Green Marketing for Portland Vancouver?

How does your company rank when it comes to being “green”? For those of you who live in the Portland-Vancouver area, being environmentally friendly is something you should seriously consider.

Fast Company magazine recently listed Portland as one of the four greenest cities in the world. In the last year there have been a bunch of business conferences on both Portland and Vancouver on sustainability and environmental topics. As some of you know, I am on the board of directors of the Oregon Chapter of the American Marketing Association and we put on a conference in May whose theme was “green”. It had the highest ratings of all the conferences we have done.

Commerce Magazine in their August issue reported that Portland has the highest number of buildings certified as sustainable in the Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design Program run by the US Green Building Council.

They also claim that Portlanders have a strong commitment to buying locally. I had an opportunity to validate that when doing some customer research for a local client. The fact that this client was locally based was important in the selection decision for their customers.

The conclusion I draw is that being “green” is something that many local customers want and are coming to expect. This is obviously a trend in the country overall but it is particularly strong in the Portland-Vancouver market. In addition we see a strong desire to buy locally. Add these two things together and you have a great opportunity for local companies to distinguish themselves from national competitors.

And yet, I don’t see very many local companies taking advantage of this trend.

Even companies that have taken “green” steps often do not promote the fact. Recently one of my clients needed a flyer and expressed interest in having it printed on recycled paper and soy inks. In the Portland area there are only a couple of commercial printers who promote themselves as being environmentally friendly. As I discovered later, many printers employ sustainable and environmentally friendly practices but do not mention it on their websites or brochures!

So if you are looking for a competitive difference, stay ahead of the pack and become more green. Not only is it good for the community it is also good for business.


Green Marketing for Portland Vancouver? — 2 Comments

  1. Could the reason why businesses don’t promote being green is that they know that their competition has similar practices and therefore assume that the consumer knows that they have green practices? That is, they take having green options for granted and don’t think to promote the fact.

    This could happen in many circumstances where a business may think what they do is no big deal but might be what a certain subset of consumers are looking for.

  2. In some cases I am sure you are right. I often come across companies who think what they do is no different from their competitors.

    In some cases that might be true and should be a wakeup call for them to find a point of differentiation (If a customer cannot understand why one company is different from another, the criteria they will use is price!).

    I have interviewed the customers of many of my clients and it is interesting because even though the company may think it is no different from its competitors, the customer can often see points of difference — just not what the company expected.

    As far as promoting being green, when a company does have green practices, its also related to the company just not getting around to it. Running a small business takes a huge amount of time and unfortunately the marketing often gets forgotten in the pressures of the day. What is that quote? The “tyranny of the urgent” vs what is really important. I experience it myself!

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