Corporate social responsibility is winning strategic importance for B2B. More and more companies are taking advantage of the positive effect of their own sustainable actions when it comes to strengthening customer relations. Here are tips and five examples of green B2B marketing:
Sustainability as a marketing strategy
Sustainability is an important sales argument for many people. This is why companies like to advertise with their corporate social responsibility (CSR). This is already working well in the B2C business, and today it is gaining interest in the B2B segment as a strategic tool for customer loyalty. It is used to propagate social and/or ecological engagement.
The opportunities to do this are many. Companies can leverage sustainable marketing with resource-saving products and services, with ecologic-centric supply chains or with donations to climate-neutral or social projects. Under the banner “Do green things and talk about it”*, this engagement can be leveraged for B2B marketing purposes.
The respective campaigns, however, are only successful when they are strategically and structurally planned and executed. To achieve this, you need to communicate more than just a credible stance. You must also convince customers of the value and advantages of sustainable actions. After all, they cannot always immediately gauge the benefits of using green products and services offered by their business partners.
Good arguments for communicating with sustainable marketing include lower costs or higher productivity as the result of the B2B customer’s ecological or social engagement. These arguments come from, for instance:
- Lower consumption of energy and resources
- Improved effectiveness of technical systems
- Reduced incentive/steering tax (e.g. for CO2 certificates)
The better the costs, time, performance and innovation aspects, the better in general. Experience has shown that industrial companies often bring up the topic of improvement when the positive effects can be measured. This can be demonstrated, for instance, with:
- Energy consumption display on machines
- Tools for resource-efficient planning of manufacturing processes
- Proof of the positive economic impact
In addition to this, the company can enjoy a certain image boost among business partners as a result of their sustainable goods and services. The communication of these and similar features must be performed by sustainable marketing. Then CSR can significantly strengthen customer relationships.
5 best practices: successful campaigns which stand for positive change
As previously mentioned, companies have many options for demonstrating their sustainability. Here are a few examples of initiatives, projects and campaigns which the companies in question have also used for their green B2B marketing:
- Uzin Utz AG is considered a pioneer in sustainability. The provider of flooring systems launched a solvent-free adhesive as far back as 1987. The company develops and produces low-emission installation materials, and since 2010 has been providing the ecological balance of its products. Uzin Utz AG communicates its innovations and ecological behaviour offensively via sustainable marketing.
- The Building Technologies Division at Siemens focuses on saving resources, on fire protection and safety. The division is specialised in refurbishments for buildings and presents the results of its work under the hashtag #CreatingPerfectPlaces and with short videos on YouTube:
- Edeka has worked together with the World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF) since 2009, with the aim to integrate sustainable actions across all company levels whenever possible and to realise this in the company’s own generic brands. Germany’s largest foodstuffs retailer passes on its environment-centric philosophy to its business partners as well.
- Also cooperating with WWF, as well as the environmental organisation Rainforest Alliance, is Innocent Smoothie. The manufacturer of smoothies and fruit juices acts in line with its sustainability concept at all time – from the purchasing of raw materials to the sensitising and further education of its employees to the avoidance of waste.
- BASF is engaged in sustainability within construction chemistry. The company showcases this with its campaign “Quantified Sustainable Benefits” and a dedicated microsite. Here is where partners such as architects, investors and construction planners can find multimedia information on the topic of environmental awareness and how the industry can benefit from this.
*In 1961, the Head of Communications for BASF, Georg-Volkmar Graf Zedtwitz-Arnim, published a book by the title Tu Gutes und rede darüber: Public Relations für die Wirtschaft (Do good things and talk about it: public relations for business).