Mr. Brooks, Mr. Jackson and the Sustainable Purchase Climate

Yesterday on the  Charlie Rose show, NYT columnist David Brooks spent an hour discussing where the country stands today.  The conversation focused largely on the nation’s emotional state, and how that is driving reactions to Obama administration policies.  You can see the piece here.

I won’t do a complete dive into the wide range of topics covered, however a few key things stood out to me.

* There is a feeling in large parts of the country that the administration is trying to do too much.

* Brooks senses this feeling is compounded by a thirst for Jacksonian government – aka Andrew Jackson’s approach to government.  At a very high level, this approach means putting decisions in the hands of the people, and at its core is driven by a deep distrust in the government’s ability to be effective.  A symptom of this feeling is the rise in the Tea Party movement.

* Brooks also feels that we are on par or ahead in most technology sectors with the world, save wind in Europe and possibly steel (as pointed out  by Rose.)

If Brooks is right, there is a significant need for sustainable marketers to tailor their approach.  There won’t be lack of innovation or choice.  Success  is going to come down to how you communicate the value prop to your prospective customers.  In this climate, marketers must:

* Balance the message mix.  Find the right inflection point between  “right thing to do/moral obligation” side (appealing more naturally to the coasts), and the “empowerment/cost savings” side (for the larger majority of the US.)

* Remember that adoption comes with customer identification.  People are chiefly motivated in this climate by a) cost and b) the feeling of “that makes sense for me.”  Green marketers mustn’t fall in love with their technology or its long-term benefits.

* Instead, hone in on the individual impact, ease of use and immediate short-term financial benefits to attract customers beyond the base.

People are in a “prove it to me ” mindset, be it with politics or purchases.  Marketers, take notice.

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Filed under Green and Consumers, Green Marketing, Sustainable Marketing

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