarding the demands placed on products and services.

Companies with a sustainable focus also often achieve higher margins. A sustainable strategy can pay off for companies in many ways: Not only does it increase efficiency, it also improves the corporate image, increases employee satisfaction and offers better opportunities when recruiting young talent.

Shared costs, double use of resources

Sustainability strengthens partnerships and collaborations by fostering collaboration with other companies, governments and NGOs. Collaboration is critical to driving change and creating sustainable innovation. Through partnerships, organisations can pool their resources to tackle complex challenges and reduce their negative impact on the environment.

One benefit of collaboration is the ability to draw on complementary expertise. By partnering with organisations that have different skills and knowledge, companies can accelerate their efforts towards sustainable innovation.

Integrated sustainability

Sustainable business promotes positive social and environmental change by encouraging companies to act responsibly. The UN first defined sustainability in 2006 under the pillars of environmental, social and governance, known as ESG. It is no longer enough to simply put an environmentally friendly product on the market.

With all this in mind, sustainability is a triad that needs to be integrated into any sustainability strategy. However, as ESG is still relatively unspecific and does not formulate standardised goals that companies and customers can use as a guide, the United Nations closed precisely this gap in 2015 with the Sustainable Development Goals.

Requirements of the sustainable transformation

C-level decision-makers face six fundamental challenges as part of the green transformation.

1. How can we drive the decarbonisation of our organisation?

2. How can we generate value through sustainability?

3. How can we ensure compliance and risk management at a reasonable cost?

4. What strategies can we implement to manage and automate data in the context of sustainability?

5. How can we realign our value creation to become more sustainable?

6. how can we ensure the financing of this transformation?

Significant trends
  • Circular Economy: A shift from linear production and consumption models to circular systems in order to conserve resources and minimise waste.
  • Sustainable packaging solutions: Companies are increasingly focusing on environmentally friendly packaging alternatives.
  • Sustainable fashion and textiles: The trend towards more sustainable production methods and materials in the fashion industry.
  • Renewable energies and energy transition: Global increase in the use of renewable energy sources.
  • Sustainable food: A focus on organic food, local produce and reducing food waste.
  • Green tech and innovation: Technological advances as the key to solving global sustainability problems.
  • Sustainable mobility: Promotion of electric vehicles, carpooling and cycling infrastructure to reduce emissions.

Sustainable sales

Sustainable sales are geared towards the long term and are not just aimed at closing a deal once. Instead, a clear consideration of customer needs takes centre stage, with a focus on long-term relationships rather than quick sales. Reliability and the right way of dealing with customers are of decisive importance.

The automation and digitalisation of the sales process and the entire customer journey are steps towards more sustainable sales, especially when you consider the potential integration of artificial intelligence. The integration of AI improves forecasting and enables personalised interactions. Virtual technologies such as AR and virtual showrooms bring products to life.

These changes call for a fundamental change process, including training and organisational adjustments. Overall, digitalisation offers opportunities for more efficient processes, improved customer experiences and more sustainable business models in sales.

Fixed guidelines regarding business trips, vehicle fleet management, trade fair presences, environmentally conscious hospitality and gifts for customers help to ensure that the sales organisation acts sustainably in practice.

Sustainable trade fair participation

Trade fair participation is often associated with a negative environmental image, as large quantities of materials are often disposed of after each trade fair. However, companies that want to take a holistic approach to sustainable marketing can adopt various measures.

1. By using a modular and standardised design for exhibition stands, companies not only save costs but also resources.

2. For trade fairs abroad, companies can use suppliers with an international network to avoid expensive shipping costs and reduce the environmental impact.

3. Selecting a reusable modular exhibition stand is an efficient and environmentally friendly option for companies that participate in several trade fairs per year.

4. Using reusable carpet tiles that can be recycled also contributes to sustainability.

5. Energy-efficient LED lighting is an environmentally friendly alternative to conventional lighting systems and also saves energy costs.

6. Instead of printed materials, companies can use QR codes, USBs and digital handouts to communicate their marketing messages and remain environmentally friendly.

Sustainable websites

The internet has long been seen as an environmentally friendly alternative to paper-based processes. However, it is becoming increasingly apparent that global data traffic causes high energy consumption.

So, it's high time that IT companies and developers promoted environmental protection and sustainability. This can be achieved through a sustainable website with a sustainable web design. Find out more: Nachhaltigkeit-Website

Circular product design

The recycling of resources is essential for a largely climate-neutral economy. Through "circular design", organisations, production and products can be designed to create sustainable business models.

More and more products carry labels such as "recyclable" or "made from xy% recycled plastic" and present themselves as sustainable. This trend is a step in the right direction. However, it should be noted that users play a key role in the product life cycle. They ultimately decide whether and how the product remains in the cycle.

Through circular design, sustainable service offerings can support customers in returning products and thus enable a genuine circular economy.

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