Growth through innovations in sustainability is gathering momentum. The recent passage of the Inflation Reduction Act, which contained nearly $370 billion in programs to support green energy and other sustainability efforts, will only add fuel to an international market shift toward more sustainable products. As we’ve covered before, however, sustainability is not a value proposition, which leads to the question of what are the best green marketing strategies to capitalize on the demand for sustainable solutions? 

In this post, we want to look at how marketers in a number of industries are responding to their customers’ demands for sustainability. Let’s dig in to six successful green marketing strategies. 

Word of Mouth 

According to the EPA, 27% of U.S. greenhouse gas emissions in 2020 came from the transportation sector. Electric car makers, led by Tesla, will be a key part of reducing these emissions, but you’d never know it from Tesla’s green marketing, which focuses on word of mouth.  

From its inception, Tesla focused much more on positioning its brand as the cutting edge of automotive technology, innovation, and luxury than the environmental benefits of electric cars. Tesla’s green word of mouth marketing centered on industry test drives and the buzz generated by the specs, and customers, of its first model.  

As Tesla grew, it continued to focus on innovative features that the media couldn’t ignore, which helped position the company as the future of the industry and generate a highly loyal following. Technology enthusiasts couldn’t stop gushing about features like the touch-screen dashboard and self-drive. Performance enthusiasts wrote glowing reviews about Tesla’s revolutionary acceleration. And each step of the way, Tesla’s innovation kept stirring up the buzz rather than focusing on sustainability.  

Sustainability Scorecards and Third-Party Validation 

Sustainability dashboards and benchmarks have proliferated in the past few years (including our client the Sustainable Green Printing Partnership’s Impact Tracker). These ranking and rating systems can help your green marketing efforts gain traction, as they become an ongoing source of PR and social news.  

As an example, let’s take a look at Vertical Harvest, an indoor agriculture start-up seeking to grow its profile. Vertical Harvest has established a partnership with the Resource Innovation Institute (RII), an organization that measures and verifies significant sustainability improvements in agriculture that it calls its PowerScore. High-scorers become best practices, and have ready-made case studies that become excellent PR sources.  

In this case, the RII and Vertical Harvest team were able to use this third party validation to secure placement in an industry publication, Produce Grower.  

Community Marketing 

Consumer recycling is often at the forefront of sustainability efforts, but changing acceptance requirements and limited understanding of how to prepare and where to deposit used materials for recycling can often limit recycling programs’ effectiveness.  

In order to increase recycling rates and improve consumer participation, Waste Management of Florida started the Green Broward initiative to help the residents of Broward County Florida change how they treat waste. The program’s initiatives included a new website and community outreach to clarify how residents could support environmentally friendly disposal of questionable items like storm-damaged materials. 

High-Visibility Endorsements 

Solar power is transforming the energy industry, but residential adoption has lagged due to costs and limited understanding of how to make the switch. Utilities and governments have turned to high-visibility endorsements in order to drive adoption. 

California’s solar program administrators believe that much of their success is due to when Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger launched his Million Solar Roofs campaign in 2004, using his star power at events, groundbreakings and in political discussions to generate momentum for what ultimately became a California law that has hit its goal.  

In another high-powered example, the Arizona Public Service partnered with Steve Nash of the Phoenix Suns to promote its solar initiative. Nash’s market popularity helped raise the initiatives profile, which was marketed through radio and digital marketing, as well as a partnership that installed solar panels on the Phoenix Suns’ stadium. Inside the arena, solar-promoting signage ensured that thousands of fans each season would be exposed to the solar program. 

Co-Branding and Distribution Partnerships 

Many sustainability experts advocate switching to a plant-based diet in order to improve the food industry’s environmental footprint. However, a number of consumers remain skeptical of plant-based or lab-grown meat imitations. 

Impossible Foods’ plant-based Impossible Burger may seem like an overnight success, but the company has spent years perfecting its formula in order to make plant-based foods appeal to meat-eaters. First, came savvy branding, with the company realizing that an aspirational brand name – Impossible – would do a much better job of capturing consumers’ imagination than other potential names.  

