Disposable Marketing Freebies: What Message Are We Sending?

Consumers Want Sustainable Marketing

Many consumers now shop around for “ethical” companies and those consumers expect a new kind of business marketing – the kind with a long-term view and a sustainable approach. When we decide what to hand out to customers that will help them remember our company, we need to consider the unintentional messages our choices may be sending.

We may be talking about environmental responsibility, but cheap plastic marketing items that break easily and add to the trash problem will send a message that is louder than the one in our corporate brochures. To be sure we’re sending the message we intended, we need to evaluate all of our marketing give-away programs with a sustainability lens:

Are We Using Sustainable Business Marketing?

Is the paper used for our corporate stationary sustainably sourced? Recycled?

What message are we sending with our corporate logo items?

  • Are they made from new materials or recycled?
  • Are they local or imported?
  • Are they made by a responsible company?
  • Are any of the parts or ingredients harmful to people or the environment?
  • Are they immediately useful and durable or likely to end up in a landfill within a month?

Articles That Explain Green Marketing and How to Implement it:

Impact of B2B Green Marketing in an Increasingly Environmentally Conscious World by Bob Lipp, Marcomm Group, Inc.

Seven Reasons Why Ethics Helps Your Business Succeed–And Five Easy Action Steps  Shel Horowitz

Green Marketing: 4Ps PLUS Triple Bottom Line California Green Solutions

Linda Fisher Thornton is Owner of Leading in Context, providing Practical Tools for Ethical Leadership in a Global Society. She is Adjunct Assistant Professor of Leadership for the University of Richmond School of Continuing Studies.

Visit the Leading in Context® Digital Store for eBooks, training modules, discussion guides and graphics supporting ethical business leadership. The newest publication is a “stoplight” graphic showing “Ethical Interpersonal Behavior. “

About Linda Fisher Thornton
Author of 7 Lenses, Speaker, Bringing Out the Best in People and Organizations Through Proactive Ethical Leadership, CEO Leading in Context, 2014 Top 100 Thought Leaders in Trustworthy Business Behavior, Adj. Assist. Prof. of Ethics and Leadership, UR SPCS

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