Revisiting My 3 Marketing Predictions: Climate Change Rose to the Top

I am going to be taking a break from posting for a bit. So, before I start my break, I thought I would revisit some marketing predictions I made earlier in the year.

I am going to be taking a break from posting for a bit. So, before I start my break, I thought I would revisit some marketing predictions I made earlier in the year.

My 3 Predictions

I never expected 2019 to totally transform marketing; but there is a major shift underway, with respect to the last prediction.

In my last post, I wrote about the recommendation from the Business Roundtable that companies think more broadly about the constituents they serve, including the planet. The vast majority of Americans believe that the climate crisis is real and there is a desire for real change. Climate worries are also causing consumers to rethink their consumption habits and businesses are responding.

How Am I Doing?

For me, these trends have not just been academic.

I recently went to a fast-casual style restaurant. My younger daughter likes to order the kid’s meal there, and it comes with a fairly rigid small plastic cup to fill up at the drink station. She has decided she wants less plastic in the world, so she asked for the adult paper cup, instead, and was willing to pay the difference. The cashier mentioned that this request was now very common, and they had let corporate know. My daughter received the paper cup, gratis.

In another example, I was at the airport and stopped at a sandwich chain. As I was handed my drink, I was asked if I wanted the lid and straw.

I am not alone, a recent study by Futera found that 88% of consumers wanted brands to help them live sustainably. The marketing implications for this trend are very interesting. Aside from a physical product or service, consumers are asking and paying for less. While it may not seem like much, a lid and a straw are big conveniences bundled into the price of a meal. Yet at the airport I was asked … do you want to take a small hit for the team? I happily took the hit and kept my drink close, until I finished it.

I generally keep my politics out of business, but climate change is not political to me. It is an existential threat, and most U.S. consumers agree.

Now, It’s Your Turn

As marketers, we need to think of ways to satisfy this growing need; and, fortuitously, consumers are willing to share the burden.

Here is my next prediction: Companies that do not change quickly will soon find themselves out of favor with a big segment of the market.

Can ‘Sustainability’ be Profitable? Answer: It Has to Be.

As marketers, we have the chance to lead what Harvard Business Review calls the third great wave of global enterprise: sustainability.

In this blog, I will be posting questions, opportunities, concerns and observations on sustainability in marketing.

Why do I get to write about this? Because I want to, and the editorial team at Target Marketing has provided a central venue for blogging all things direct marketing! Plus I am motivated by opportunity: As marketers, we have the chance to lead what Harvard Business Review calls the third great wave of global enterprise: sustainability (following the previous waves of IT and quality).

Harvard Business Review, “The Big Idea: The Sustainable Economy” (October 2011)

Harvard Business Review, “The Sustainability Imperative” (May 2010)

While public policymakers dither over climate change, carbon management, green jobs and trying to pick winners and losers, the private sector—and non-profit sector, too—recognize a simple truth: future riches will flow to the innovators. Those inventors, startups, organizations and corporations that can deliver a “smarter planet” in efficiency, use of resources, and return on investment, taking into account the triple bottom line: people, planet and profits.

Now, let’s bring this home to marketing.

In our discipline of direct and interactive marketing, and more broadly integrated marketing, we are everyday focused on efficiency, resourcefulness and return on marketing investment. To do otherwise is to fail our employers, clients and customers, and investors—as well as ourselves as marketing professionals. The sooner our choices in marketing activity reflect this third wave of global enterprise, the more profitable we will become.

I welcome your thoughts, comments and conversation. Let’s make sustainability profitable.