I recently had the opportunity to sit down with long-time friend and wind powered business owner, Lynn Anne Miller of 4GreenPs. Lynn founded 4GreenPs in 2006 after a successful career in marketing for venture-backed tech start-ups and Fortune 500 firms. 4GreenPs started as a traditional strategic marketing firm. At the same time, Lynn became personally interested in green living and sustainability issues. And so naturally, she combined this passion with her formal marketing expertise and 4GreenPs began working with green businesses. Mom Made Foods in Alexandria became her first green client in 2008. Since then, her clients have included Elysian Energy, FRESHFARM Markets, Seventh Generation, and the Livability Project.
With her wealth of knowledge from across the marketing spectrum, I chatted with Lynn about the most common marketing mistakes she sees growing businesses make.
Overuse of Discounts
Too many times retailers use discounts to attract and retain customers. Lynn cautions that repeated discounts train customers to wait and only purchase when there is a sale. Instead, Lynn suggests that retailers use customer appreciation discounts. This type of approach is high touch and reinforces brand image.
“Who doesn’t love to feel special and appreciated?” asks Lynn. “Consumers become more brand loyal when they feel that the brand appreciates them. Offering discounts across the board does not cultivate brand loyalty, in fact, it does the opposite, while also cutting into profit margins.”
Websites are no longer about just good aesthetic design. Businesses have to incorporate Search engine optimization, or SEO, from the ground up in their websites. Lynn has found that many businesses are aware of SEO but don’t understand the importance of it and how it relates to a solid lead process. One of the tools that Lynn recommends to clients is HubSpot. 4GreenPs is a certified Value Added Reseller of Hubspot’s inbound marketing software.
Lack of Overall Marketing Strategy
Businesses think of marketing as strictly design or media but in truth it includes everything. How is price determined? What are the product offerings? How are customers serviced? Lynn suggests that businesses think of marketing in a much broader way as it relates to all aspects of doing business.
Over the coming weeks, we’ll look at some of Lynn’s recommendations for deep green companies that are looking to expand and improve their marketing efforts.