One of the founding principles of marketing your product or service is to know your demographics intimately. When it comes to green or sustainable marketing, this gets even more tricky. Many authors and researchers have been writing on this subject for over 30 years and as the urgency of climate change raises its ugly head again, along with ocean pollution and conservation issues on land and sea, brands cannot ignore sustainability any longer. More and more Millennials and Gen-Xers are purchasing green and eco-friendly products and services which reflect their values, pumping up the new green economy in a positive direction when it comes to the environment. 

This article takes a more in-depth view of various audiences in order to better understand green consumers – which ones only think green, and which ones actually act green. With this knowledge, you will be able to position your products/services effectively as well as message potential customers who will be most receptive to them. 

Fatefully, the most significant potential for change in the suitability revolution lies with the consumer. Sadly, surveys continue to demonstrate that the knowing-doing gap is still very prevalent – people say that they want to buy sustainable products and services, but at the end of the day, they do not. The majority of consumers do not recognize that the idea of cheap goods can be synonymous with cruelty, as well as environmentally unhealthy, destructive, and irresponsible practices. Sadly, a large percentage of consumers are either too lethargic or uninterested in making an effort to live a sustainable lifestyle. 

It is essential to be aware of and understand the type of consumers to brand and provide the right messaging for your green product or service. 

Committed Green: This type of consumer is green to the core. They are a segment of the population, albeit a minority, who only buy products aligned with their strong and committed values. Vegans are an excellent example of this – they will go out of their way to make sure they do not eat any animal products, and some will not eat certain products that they consider detrimental to the environment in the way they are grown. Avocados are an example of this, as well as any products such as leather, they will not purchase. These kinds of consumers have negative attitudes towards products that degrade and cause suffering to animals and the environment, and also, incorporate green practices daily. 

Let’s look at this example.

Allbirds is a US-based company using strong messaging to sway the committed green consumer into buying their brand. They have exceptional sustainable practices supporting ethical supply chains, reducing environmental impact, and acting with ecological responsibility. They are indeed gathering the attention of the committed green consumer.

Thinking Green

This group of consumers makes informed green choices as best as they can. Millennials and Gen Z have higher educational backgrounds and live in urban areas. Both generations have strong connections to the Internet and social media, – they can be vocal on social media and are willing to boycott brands that do not fit their values. This demographic is concerned about sustainability and the environment. They are intelligent and discriminating, and are eager to pay more for environmentally, eco-friendly products and services. 

Let’s look at this example.

Green Beaver 

In 2002, Karen Clark and Alain Ménard cofounded Green Beaver, a Canadian producer of natural personal care products. As biochemists and microbiologists, they combined their years of experience with a firm mission to create products that are healthier to use and an alternative to the many dangerous chemicals on the market. They are taking steps to ensure their consumers have up-front information which can be used to make informed choices on their packaging and containers. 

Potentially Green

This group is an older, well- to medium-educated demographic. Their principal green activity is recycling, though they can be open to paying more for eco-friendly products and services when it requires little effort. This is the swing group that can change either way on any environmental issue. With more education, this group is a source for Committed Consumers and Thinking Green Consumers. 

Let’s look at this example.

XcelEnergy is a US green energy supplier. There are tapping into this market by putting information out there in a way that is easy to understand. As companies like this move into the mainstream market, consumers become more aware of how these businesses benefit both the consumer and the environment. They continue to grow their market share by keeping reliability, safety, and affordability at the forefront in their messaging.  

Basic Brown

These kinds of consumers are uninformed about environmental issues. A small percentage of them will recycle, though they use lax excuses to rationalize their other environmental behaviours, such as that they are too busy and lack interest. They feel inconsequential if they do anything, and their general attitude is that it’s someone else’s problem, so why bother. 

Dark Brown

This demographic has no awareness when it comes to the environment. They make no excuses for their lack of participation. For them, there are too many other important things to worry about.

Marketing is all about attracting the right customer, which why it is important to know the attitudes of your audience out there. There are five: Committed Green, Thinking Green, Potentially Green, Basic Brown, and Dark Brown. For your marketing to have the most impact, the key is to balance environmental issues with personal interests and convenience.