Discover how one company used their B2B green marketing advantages to build market share...
GOING GREEN PAYS
Successful marketing has always been about recognizing trends and positioning your products, services and brand in a manner that supports buying variables.
Today, "Green" marketing has gone from a trend to a way of doing business - and businesses that sell to other businesses (B2B) should recognize (1) the value of going green and (2) incorporating this message into their marketing program.
THE GREEN DIVIDEND
Today, companies are going green and buying green. Major companies like Pepsico and many others have mandated buying green products. These may include products that save energy, conserve resources, reduce emissions, eliminate pollutants, minimize environmental impact, or a combination thereof. For those B2B companies that have seized or are embracing "Green initiatives" to attract customers like Pepsico and many others, B2B Green Marketing should be an essential part of their marketing strategy.
When Miura, a world-leader in industrial steam boilers, began looking for a new marketing message to build their North American market share, they were starting from the low single digits. Plus, they faced strong completion from the entrenched market leaders in an industry where old relationships die hard. They needed to move to the next level with a message that caught the attention of both distributors and end-users, recognizing that each had different buying variables.
Green marketing was that next level, and based on Miura’s marketing at the time, which stressed highest in-service efficiencies and innovative money-saving technology, they could certainly make the claim of being “greener” than the competition. But at the time, while no one would dispute the need for a healthy environment, there were some who really questioned the relevance and impact of global warming, climate change and other green issues. The message needed to resonate to be heard.
When Miura first considered a marketing message that spoke to conserving resources and saving the planet, proponents of climate change and global warming were challenged by a vocal number of skeptics that tried to dismiss their claims as exaggerated. Then came rising oil and gas prices, and suddenly saving energy was as issue with economic as well as environment impact.
Before long, people on both sides of the debate agreed on the need to reduce oil and gas consumption, thereby saving money, conserving natural resources, and working toward a healthier planet. Businesses could no longer afford to sit on the fence and hope things would get better. Now, in addition to “saving the planet,” going Green meant saving green.
Successful marketing companies understand the significance of trends, and going Green had far-reaching implications for Miura. However at the time, the concept of Green marketing was still very new.
Miura’s innovative technology did save on oil and gas consumption (on average of 20%), and their boilers offered the “highest in-service efficiency.” The company also was taking steps to further reduce nitrous oxide, (NOx), a contributor for smog, and because Miura boilers could turn water to steam in 5 minutes (versus hours for the competition) they released significantly less CO2.
To some customers, who were seeing an increase in energy costs, saving money and conserving resources was important. For Miura, it was the basis to a marketing campaign that help accelerate the growth of their market share.
THE FIRST CAMPAIGN
When Marcomm Group (the agency) was awarded the Miura account, and asked to come up with a marketing idea that would help them achieve their goal of market leadership, “Going Green” was a relatively new concept in B2B Marketing. It had its doubters.
But the fact was that Miura was attracting more interest because their steam boilers used less oil and gas, and prices for these resources were slowly going up.
Of course the prices could have just as easily gone back down, so the agency needed to be careful about making “Green” THE message in the campaign.
Instead they relied on the time-tested benefits of saving money, while also introducing a statement that supported what was to be the bigger-picture message.
The headline used in Miura’s first campaign was intended to make a statement, capture attention, and lay the groundwork for our follow-up campaign. It read: “More Companies Are Saving Money, While Saving The Planet.” It appeared in a print ad, and a brochure. We also created press releases that focused on the money-saving resource-conserving benefits of Miura boilers.
The reaction was as we expected:
(1) The message attracted the attention of those companies concerned about the rising cost of fuel;
(2) The message associated saving fuel costs with a greater good, which in turn made Miura customers feel better about their purchase;
(3) The competition tried to dismiss the campaign as without basis or merit, because they had little to offer by way of comparable advantages;
(4) Some distributors, with an eye on the immediate future began to take notice; and
(5) Sales increased.
Miura customers were saving money, and in turn helping to save the planet by conserving resources. There was no disputing those claims, even if the wording sounded somewhat over-the-top. Advertising messages are intended to gain viewer attention, and to inspire people – not put them to sleep.
Terms like “global warming” and “climate change” were signals as to what lie ahead, just as concerns about air pollution years ago led to stricter auto-emission control. We were seeing a new trend emerging captured in the phrase “Going Green.”
Focused on positioning Miura as the leader in that space (in their product category), the agency moved to strengthen the B2B Green Marketing effort after only six months by introducing a new campaign. This campaign was expanded to the web, online video, micro-sites, email blasts, public relations, social media, and more.
THE SECOND CAMPAIGN
“Think Green, Save Green” was launched to capture the growing interest in eco-friendly products, and to position Miura as the industry leader.
The message also continued to promote the “highest-efficiency” theme Miura had previously used, since a more efficient steam boiler uses less energy. Other innovations such as multiple installation boilers (MI)that could be turned on or off as needed to meet steam-load requirements were also presented as green benefits. Every benefit and advantage had a “green” lining and the agency was intent of “showing it off.”
Before long the agency focused the marketing message on target industries such as hospitals, food processing, and others. They created unique micro-sites such as www.SteamBoilersForHospitals.com which built on the green strategy and added video testimonials and video FAQs to what became a page 1 Google site for industry-specific search words.
They agency soon created written and video case studies, took Miura’s green message into social networks, and created interactive tools todeliver the message and capture qualified leads.
Today Miura’s continues Go Green, with many customers now mandating and being “incentivized” to buy “Green products.”
And the trend continues to strengthen….
RESULTS TO DATE
In the four years Marcomm has worked with Miura, they have either broken sales records or outsold the competition by a wide percentage based on market share. The company continues to be on target to enjoy the leading market share in North America according to their timetable. The company recently built U.S. manufacturing facilities in the Atlanta area, expanded their product line into eco-friendly steam boiler water treatment chemicals, and continued to expand on their B2B Green Marketing efforts.
Part of their success has been earned by continuing to build on a marketing strategy that was an emerging trend a few years ago.
We continue to build on a marketing strategy that was an emerging trend a few years ago.
Want to be our next marketing success story? Call our President Bob Lipp at 1-800-790-2276 or email him at: email@example.com
To see more of our work, visit www.MarcommGroup.com
Today more and more companies including giants like Pepsico are mandating the purchase of green products for their manufacturing and related facilities, which is why it makes sense to find out just “How Green Is Your B2B Business."
Answering these 5 questions can help you make that determination.
1. Are the components you use recyclable and/or biodegradable?
2. In what areas does your product reduce energy consumption: manufacturing, distribution, product usage?
3. What steps have you taken to conserve natural resources?
4. What steps have you taken to reduce pollution and toxic emissions?
5. What steps have you taken to effectively market your Green benefits?
Discover how one company used their “B2B Green Advantages” to grow market share by reading the informative case study (left).
More Green "Quizzes" Below
Following are some thought-provoking and educational tests you can test to determine your “total greenness.” Some of these tests are applicable to business environments, personal care, or consumer products.
Go Green Score
Yale: Take The Green Quiz
MSNBC: What do you know about green business?
MSNBC: Are you a green consumer?
Environmental Protection Agency