Even though the Green Technology & Sustainability Market is expected to grow from US$ 8.7 billion in 2019 to US$ 28.9 billion by 2024, at a CAGR of 27.1%. (Source), marketing clean and green takes a different mindset than traditional marketing.
As I watched the recent US Presidential debate, almost all of the candidates made promises to invest in technology to help with climate change. Awareness in climate change has come along way in the past five years. While US presidential candidates have plans for the US to become carbon neutral by 2050, many companies in every market are in the process of becoming carbon neutral sooner than that and have stated goals anywhere from the end of 2020 through 2050. Here is a great list of 100 companies and the activities they are taking to reduce their carbon footprint and technology is at the core of this transition.
Cleantech versus Greentech
Cleantech, also referred to as clean technology, is often used interchangeably with the term greentech. Cleantech has emerged as an umbrella term encompassing the investment asset class, technology, and business sectors, which include clean energy, environmental, and sustainable or green, products, and services.
Red Javelin has been working with technology cleantech companies for years, bringing innovation to the market to conserve water, reduce energy consumption, ensure chemical compliance, and keep alternative energy sources running smoothly. We view our cleantech clients as pioneers who are making scientific breakthroughs that will help change our lives and shape our view of the world’s precious resources.
You would think marketing cleantech is a slam dunk -- that it is easy and everyone “gets it.” However, that is not the case. Marketing cleantech definitely has its challenges.
Challenge: Trust - Your solution is disruptive
What happens when you have invented something so different that it doesn’t fit into any existing paradigm? Sometimes, disruption only provides incremental benefits, but on occasion, something new emerges that is truly innovative and shifts the existing paradigm.
Bringing innovation to the market has its own set of challenges. In B2B, most firms will stick to what they know. They may look at disruptive technology, but it is too risky to invest in immediately. Customers are buying into a longer-term vision and need to understand the viability of the new technology.
Storytelling plays a huge role in establishing disruptive technology as a market force. Good storytelling is important when introducing a complex and disruptive offering in the marketplace whose value is not well understood. But a good story is only the beginning. You also need a captivating vision, perseverance, a value proposition that makes sense, a company evangelist, involvement in the ecosystem, incremental milestones to drive adoption, content strategy that drives the conversation, public relations, awards, and a community of early adopters. To learn more about bringing innovation to the market, click here. When you are bringing disruptive clean technology to market, you need to understand that it will take longer to ramp revenue and set expectations appropriately.
Challenge: Value - Balancing your green story with your commercial story
Being “green” won’t sell your solution. B2B buyers begin their search for solutions online, and if yours is green, they are likely to take a second look. If the buyer is further down the funnel, your solution may be put on the shortlist for final consideration because it is green.
B2B buyers are looking to solve a business problem that requires solid ROI. The bottom-line still motivates most buyers.
Challenge: Authenticity - Proving your green commitment
Green products do not stand alone. Firms need to participate and partner with others in the sustainability ecosystem Examples include participating in organizations that are driving green initiatives like certification organizations and non-profits focused on conservation initiatives, media, and event organizations that offer awards and partnering opportunities, and industry organizations promoting technology standards.
Challenge: Underinvesting: Lack of digital visibility
Firms that don’t invest in a digital strategy will not be competitive. Every B2B buying journey starts with an internet search. If you do not have digital visibility, your solution will not show up in the search, and you will not even have the opportunity to be considered. Your website and SEO practices are only the beginning; you need to have a variety of content assets that tell your story to different audiences available to visitors on your website.
Challenge: Not including new audiences in your marketing
Companies that have a corporate goal of reducing carbon footprint have someone in charge of these initiatives. There is someone in the company providing decision guidelines or have the “stamp of approval” for any major purchases that claim green as well as making sure the company is adhering to green practices. One mistake vendors make is not realizing that there is someone new in the buying cycle. For example, you may sell embedded products to design engineers. If that firm has a design green initiative in place, there is someone in the firm, such as a Director or VP of Sustainability, overseeing every design choice, and every vendor selection.
Cleantech companies have the opportunity to make a difference, and the timing is just right. As consumers become aware of climate change and environmental crisis’s such as water shortages, consumers will ultimately drive businesses to become more environmentally aware.