The IPad Agency: 5 Ways To Make Marketing Greener From The Inside Out

In the history of this newsletter, we’ve covered everything from renewable tech marketing to corporate sustainability efforts as part of a consumer marketing plan. We know how to get consumers to want to participate in green efforts, the advantages and disadvantages of e-commerce, and how to get consumers to donate to a green cause. 

But one question that remains: how can agencies themselves help to make the marketing process greener?

Going green means eliminating timelines, decks, portfolios, and presentations; cutting back on electricity and equipment while increasing recycling programs and employee awareness; and, best of all, increasing interactivity and digital content within and outside of the agency itself. 

The below is by no means a comprehensive list. But, one hopes, it will provide some insight as to how we as marketers can work together to make marketing greener for us, and then for our clients. After all, change starts from the ground up.  

  1. When you win a new client, don’t hand them an agency portfolio book. Not only will they not read it, but also they’ll lose it and you’ll still have to provide them with all that contact information. Your portfolio is on your website, and they can view it there. However, if you really want to make an impression, make a mobile app they can download, one with a sole purpose of providing them with information and a way to interact with your agency. Let them scroll through employees, check out and interact with real videos, mobile sites, and print work that you’ve done, and even use an in-app SMS system so that they can text your account managers. Not only will this give them a fantastic way to interact with your employees and find out more about your agency, but also you can update it in real time using a simple content management system. Plus, they’ll carry it around with them everywhere. You can use it as a great way to stick with contacts at trade events, and the cost of production (using your agency’s available in-house resources) will pay itself back over time. If that’s not a great use of agency marketing, I don’t know what is.

  2. Do away with PowerPoints. Steve Jobs hated them, and you should, too. Not only are they a boring way to present an idea, but also they’re a waste of paper and time. Agencies are known for their creativity -– let’s create videos, montages, collages, wireframes that utilize jQuery, infographics that call out important research points -– all of which can be presented by a computer, online. It’s translatable, highly interactive, engaging, and can be viewed multiple times on any device. And it’s more likely to get an excited “Yes!” from the client. There’s always the catch that they will take more time, but isn’t a good idea worth a little extra work?

  3. Set up an “eco-bicle” wherein employees place bags of recyclable paper, cans or bottles, ink cartridges, or electronics into specified bins with their names on them. Too many agencies have recycling areas, but employees either don’t know about them or don’t care enough to use them. Institute a leaderboard system, wherein at the end of each week, the bags will be organized by employee name and counted. The employee with the greatest number of points (a/k/a recycled items) gets a reward –- an ice cream party for their department, a new project they have an interest in working on, etc. It will institute an atmosphere of fun competition and will make employees feel like they’re being noticed and rewarded.

  4. Have one printer for the entire office. This is more feasible for smaller agencies than bigger ones, but there are ways to tweak this idea to make it work for you. Removing an extraneous number of printers will encourage employees to find other ways of sharing their ideas, and will eliminate the need for constant printing unless it’s absolutely necessary.

  5. Use the iPad, love the iPad. Instead of making physical timelines for presentations, internal reviews, and project management, set up a reminder system on your (and your fellow employees’) iPads, iPhones, or Androids (and/or email systems) that will tell them exactly when they have something due. This can be part of an internal system set up for employee management, or you can utilize Google Docs or anything that works best for your agency. Encourage employees to take and share notes over applications like Evernote. (Set up a premium account for agency use.) This will encourage collaboration and allow each employee to have the most comprehensive set of notes for their accounts and projects. Finally, use a list management tool (the list app Clear, or the Tasks application on any iPhone or iPad, for example) to help employees set up to-do lists for themselves. 

Making these kinds of changes is by no means cheap or easy. Instead, agencies have to focus on the value these efforts (interactive apps, better presentations) will bring to their clients and to themselves. Being in a creative industry commonly seen as defining modern culture, we as marketers are responsible for leading the charge to become more sustainable. If we want consumers to hop on the bandwagon, then so must we. 

What other ideas or actions have you implemented to make your agency culture more sustainable?

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