Marketing: Kill or Cure?

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Marketing: Kill or Cure?

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Global Warming is a real problem! Since 1906 the temperature of the planet has risen. Antarctica's temperature has increased by 1.6 Degrees Fahrenheit, resulting in melting ice caps, rising sea levels and the death of many species of animal.

The primary cause of these tragic events is the emission of greenhouse gasses into the earth's atmosphere.

A staggering 34,000 million metric tones  (MMT) of C02 were predicted to be emitted by 2020, with predictions exceeding 40, 000 MMT by 2040.

Although major economies are making adjustments to become more sustainable and significantly reduce their emissions, we are all subject to scrutiny and must play our part in reducing our own emissions as best we can.

What has this got to do with marketing?

Marketing involves creating value for consumers in the form of promotional, educational and engaging content. It has the power to influence on a personal and global scale,  with the ability to promote sustainable behaviour that can help save our planet.

To understand marketing's role in this discussion, we will cover:

  1. Marketing Tradition: What Went Wrong?
  2. The Digital Age: Is It Sustainable?
  3. What Can You Do Now?

Marketing Tradition: What Went Wrong?

The way in which we go about marketing has changed dramatically in the past 10 years. Digital innovation and advancements in technology have changed our approach - hopefully for the better!

Traditional marketing practices consist of printed media such as leaflet distribution, direct mail, but also broadcasting and phone calls. The practices that we are concerned with are leaflet distribution and direct mail, due to the potential threat they pose to the environment.

Working with an established printing and delivery company, you can get  1000 leaflets delivered in under 7-hours. For small businesses and those that are established but stuck using traditional methods, leaflet distribution can sound like an inexpensive way to reach a large number of people, in a short period of time.

However, this couldn't be further from the truth - but we'll get on to that later.

Understandably, media is printed and packaged using recyclable materials  - but what about the distribution process?

It is extremely uneconomical and a large fuel-burning operation due to the shortstops between delivery locations.  Although EU regulations allow new vans after 2017 to emit 175 grams of CO2, the majority of delivery are in poor condition and most likely emit unexcusable amounts of pollutants.

According to TakePart News, in the US, 100 million trees are destroyed to produce 100 billion pieces of junk mail, with 848 pieces being mailed to every household.

What happens to this junk mail?

Well, no one likes junk mail so it's thrown away, only to create 51 million metric tonnes of greenhouse gases!

The Digital Age: Is It Sustainable

Online consumption is at a record high, with 2.14 billion consumers predicted to be purchasing goods online in 2021. This demand has led to social media platforms optimising their sites for shopping purposes, like Instagram Shopping and Facebook Shop.

On average, it costs as little as $0.25 to reach 1000 people on Facebook, whereas 1000 leaflets (printing and delivery) would cost £40!

Marketing your business online allows you to narrow down your audience based on interests, age, gender, and many other specific variables. This increases your chance of seeing an ROI and building your customer base more sustainably.

The energy production (burning of fossil fuels) used to power our digital devices exceeds traditional marketing emissions, which makes it challenging to favour digital marketing in this discussion.

However, practising digital marketing, creating a campaign and releasing content, is environmentally sustainable, it is the individuals who consume it that are causing environmental issues.

For example, sending physical mail to 10 people, considering production, delivery and wastage,  would be extremely unsustainable and instead you reach 10 million people online for the same amount of money, in a much more sustainable way.

Digital marketing, therefore,  initiates online consumption which results in more energy being produced to power our devices, but it cannot be responsible for 100% of digital usage due to the thousands of online activities which marketing has no involvement in.

The UK renewable energy percentage is expected to grow from approximately 29% in 2017 to 75% by 2023, with the hope of extinguishing coal usage by 2025.

Renewable energy production/practices are evidently being encouraged, with a strong national and global focus moving into the future.

What Can You Do Now?

Start to use your marketing power to promote sustainable behaviour.

Creating fun and engaging content which resonates with your audience is a great way to build a sustainable reputation for your business whilst helping the environment. For example, you could run a campaign which helps your audience manage their screen time and online activity to kick start their stainable lifestyle.

As mentioned earlier,  marketing is about providing value to your consumers, so why not create a product which provides value in a sustainable way?

An article published by Campaign US puts it perfectly:

"Consumers need help to adopt new behaviours...it must be easy, intuitive and compelling. Product labelling, social media content, and campaigns can help by providing guidance on how they can get involved from how to navigate different eco-labels, recycle, and more." - Mike Noel and Freya Williams

Furthermore, convenience is a driving factor determining how consumers behave and interact with digital content - so make sure to incorporate this into your campaigns.


From a marketing perspective, traditional methods are an ineffective producer of results and don't often see a return on investment (ROI). As a Marketing Agency in London, we understand how cost-effective digital marketing is and how it has the potential to be much more influential with its methods.

With regards to the environment, the conclusion is challenging. Whilst traditional marketing may be more sustainable in the short-term, its waste product cannot be justified and contributes to global warming tremendously. Whilst digital marketing initiates online consumption and electronic device usage, modern society is built around technology and it would be foolish to expect this to change.

Moreover, the UK, among the majority of the globe, are investing heavily in renewable energy and sustainable alternatives, making ambitious predictions into future operations.

If you are ready to help save the environment with digital marketing, use its power to influence sustainable change. Releasing sustainable products and running fun campaigns to go green is a brilliant way to start.

Why not share this article to begin your sustainable journey?

The Good Marketer is a Marketing Agency in London which drives more traffic, generating conversions and increases sales for Small-To-Medium Sized Businesses.

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Marketing: Kill or Cure?

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