No kidding.

That was the title of an article on LOHAS Online last Friday. What I find most remarkable about that title is that I truly believe most Americans don’t understand marketing. Period. But while I tend to believe that most people are skeptical of marketing in general and advertising in particular, the 2008 Green Gap Survey, conducted by Cone LLC and The Boston College Center for Corporate Citizenship shows that

“…almost half (48%) of the population erroneously believes a product marketed as “green” or “environmentally friendly” has a positive (i.e., beneficial) impact on the environment.”

The article points out several interesting statistics, not the least interesting completely contradicting the title of the article: “61 percent of Americans say they understand the environmental terms companies use in their advertising.”

But the public is listening and receptive to environmental marketing. For the purposes of MarketGreener, I prefer to draw your attention to the strategies researchers believe the statistics suggest. Whether they do or not, these strategies are sound advice for marketers. I’ll paraphrase here, but you can refer to the article in its entirety at http://www.lohas.com/articles/101216.html.

Be precise. The more specific you can be about your marketing claims, the more your potential customers are likely to believe what you have to say. I don’t need to remind you, or course, that your claims must be truthful. No one appreciates greenwashing, and be warned: the Federal Trade Commission is about to set new rules when it comes to green advertising claims.

Be relevant. If you can demonstrate a connection between your product or service and the environment, you will likely positively influence your customers’ buying decisions.

Be a resource. This is one of my favorites because I firmly believe that marketing is most effective when you can provide a needed or wanted element of utility to your customers. Provide your customers with relevant information and they will likely grow to trust you and seek you out for your services in the future.

Be consistent. This is a good rule of thumb for any marketer. You should be consistent with your messaging throughout a campaign and consistent with your branding. From an environmental perspective, provide consistency between the product or service you are marketing and the overall message of environmentalism.

Be realistic. A product or service has yet to be invented that can readily save the world. Your product won’t either, but it could very well be a step in the right direction.