How sustainable marketing can improve the digital ecosystem
April 22, 2021
With Earth Day upon us, it’s hard not to think about the impact of climate change and pollution as they affect the ecosystem that we live in.
This year’s Earth Day theme is ‘Restore Our Earth™’, with the official event focused on natural processes, emerging green technologies, and innovative thinking to restore the world’s ecosystems. Now you’re probably wondering “what does Earth Day have to do with sustainable marketing?” You might even be questioning “what the heck is sustainable marketing?” Let me explain…
Sustainable marketing and the digital ecosystem
Simply put, sustainable marketing is compassionate marketing.
However, today, consumers are inundated with ads, emails, and phone calls daily. Even worse, much of this content is irrelevant, going to the wrong person, and clogging up our inboxes and voicemail boxes. This is pollution.
Just like the oceans we swim in and the air we breathe, the sales and marketing digital ecosystem is getting polluted, and we need to be better about taking care of it.
Process, technology, and innovation
As a marketer, I spend much of my time in the digital ecosystem, which over the years has also become polluted (although in a much different way than the planet). But just like this year’s Earth Day event, our team is constantly reevaluating our processes, assessing the technologies that we use, and looking for new ways to innovate our strategy.
The average American sees 10,000 brand messages a day.
Why do we do this? Let’s take a look.
If every sales and marketing process we came up with was perfect on the first try, that’d be awesome. But that’s not typically the case. Processes need to be continuously evaluated for efficiency and effectiveness.
Just like natural processes create pathways to move nutrients or energy, we want to be sure our internal processes are making things happen.
For example, photosynthesis is the natural process “used by plants and other organisms to convert light energy into chemical energy that, through cellular respiration, can later be released to fuel the organism's metabolic activities.” In simpler terms, plants use photosynthesis to grow and thrive.
Similarly, in the digital ecosystem, for businesses to grow and thrive, prospects must go through the buying journey process. Starting with awareness, they identify a problem, want, or need. This triggers them to start doing research, leading them into the consideration phase where they evaluate different products or services. The last step of the process is the decision phase where the buyer selects a specific vendor to work with.
In a sustainable marketing world, this process would happen more seamlessly as the buyer wouldn’t need to sift through as much polluted marketing to find the solution they are seeking.
New software and tools get released so frequently that sometimes it’s hard to keep up. By assessing your tech stack at least annually, it allows you to have a better understanding of which platforms are actively being used, the ones that could be improved, and those that are just sitting there collecting dust (also known as waste, aka pollution but that’s another topic for another Earth Day).
Just as green technology is meant to “mitigate or reverse the effects of human activity on the environment,” in sales and marketing, we use technology to mitigate manual actions and help us be more productive.
In the sustainable marketing ecosystem, Intent data is a technology that sales and marketing teams use to identify when businesses are actively researching the products and services you and your competitors sell. It indicates when a business is consuming content on a topic significantly more than usual, signaling buying Intent.
Businesses strive to innovate to keep up with changing processes and technology.
In the same way that humans need to innovate to adapt to climate change and pollution affecting the Earth, sales and marketers need to innovate to adapt to changes in the digital ecosystem.
For instance, in B2B, buying has changed. Buyers do their research online and are 60% of the way to a decision before they engage with sales. Buying committees these days can have anywhere from five to twenty people that are part of the decision-making process.
Furthermore, people are tired of intrusion. That’s why cookie blocking and regulations such as GDPR and CCPA are becoming more common.
With these changes and the demand for better sales and marketing performance, teams have to innovate and get more creative to capture their audiences’ attention. Updating your outreach process to include Intent data technology can help your team innovate how they are contacting prospects and the messages being shared as well as improve the timeliness of the content.
82% of Americans consider online ads to be disruptive.
Breaking through the noise
Ask yourself: do your efforts truly deliver value?
It’s ok if you’re not so sure. That’s why we need to welcome the sustainability movement. We need to retain consumer interest and improve consumer sentiment.
You often hear marketers talking about aiming for the ‘right message to the right audience at the right time' but oftentimes, they take the easy approach to thinking about the message, audience, and time.
To do it right, you need to use more data and do less marketing. For example, using a mix of engagement data from your website with third-party Intent data to get a holistic view of research behavior will give you a much better understanding of a prospect’s needs and interests. With that information, you can better align the conversations you’re having and the content you’re sharing with the audience that’s most likely to be interested.
Sustainable marketing is about conservation. It’s about making conscious decisions based on an understanding of their true costs in terms of human attention and trust. Most importantly, it’s about marketing to people or companies that are interested in what you have to offer with content that they’re interested in and in a format that resonates with them.
The goal of sustainable marketing is to do less but perform better. Fewer ads, emails, and sales calls, done more selectively and effectively. If we do less and we’re more targeted, it’s better for us and certainly better for consumers.
6 strategies where Intent data can help you be more effective
Below are some of the strategies your sales and marketing team can implement with the help of Intent data to create less pollution in your output:
- Lead generation: drive qualified demand by being more targeted and efficient
- Sales enablement: conduct more engaging conversations with higher likelihood buyers
- Digital advertising: target interested buyers with tailored advertising messages
- Marketing automation: segment your lists better to send relevant emails to interested contacts
- Events management: source events in areas with greater interest and send more targeted ads or emails to increase attendance
- Content marketing: uncover the content topics that your target accounts are interested in to drive better engagement
Make a difference
If you made it this far, I’d say you’re ready to be more personally and socially responsible. Together, we can make a difference. For some of the ways you can celebrate Earth Day 2021, click here.
Want to be a part of the sustainable marketing movement? Contact us today to learn how.