Armed with a powerful name and tasty product, the next step was to get its product into the hands of consumers. And for that, Impossible partnered with Burger King. The hamburger chose Impossible over its competitors due to its performance in taste-tests, and after an initial trial run on April Fool’s Day went exceedingly well, Burger King expanded the offering nationwide. Both Impossible and Burger King devoted significant PR and social media resources to the promotion, which helped generate significant national awareness of the product.  

Influencer Marketing 

A number of brands are seeking to reach younger audiences through influencer marketing, with Kellogg’s Kashi and the VERY GOOD food companies leading the way. These brands will typically establish partnerships and sponsorships with a group of influencers interested in helping promote new product launches that focus on sustainable products and plant-based diets. Brands also find that the more involved influencers become in helping shape and guide the marketing efforts, the better outcomes and engagement they’re likely to see. 

We hope that these insights into successful green marketing strategies have been informative. If you’re considering marketing for your sustainable product, contact Young Marketing Consulting. 

Five Dos and Don'ts for Inbound Lead Generation in 2021

Believe it or not, we’re starting to plan for 2021 already, and 61% of marketers say lead generation is a top concern for the year ahead. Clients wonder how to get more inbound leads, how to make sure those leads are high quality, and how much they should pay for good inbound leads. The following dos and don’ts of inbound lead generation can help your organization drive more quality inbound leads while also monitoring and limiting expenses.

Thanks, for the chart!

DO Make Sure You Have a Clear Call to Action

Your website, social profiles, and marketing materials should be designed to produce relevant leads for your business. In order to do that, you need to make sure that you feature a clear and compelling call to action. What do you want your audience to do? Some compelling CTAs include:

  • Sign Up for a Free Trial
  • Subscribe to Receive Our Welcome Offer
  • Schedule a Demonstration
Button examples from

There are thousands of possible CTAs, so it’s important to keep your audience in mind when creating a compelling offer. Are you selling a product or service that customers can test out online for free? Giving customers a chance to try it out for a week or month may be enough to get them hooked. If your service requires a deeper understanding, a product demonstration might be the way to go. For physical products, allowing people to sign up for your newsletter in exchange for a welcome discount can bring in new leads and new sales.

DON’T Spend More Than Your Leads are Worth

When you are paying money to generate inbound leads, it’s important to make sure that your leads are generating more revenue than you’re spending to get them. Over time, your Return on Investment (or ROI) should be significantly higher than your marketing expenses. Here’s a helpful article about measuring and improving ROI for marketing campaigns.

Keep in mind that positive ROI takes time. Your marketing campaigns might not be an overnight success; depending on your typical sales cycle, it can take time to see a positive return. However, you should get a sense of what each inbound lead is costing you to know if you’re paying too much. For example, if your product sells for $50 and each lead costs an average of $25, you are going to have a very hard time making a real profit when you factor in manufacturing expenses, employee salaries, shipping, and other costs. Ask the following questions to determine your target cost per lead:

  • How much do your products or services cost to deliver?
  • What is your profit per sale?
  • What percentage of your leads become paying customers?

For example, it costs $50 to produce your thingamajig. You sell each one for $100, leaving you a profit of $50 per item. On average, one out of every ten of your leads becomes a customer. That means your leads need to cost less than $5 for you to make a comfortable profit.

DO Use Multiple Tactics to Generate Inbound Leads

There are many different ways to generate inbound leads in 2021, and it’s important to experiment to find out which ones perform best for your organization. Consider the following options:

  • SEO: Optimize your website so that potential customers find you in their searches. The leads you receive as a result of a well-optimized website should be highly relevant and ready to learn more or even make a purchase.
  • Social Media: Build awareness about your brand using Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, or LinkedIn. You might not see immediate sales from your efforts, but social media offers an affordable way to stay front-of-mind with your prospects.
  • Google Ads: Reach your target audience when they’re searching for products or services like yours. If you have a compelling offer, Google Ads offers a great way to generate new inbound leads.
  • Content Marketing: Create content that answers your audience’s questions or shares useful tips. Great shareable content can take the form of blogs, videos, or infographics, so try to create posts across multiple media formats.
  • Display Ads: Placing ads on relevant videos or websites is a good way to reach your target audience when they might not be thinking about products or services like yours. Display ads usually have lower levels of engagement than Google or Facebook Ads, but they also tend to be much more affordable.

