Chris Duncan column: More questions mean less waste
IBM recently published research claiming two-thirds of respondents were willing to pay more for environmentally-friendly products and services. Only a fool (or a US president) would take a deliberately anti-green stance these days, and most firms moved to sustainable materials in the last wave of planet love. So what steps should we direct marketers take to prove our environmental credentials?
Carbon offsetting requires that brands pay for carbon created to meet consumer needs, but is not yet proven to be a sustainable model. Unless this is a legislative requirement, this also puts firms that provide offsetting services at a competitive disadvantage with the third of consumers who still buy solely on price.
A better contribution lies in reducing the wastage of materials that are both printed and digitally delivered - email still has an underrated carbon cost. The DM industry argues that its targeting skills reduce this, but real gains will only be made once environmentally concerned consumers play a part.
A preference centre, offering customers a web menu from which they can choose the channel, frequency and nature of what they receive, is a start. It may act more as a tailored service than a genuine permissions-based one, but it automatically reduces wasted contacts and should also prompt voluntary change of contact details, a key area for waste.
The toughest challenge to communicate, however, concerns the use of data when deciding which channel to use to contact customers. More effective targeting requires the ability to differentiate consumer behaviour based on many sources, including behavioural and attitudinal factors.
Both require a level of registration, permission and direct submission of customer opinion to be at their best, but the public may struggle to see more survey questions and Al Gore as obvious bedfellows. Let's hand that part of the challenge on to the creative department...
To have your say go to: www.brandrepublic.com/marketingdirect.
This article was first published on Marketing Direct
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