Leading a sustainable marketing strategy goes beyond creating content that talks about how the company is eco-friendly. It's about integrating sustainable practices into every aspect of the marketing operations, minimising your environmental impact and promoting positive change through strategy and planning to execution and measurement. I am proud of how our marketing team has aligned their thoughts and actions with our company sustainability goals and integrated them fully within our marketing activities.
Here are our top 10 tips to consider for a sustainable marketing department.
1 What impact do you want to make?
Define your marketing goals to support your overall company sustainability objectives. What do you care about, consider aligning your goals to any of the relevant United Nations 17 Sustainability Development Goals (SDGs) for a strategic framework to challenge your business and contribute to a better future. Click here to read more about the UN SDGs
2 Choose sustainable communication channels.
Go with digital marketing, email campaigns, and social media posts over traditional print materials. Or if traditional marketing is core to your business consider different ways you can achieve this. Produce catalogues from recycled paper or, like us, whilst we have paper catalogues available at exhibitions for those customers who want this format, we also encourage visitors to download digital versions instead and explain why we are doing this.
3 Consider the marketing campaign lifecycle and its environmental impact from idea to execution and disposal.
Can that plastic branded promotional item be swapped out for a more sustainable alternative. Our give away items are made from recycled or sustainable materials, like our PI-KEM tote bags. Or can be recycled when finished with, such as our PI-KEM stainless steel drinks bottles.
4 Be carbon conscious!
Plan your exhibitions and events to be sustainable. Use reusable materials, look at the sustainability actions of the organisers, and offset carbon emissions from travel. We car share to exhibitions and meetings or use public transport when applicable, we add on customer or suppliers visits to exhibitions, making the most of the journey, and we re-use our stand banners for a variety of different events we attend.
5 Improve your procurement.
Find suppliers and services with sustainability practices, who mirror your goals or who provide sustainable products. We recently changed our PI-KEM branded packing tape from plastic with a non-biodegradable chemical adhesive; To a tape that is still branded but can be recycled, uses biodegradable adhesive and inks, but still keeps our products safely packaged during delivery.
6 Track your progress!
Review how far you have moved towards your sustainability goals and celebrate your achievements. Shout about your initiatives and the benefits of your actions to inspire others. We share our move to net zero success stories to our wider network of stakeholders and regularly take part in round table forums with other businesses to learn more.
7 Be transparent and don’t engage in greenwashing.
Communicate your sustainability efforts and be honest about what you have achieved. Don’t think you have to change the world overnight. We take one step at a time, doing a little is still better than doing nothing.
8 Invest in technology, training, and development.
Provide your marketing team with the skills and resources they need to work with sustainable practices. PI-KEM recently invested in new on-line digital collaboration software platforms to minimise energy consumption and physical resource usage. The results are already being seen by our team.
9 Be a leader!
Adopt sustainable practices within your own workflows. I am a great note taker but no longer use paper notepads, instead I use an electronic device. This saves on paper and my time as it uploads my notes to our systems to easily access from anywhere.
10 Empower your colleagues.
My colleagues, both in marketing and across the company are fantastic. They understand why, as a company we are so focussed on our net zero journey and want to be part of it. They suggest ideas for new sustainable solutions and practices which can be integrated into our daily work. We encourage them to be creative and innovative and come up with new ways to help PI-KEM include sustainability in our marketing mix. Your marketing stakeholders need to think differently to come up with unique and engaging campaigns that work with your goals.
You can have both a sustainable marketing department that helps the planet and society, whilst achieving commercial business goals for your company. Remember to regularly review your progress to find any areas where you can improve your sustainability efforts further for a brighter future.