DON’T Neglect Your Website

Remember, most of your inbound lead prospects will come through your website before initiating any sort of contact with your sales team. Statistics say only 4% of those web visitors are ready to buy, but that’s okay – converting a visitor into a lead (by collecting his or her email address) will give you the opportunity to follow up and win their business. That’s why it’s so important to make sure that your website makes it easy – and compelling – for your visitors to express interest.

In 2021, a great website is optimized for mobile (since more than 50% of the web’s traffic comes from mobile devices). It should also be easy to navigate, so visitors can find the information they want quickly. Your call to action should be impossible to miss. The average web visitor will spend no more than 15 seconds on your website, so you need to make a good impression, and you need to do it fast. User experience is everything, so don’t be afraid to put some time and money into your websites UX design and work with a professional to get it right.

Do Offer Users Different Ways to Engage

People are individuals with unique interests and communication preferences. Even though you may have your target audience profile zeroed in, it’s likely that there will be some variation among those individuals. For example, some may prefer to watch videos to learn more about a product, while others may prefer to read articles. Some may not have the time to go through a personal demonstration but might sign up for a webinar so they can listen while they work. Among your audience, you will have some who want to speak on the phone or send an email, but 67% will prefer self-service options like an online knowledge base to find the answers to their questions. The more options you offer, the more likely you are to receive new leads and win over their business.

Are you ready to step up your inbound lead generation for 2021? Send us a message and we’ll set up a call to review your marketing goals!

What does a marketing consultant do?

Companies hire marketing consultants for many reasons: to support initiatives outside their existing team’s scope, to bring an expert perspective to a particular challenge, or to improve execution in daily operations. The job requirements can be quite broad, which is why so many marketing consultants spend so much time clarifying their scopes of work!

But in our experience, the most important thing a marketing consultant can do for you is rarely one that’s included in an RFP: build an achievable path to reach your objectives and mature your business.

Doing so requires evaluation in areas you might not consider to be within your initial scope, such as:

  • Audience fit and market position
  • Software and process infrastructure
  • Team composition and skillset
  • Database management and segmentation
  • Brand and creative review

That’s why in today’s post we’re looking at what, exactly, a marketing consultant SHOULD do for you.

Market Research & Marketing ROI Evaluation

1. A marketing consultant should gather data to help you understand what the numbers say about your business.

What Does a Marketing Consultant Do? Market ResearchUnderstanding your customers’ needs and assessing and how well you’re meeting them is a foundational concept for every marketer. Gathering this data will help you understand areas such as the following:

  • Growth Opportunities:
    • How big is your market?
    • Who are your competitors?
    • What untapped needs might exist?
  • Marketing ROI:
    • What return are you getting on your marketing investments?
    • What return should you expect to get from new campaigns?
    • Where are your highest-revenue leads coming from?
  • Brand Competitiveness:
    • What does your target audience think about your product or service?
    • Does the brand experience you deliver match the brand experience you want to deliver?
    • How visible is your brand online?
    • Is your value proposition clear and compelling?

Many organizations will have this information readily available. A good marketing consultant should ask to review your past market research and campaign performance data to build their understanding of your organization. If you don’t have this information readily available, you may want to consider including it in your scope.

Branding and Design

2. A marketing consultant should assess gaps in how you want to be seen by your audience vs. how they experience your brand. 

What Does a Marketing Consultant Do? Brand DesignOnce you understand exactly what your audience is looking for, the next step is to clarify your value proposition and ensure that you’re communicating it clearly and effectively. For a marketing consultant, this means conducting a brand evaluation.

