Hey, marketer? As pop singer Avril Lavigne famous asked, “Why’d you have to go and make things so complicated?” Fall is an important period of head scratching and number crunching as corporations and governments plan marketing and communications budgets for the next 12 to 18 months. Typically, stuff gets out of hand when a bunch of well-meaning execs who need to deliver numbers pile into meeting rooms with creative marketing types. It’s like seeing how many people can fit in an old VW Beetle. There’s a lot of uncomfortable contact.
The pressure to deliver in this setting is intense. Managers and execs seek the next big idea that will engage customers and drive sales, and marketing or creative agency reps want to prove that they’re not just the people behind last year’s hit. What happens is that things quickly get more complicated than they need to be.
It doesn’t have to be this way.
Consider these green facts:
If the light bulbs in all the “Exit” signs that quietly point to our way out of buildings were changed to LED, the reduction in power consumption would equate to the output of five or six 1,000-megawatt power plants.
Twenty percent of toilets silently leak, silently, all the time. If home owners simply replaced the $10 flapper inside the tank once in a while, enough treated municipal drinking water would be saved to fill over 12,000 Olympic swimming pools. Every day.
And, well, an apple a day …
What has happened recently as “green marketing” has evolved is that decision makers have concluded that the low-hanging fruit has all been picked. And this perception is fed by creative folks who (not surprisingly) want to please and who may not have the confidence to walk into a pitch with just a single LED bulb or a shiny red apple instead of a 30-slide deck.
Building green marketing around simple first actions still has enormous untapped potential if the easy first asks are bundled with strong brands and if the first actions are promoted at the community level where real people can become advocates. And, more importantly, evidence is emerging that we can get people to do more complex green things and buy more expensive green stuff if the easy first asks are presented to the public in the right sequence.
So, changing a light bulb can lead to a deep home energy retrofit. Teaching kids to turn off the tap when they brush can help a city divert millions of gallons of water from waste treatment plants. And that apple would look great in a lunch box with other (more processed) branded healthy choice products. It’s all about easy, and it’s all about connections.
Chill out. It’s not that complicated.