Saturday, June 11, 2011

The 5th P of Marketing: Planet

I know not all small business owners are Marketing geeks like me, but if you've studied Marketing you've heard of the 4 P's: Product, Price, Place and Promotion. About 20 years ago I majored in Marketing in college and the 4 P's were ingrained in every paper I wrote and every project I completed.

I recently read a thought-provoking article in the Spring 2011 edition of @Mays published by the Mays Business School at Texas A&M University called "Marketing 3.0." In this article, author Philip Kotler discusses value-driven marketing that focuses on profits, people and planet.

And that's when the 5th P occurred to me: Planet. This is how your business strives to make the world a better place. It takes "Cause Marketing," which I blogged on a few years ago, a step further. Cause Marketing is aligning your company with a nonprofit cause, like a health food store and the American Diabetes Association, so that your company can enjoy additional PR and exposure from contributing to the cause.

According to Indra Nooyi, CEO of Pepsico “Many companies focus on the financial performance and have forgotten the fact that they owe every society that they operate in a duty of care." Marketers today must consider how their product, service, brand, company and employees impact the planet in the following ways:
  1. Sustainability. "How can we design and build a world in which the Earth thrives and people can pursue flourishing lives," is how the MIT Sloan Management Review defines sustainability. When the notion of sustainability first began hitting corporate America the focus was on regenerative byproducts, carbon footprints and the environment. For example, Kimberly-Clark recently revealed their 2015 Sustainability Goals as follows:
    • 25% reduction in water use and maintain quality of discharge
    • 100% certified fiber
    • 5% absolute reduction in greenhouse gas emissions
    • Zero manufacturing waste to landfill

    Furniture store IKEA recently developed a Sustainability Product Score Card so they can stock the greenest shelves, couches, chairs, and tables possible. It doesn't rate suppliers but instead rates products.

  2. Going green. Greener offices, work spaces and supplies are ways non-manufacturing businesses focus on the planet. A few examples are:
    • Carpooling
    • Recycling and placing recycle bins in high traffic office areas
    • Going paperless when possible
    • Work from home days
    • Energy efficient lights and light fixtures
    • Turning off lights and computers at the end of the day
    • Making 2-sided copies
    • Using non-toxic, "green" cleaning products or requiring your janitorial vendor to use them

  3. Philanthropreneurship: With "Cause Marketing" corporations partner with a nonprofit to help build both brands. Philanthropreneurship, also known as sustainable philanthropy, builds social responsibility into the brand. (I first saw the term in this article in the Spring 2011 edition of @Mays.)

    Think TOMS Shoes - who for every pair you purchase will donate a pair of shoes to a child in need "One for One." Social responsibility is integrated into the TOMS business model. And it pays off. According to the Edelman "Goodpurpose" survey of 6,000 consumers, aged 18-64, across 61 percent in the United States, buyers have a better opinion of corporations that integrate good causes into their business, regardless of the reasons why they do so.

Why is the 5th P so important? People want to feel good about their purchases. Protecting the planet is more economical in the long run. It connects people to your product or service by sharing values. And it boosts another P: Profit!


Extreme John said...

Good point about marketing. With the Global economic status and the state of health of our environment, there's no better way than promoting an eco-friendly marketing through sustainability and going green.

company profiles said...

This seems to be a timely post. There's no doubt that an increasing number of businesses will be looking at the environmental impact of what they are doing.

Although this can create issues, I think it opens up many opportunities too.