And while many marketers still think of a brand as a logo and color scheme, your brand encompasses every message, call to action, and paragraph of copy you put out into the market. Each communication should work to emphasize the unique benefit you provide to your customers, while every interaction should make good on your brand promise.  If they don’t, it’s time to revise your branding.

A rebranding typically includes:

  • Crafting an identity package that includes logos, fonts, colors, and iconography
  • Revising your websites, landing pages, email templates, digital and print ads, and other campaign assets
  • Designing materials for trade shows, presentations, and other marketing opportunities
  • Verbal identity materials such as copy bibles, elevator pitches, differentiation statements, and more

Branding also includes designing an ideal customer experience, creating strategies to address complaints, and ensuring that your organization receives constant feedback on any shifts in market needs. As this can be quite a large initiative, a good marketing consultant will be able to help you identify where to focus first for maximum results.

Marketing Strategy

3. A marketing consultant should identify the most effective way to reach your audience given your existing resources. 

What Does a Marketing Consultant Do? Strategy and ExecutionWith your brand in place, it’s time to think about how you’ll reach your audience. This is where executive planning sessions and corporate missions meet the reality of available resources. At this stage, your marketing consultant should help you:

  • Identify strategies to break through the market clutter and capture your audience
  • Set goals for your campaigns and determine which performance metrics matter most
  • Segment and prioritize your target audiences
  • Forecast ROI based on budget and campaign opportunities
  • Create unified themes and messaging
  • Identify any operational needs that will be required to deliver on the above

This last point is, in our opinion, one of the most critical yet often-overlooked components to successful marketing. Everyone will have lofty goals in a strategic planning session, but your consultant’s job will be to bring those down to earth and identify whether you have the staff, budget, or tools to accomplish your goals. If not, they’ll need to be built before your campaign is put into motion.

Campaign Execution

4. A marketing consultant should help identify what’s working and what isn’t and lay out a plan for improvement.

What Does A Marketing Consultant Do? Marketing ReportingWe’ve finally arrived at the point where most companies hire a marketing consultant: campaign execution and evaluation. While proper attention to the previous activities we’ve discussed will help your campaigns achieve stronger results, every plan will need to be adjusted based on market response.

During campaign execution, you should expect your marketing consultant to approach things from an analytical perspective. Modern marketing generates a significant amount of data, and testing and measuring different executions and messaging will be critical to optimize your campaigns and generate positive ROI. Your consultant should walk you through the following:

  • How have past campaigns performed?
  • Where do your most profitable customers come from?
  • What messages will go to which audiences at what times (the campaign calendar)?
  • How will effectiveness be tracked?
  • What are our leading campaign indicators?
  • How will progress be reported?
  • What benchmarks must be hit for optimal performance

With these items clarified, it’s time to dig into the nuts and bolts of channel-by-channel marketing to build your media/advertising plan, push that message into the market, and keep a close eye on initial performance.

Your marketing consultant should provide benchmarks for ideal performance in your chosen channel, along with leading indicators required to generate a positive ROI. Your campaigns should include a number of testing elements to identify things like the most effective calls-to-action, the best-performing creative, etc. that can be leveraged and amplified as campaign performance data comes in. And if poor performance is observed, it should be acted on immediately.


Conclusion – What Exactly Should a Marketing Consultant Do?

To sum up, your marketing consultant should help you:

  • Gather data and help you understand your performance
  • Assess brand message and experience gaps
  • Identify the most effective approach to reach your audience
  • Continually improve your marketing based on observed performance

We hope this guide has helped you understand exactly what a marketing consultant does and how they can help. If you have any questions or would like to discuss an engagement, contact one of our expert marketing consultants today.  

A (Marketing) History of Valentine's Day

The history of Valentine’s Day goes back thousands of years (you can skip to the end of this post to see just how far). But in the more recent past, marketers have been a driving force in society’s celebration of love. 

