Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Greener can be cheaper Part Four

Simplify, simplify, simplify....

Years ago, Henry David Thoreau said

Our life is frittered away by detail... Simplify, simplify, simplify! ... Simplicity of life and elevation of purpose.

That sage advice penned on the banks of Walden pond has never been more in need than today. In times of abundance, our lives -- and the products we use each day -- become more elaborate and more complicated. But abundance is not the watchword of the day, and people are looking at those complicated and expensive "toys" and asking why.

That represents a great opportunity for green manufacturers and marketers to offer a simpler -- and ultimately cheaper -- alternative. In this case, it's not about making the product cheaper than a less green version, but offering a product that takes the place of a more expensive and less green tool, service or item.

For example, the last few years have seen the ordinary clothes dryer morph into a gigantic $1,000 plus monster in a dozen decorator colors. Laundry areas formerly housed in closets or behind sliding doors in a kitchen no longer accommodate the huge dryers and their companion washers, so new houses need bedroom-sized laundry rooms. And these rooms need to be decorated, fitted with cabinetry and laundry folding tables and sorting bins, then heated and air conditioned. All to wash and dry dirty clothes.

So where is the green marketing opportunity here? In turning back to Thoreau's message...simplify. Marketing green means offering a cheaper, simpler alternative. Instead of a $1,000 dryer, how about well designed, attractive clotheslines and small energy efficient dryers, the kind that fits in a closet?

In this case, and so many more like it, the greener is cheaper model isn't about making a green clothes dryer that is cheaper than other same-sized clothes's about offering a viable, simple alternative to the king-sized dryer.

Greener can be so much cheaper, especially when it's simpler.

With dryers. it's a clothesline. With things like business products, it's not finding a way to make something like a laminated minimum wage poster greener, it's about going back to just paper because really most printed posters and notices don't need to last that long.

Think about the expensive, complicated items in the marketplace. Now envision a less complicated, less expensive way to accomplish the same goal. Many of them may have come from an earlier, more cost conscious time. There is your cheaper, greener marketing opportunity.