Eco marketing

I meet with an old friend and colleague recently. During our Saturday catch up in her beautiful garden, we talked about the digital spilling onto ATL and the pollution. 2 topics supposingly unrelated but intertwined: marketing & environment. Both subjects are close to our hearts, but it seemed there is an unexpected connection.

She is a seasoned CMO and as many others in our field, we reflected on the impact marketing has on our planet. It is a marketers job to get you to buy more, but to make space for new stuff, inevitably you have to dispose of the old. That is only part of the issue.

The marketing industry is producing masses of waste during the process. From one time trade stands all the way down to gifts, bags, brochures and leaflets.

Is it really necessary?

Many businesses now successfully operate paperless administration. We have changed our approach to real estate by sharing office space with other businesses. As employees we are now looking at addressing our everyday waste by bringing our own cups and lunch containers to be filled at pop up kitchens. We bring our reusable cotton bags to the grocer.

Yet we are still marketing everything the city has to offer with a leaflet. Each small business prints at least 10 000 leaflets, with numbers multiplying to 100 000 or even a million in bigger businesses. All of those going to landfill after one person gave it a single glance. That’s a lot of trees, expensive lacquer and delivery effort for just a single glance.

Don’t get me wrong, I for one want to know what’s on offer, but I make a point of taking a picture of the leaflet instead of taking one. If it means that there is at least one more person that can benefit, it is worth it.

It’s in those single acts of individuals that a change is made across the city. Let’s free our cities of single use packaging and single use marketing.

At least until the time when an e-paper replaces paper billboards and screens indoor and outdoor become a ubiquitous channel for even the smallest of businesses. Shouldn’t business owners focus on delivering great service instead of spending precious man hours distributing leaflets?

What if we all took a stand to limit single use marketing, saving the planet and helping small businesses achieve greater efficiency. A few years ago we thought mobile marketing would replace leaflets, but with the new privacy regulations, businesses yet again are looking into print as a safe alternative to speak to an individual in the specific location.