Greeting Cards – Inventing a New Category

A Marketing History of Valentine's Day - an early Valentine's Card

One of Esther Howland’s early Valentine’s Day cards

Legend says that Saint Valentine himself sent the first valentine card when writing to an acquaintance shortly before his execution and signing the letter “Your Valentine”. Not too long afterward, in the 1820s, a young woman named Esther Howland was starting the New England Valentine Company to produce finely detailed Valentine’s Day cards of the kind she’d once received from Europe

At the time, Americans mostly circulated hand-made love notes. Recognizing that no one in the United States was producing high-quality Valentine’s Day cards, she began assembling her own cards from silk, lace and other fine ingredients in a spare bedroom. Production quickly expanded to women working from home all over town, eventually growing her business to annual revenues of $100,000.

The marketing lesson for today? If you see a gap in a marketplace, trust your instincts. You’ll always want to research your market of course, which is why Esther relied on a traveling salesperson when she began who relayed customers’ potential interest in her endeavour.


Chocolate – Luxury Marketing

A marketing history of Valentine's Day - Cadbury's Fancy Boxes

An example of an early “Fancy Box”

Wondering where those heart-shaped candies first came from? The answer is the famous chocolatier Cadbury, and the reason is, well. marketing. 

Let’s travel back to 1868 when the French were world-renowned chocolatiers and every other company was an also-ran. Richard Cadbury, son of the company’s founder, wanted to highlight Cadbury’s quality in a way that caught people’s attention. He settled on the concept of a “Fancy Box”: a keepsake crafted with such stunning detail that the boxes were prized as luxury items and regifted as keepsakes even after the chocolates were consumed. The heart-shape? His invention as well.

Our Modern Marketing Lesson? Fit your message to your audience and give them an experience. Valentine’s Day, and Cadbury’s, might not be the same if Richard had made boxes from cheap plywood!


Valentine’s Today – Mastering Seasonal Marketing

Estimates for consumer spending on Valentine’s Day hover north of $18 billion. And capturing a share of that spending has to be done quickly – you can see from the Google Trends report below that interest spikes quickly for Valentine’s Day shoppers. 

Which brings us to the challenge of seasonal marketing. You’ve no doubt noticed that products for all seasons are showing up in stores earlier and earlier – I saw Valentine’s candy on the shelves in December this year. But it’s being done for a reason: while many very seasonal purchases are done closer to the the date of celebration, you’re trying to generate awareness that the holiday is coming, and hopefully capture a larger share of spending from someone who can’t resist buying a bag of delicious candy hearts just a few days earlier but breaks into the sweets before the big day and has to buy another bag. 

The marketing lesson here? Take a look at when searches for flowers start increasing – two months before Valentine’s Day. Start your seasonal promotions around two months in advance, and you’ll hopefully be capturing mindshare before your competition. 

Marketing a seasonal product? Start promotions ~2 months in advance.

We hope you enjoyed our historical look back at Valentine’s Day. If you’d ever like to have a more modern marketing conversation, why not contact Young Marketing Consulting today

Bonus Valentine’s Day History Quiz

Do we celebrate Valentine’s Day on February 14th because:

A. It was the day Roman emperor Claudius II executed a Christian martyr named Valentinus for secretly marrying soldiers?

B. As celebrated by high-school English favorite Geoffrey Chaucer in his poem “Parlement of Foules“, it was the day of Richard II’s engagement to Anne of Bohemia?

C. It was the day the ancient Romans celebrated the feast of Lupercalia, during which they stripped naked and whipped each other with wolf skin to purge bad luck and infertility?

The answer is…all three. Valentine’s Day as we know it traces its roots to the English tradition of courtly love in the middle ages, so you could argue that B is most correct answer. But B never would have happened if Chaucer hadn’t called out the date as being “Saint Valentine’s Day”, which may or may not have been arbitrarily declared by Pope Gelasius I to help eliminate the pagan Lupercalia festivals he had just outlawed.