The greenest consumers may not be your best target

The greenest consumers may not be your best target

As a rule, when identifying the best target audience for a client’s product, our advice has been consistent:  look to the profile of the people who’ve done it before and then go find more people like them.  That’s just gotten a lot more complicated.

Our Green Living Pulse study (publishing August 6) seeks to segment the population based on green attitudes and behaviors and drill really deeply into their motivations and messaging preferences.  What we found is that the folks who’ve traditionally been the buyers of green products aren’t necessarily the most likely future buyers.

Our name for this segment is The Actives, and they make up 28% of the population.  As the name suggests, they’re actively engaged in green purchases and sustainable behaviors.  They average over 12 green product purchases and sustainable lifestyle habits, compared to an average of 8 for the overall population. They index above average for almost all sustainable activities, including both the “easy ones” (recycling, carrying re-usable bags to shop, etc.) along with the “hard ones” like adding renewable generation and water collection systems to their homes.

They sound like the perfect target audience for any green product, right?  The challenge is this:  they’ve so embraced a green lifestyle that they’re actually less likely to be seeking new products than some other consumer segments.  They’re growing their own food and making their own cleaning products, prefering to “do green” more than “buying green.”  Some may, in fact, reject “consumerisim” as a matter of principal.

For the products they can’t make and have to buy, they’re pretty entrenched with their brand preferences and may be less likely to try a new brand.  The silver lining is that they are early adopters…so as new product categories emerge, they’ll be likely to try.  If your brand is one of the first to market in that category, you hit the efficacy criteria and have a believable green story to tell, you can attract them to buy.

But, if you’re a new brand in a mature product category, don’t chase after the already green consumers.  Hone your sites on the next generation, a group we call The Seekers.

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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