Do you know who you’re talking to?

Do you know who you’re talking to?

Let’s start this conversation with a very direct statement:  There is no one “green consumer.”  Nor is there one “energy efficient market.”  There are multiple audience segments who are good targets for various green and energy efficiency products.  And the audience will vary by product and/or market situation.

For example, in our Eco Pulse study we tested multiple permutations of four different products to understand how important green features were in the selection/preference process.  On the cleaning product we tested, we found that ingredients carried a lot of weight (particularly all natural ingredients)…but when we broke the respondents down into groups based on the features they gravitated to, we found that about half the population fell into a segment we could name the Clorox/Kills Germs segment  (in other words, their main criteria for product selection was the brand and the efficacy), about 30% made up the All Natural Ingredients segment and the remaining 20% made up the Low Price segment.

If you were to look at the breakdown of consumer preferences in the other categories we probed, you’d see a completely different breakdown/segmentation model. So, the moral of the story is that there is no one Green Consumer buying All Things Green.  The person buying green cleaning products may not be the same person buying organic vegetables.  Thus, your job as a marketer is to understand how much weight green features carry in your specific product category, how many people actually prioritize those green features highly enough for it to make a difference in product selection, and, ultimately, understand what it is motivating those consumers to place that priority on those green features.

To help you understand a bit more about motivations, we’ve created short videos on the three target audiences that, in general, are good targets for energy efficient products.  Again, which one of these audiences is the best will vary by product — but they’re all a good place to start.  The thing to note is that they all have very different drivers.  Let’s take a broad category like Compact Fluorescent Light Bulbs.  All three of these audiences — True Believers, Concerned Moms and Cautious Conservatives — have likely purchased these bulbs, but for entirely different reasons.  True Believers did it because they wanted to save the planet.  Concerned Moms did it because they’re worried about their kids’ future (and worries about their present — and exposure to the mercury n CFL’s — may cause them to not buy the bulbs as well).  And Cautious Conservatives did it because it’ll save them a few bucks on their electric bill.


Posted on

November 19, 2009

About the Author

Suzanne Shelton

Where Suzanne sees opportunity, you can bet results will follow. Drawing on her extensive knowledge of both the advertising world and the energy and environment arena, Suzanne provides unparalleled strategic insights to our clients and to audiences around North America. Suzanne is a guest columnist in multiple publications and websites, such as GreenBiz, and she speaks at around 20 conferences a year, including Sustainable Brands, Fortune Brainstorm E and Green Build.

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