Sustainable Promotions

Posted: by Moyra Burke-Smith

When it comes to marketing, everyone has an opinion, including your customers. They’re savvy and make influential buying decisions based on their own interpretation of your marketing. So how can you make sure your marketing dollar wins their loyalty?

Imagine 2 firms with similar services, ABC Electrical (ABC) and Sparkies123 (123). To many potential customers there is nothing to choose between them.

Both firms join a local chamber and go to a networking event to build their reputation and meet new clients.

ABC ordered some cheap branded plastic pens to hand out because there were cheap they could get 2000 of them. At the event ABC gave out 300 pens and still has 1700 for other marketing exercises.

123 ordered some branded bamboo pens. They were 50% more expensive so they only ordered 1000. They also gave out 300 pens. So far 123 has spent 50% more per pen and only have 700 pens left for other activity.

Later that week two business owners were talking and one needed a pen to write down a phone number. The first says “Here use mine, I got it from 123, it’s really cool, it’s made from sustainable bamboo. I want it back though; it works really well and I love the feel of it.”

The other replies, “Wow – that is cool. Better than that crap one I got from ABC it fell apart! In fact everyone who got one chucked them in the bin – they’re rubbish.”

Clearly you can see where this scenario is going: Do you want to be the owner of ABC, where your name is associated with the words “crap” and “rubbish” or do you want to run 123, associated with “cool” and “works really well”?

In the end, 123 has spent less, got a better reputation AND reduced its environmental impact. 123 has won more business and can genuinely claim to be more environmentally responsible – now that’s cool!

ABC has spent more, got a poor reputation, lost clients to its competitor and is now known to buy cheap plastic ‘crap’. Very uncool!

What about the pens themselves? The ABC pens have been thrown in the bin – that’s a waste of materials, freight, labour, and expense – very unsustainable. The 123 pens are being kept and used all year. The pen owners won’t let anyone steal their pen and are happily showing it off and saying great things about 123 every time they do.

So you don’t have to be in an ‘environment-related’ industry to be environmentally responsible and the benefits massively outweigh the costs. So what do you want to be? Cool or un-Cool?

For information about sustainable merchandise that will suit yourbusiness, contact CoolPromo at

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