HADLEY, Mass., Feb. 28, 2011 /PRNewswire/ -- In the old days, companies that wanted to reach a market simply advertised. With enough "firepower," they could reach consumers and convince them to buy.
But that strategy works a lot less smoothly than it used to, says green marketing expert Shel Horowitz, author of eight books - most recently the Amazon Environmental category bestseller Guerrilla Marketing Goes Green (with Jay Conrad Levinson).
"Customers don't want to be 'sold to'; they want active partnerships with the companies wooing them. With your prospects seeing up to 3000 marketing messages every day, they've learned to filter out any sales message that doesn't provide information they need, or open doorways to relationships they want to build. They want active involvement and dialogue.
"In the green market, they also want the full story, and they'll take the time to verify your claims," he says.
So how does a company reach this finicky, sensitive market? Horowitz, 54, says you have to position yourself as a "thought leader." "Provide useful information and positive action steps, make your customers and prospects aware of new developments and trends, and reap the rewards," he says.
Instead of traditional one-way sales messages, you want to use marketing based in increasing your credibility and trust. Those kinds of campaigns enable you to:
- Establish your organization's expertise, so when people think of your industry, they think of you first.
- Bring previous customers back in to buy again (typically, at just 10 to 20 percent of the cost of bringing in a new customer through traditional marketing approaches).
- Create zero-extra-cost new business by receiving pass-alongs, links on social media, and word-of-mouth/word-of-mouse buzz.
- Bring in marketing partners who will delightedly introduce you to markets and audiences where they are already known and respected, but you are unknown.
- Develop or expand a valuable archive of useful content on your website that can bring more visitors in to explore your offerings.
One way to brand your organization as a thought leader, Horowitz says, is to provide a steady stream of high-quality, high-value content.
But Horowitz recognizes the challenge companies and organizations face in creating that content. "Too often, content creation gets passed to managers with full plates and little understanding of effective writing."
And that, he says, has negative consequences.
"If you throw the job to someone with neither the skills nor the inclination to do the best job, you end up with poorly done, scattershot content that hurts your brand instead of building it. You wouldn't ask your production supervisor to handle the bookkeeping, and you don't want to ask your bookkeeper to create your expertise positioning and relationship marketing materials."
Horowitz has an easy solution for busy executives who'd like to position themselves as green experts: license the rights to one or both of his targeted monthly columns: Green And Profitable, which offers easy, inexpensive tips and profiles for businesses wanting to go green and attract green customers - perfect for B2B businesses reaching out to others who work in the green market - and Green And Practical, for businesses whose target market is primarily end-users or consumers.
The columns are highly affordable, very readable, and available for licensing to any corporation, association, or media outlet that sincerely wants to reach the green market. Sample columns and full licensing instructions can be found at http://greenandprofitable.com and http://greenandpractical.info
Green social media guru Chris Brogan, co-author of Trust Agents, says Horowitz offers: "A clever blend of ideas, recipes, and thoughts for the future ... might just become your blueprint, if you want to see the successful greening of the world."
Five of his eight books (published by John Wiley & Sons, Simon & Schuster, Chelsea Green, and other houses) have won awards and/or been republished in other countries.
In addition, Horowitz has published more than 1000 articles, more than 800 blog posts, and more than 400 monthly newsletter articles. His work has appeared in the Washington Post, In Business, Boston Globe, St. Louis Post-Dispatch, Minneapolis Star-Tribune, and numerous other markets.
He's also been quoted repeatedly in the New York Times, Wall Street Journal, Entrepreneur, etc., and on numerous major green-oriented websites.
SOURCE Shel Horowitz