Conscious Consumers: Are You Ready?

Interesting pitch: "Conscious consumers are changing the rules of marketing. Are you ready?"

This is from Branding and Integrated Marketing, BBMG, pitching its new BBMG Conscious Consumer Report.

Green. Sustainable. Fair trade. Locally grown. Socially responsible. We know the words, but what do they really mean to America’s families and consumers?

That’s at www.bbmg.com, but you have to do some clicking to find it and it is selling, not just informing. According to the website, the report will be available in December for $1,250.

While there’s no doubt that the study itself is proof of growing consciousness of larger issues in business, which affects how people make purchase decisions, it also seems that self interest is still the rule (as if that were surprising).

For example, according to the news release, consumers identified so-called personal issues more than general issues. For example, global warming came up for 63%, compared to 90% on safe drinking water and 86% clean air. But does that maybe mean that people already live with the decline of water and air quality, while they still don’t feel global warming? And people want cures for diseases like cancer, AIDS, and Alzheimer’s (84%), for example) more than solutions to general issues.

I caught word of this study from Steve King at Bizlabs, who has been following some of what we’re starting to call "green" consumer trends. Steve puts it into small business perspective:

While BBMG and the study focus on large international brands, their research results are very relevant to small businesses serving consumers.  Consumers are looking for companies that have products that meet their personal needs and small businesses are very well positioned to provide customized or specialized products.  Also, according to the report conscious consumers are interested in supporting local businesses and buying products made in America. Small businesses easily can meet these requirements.

For my part, I really like the growing awareness of larger concerns, but I hope this isn’t just about the rules of marketing. There’s the marketing of the business, and, I hope more important, the underlying truth of the marketing, that the business is truly concerned about and working for the truth of the business itself.

BBMG notes five concerns common in conscious consumer: "health, safety, price, quality, and making a difference in the world." Do that first, and then let the marketing be a matter of telling the truth.

As a postscript, by the way, Steve King has had several good posts that put some of the greening trend in perspective. His post Business Social Responsibility Not Always Easy, for example, and perhaps more important, one on the need for marketing integrity to balance marketing technique.

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