What’s in it for me?

Given the choice, would you rather buy a new air conditioning unit with a high SEER rating or one that saved you 15-25% on your utility bills each month? Actually you don’t have to choose. You’ll get both with the higher SEER rating, but you’re probably more likely to opt for this model if you know it will save you money each month.

While some consumers are willing to pay a premium for green products because they place a priority on good health or leaving a small ecological footprint, the majority of green buyers are still motivated mainly by saving money. Green spending is on the rise and is quickly becoming mainstream, despite the economy. According to the Shelton Group’s Eco Pulse 2009 Report, 60% of American consumers  say they are seeking out green products. But they are also confused about what is green. And who can blame them, when everywhere you turn you see the words “organic,” “eco-friendly” and “energy efficient” slapped onto products from fluorescents to fluoride.

That’s just the start. Your all-natural, custom koozies are also competing with “recyclable,” “renewable” and “locally grown” alternatives. But while people may realize that it’s important to reduce their energy consumption and be kinder to the environment, this isn’t the driving force behind most green purchasing decisions. It still usually comes down to what’s in it for me. And that is cost and personal health.

This is evident, too, in types of green purchases. According to the Eco Pulse Report, the #1 product category that people are searching for in greener products is home cleaning at 75%. This is followed by food & beverage at 65%, personal care at 55%, appliances at 47%, home improvement at 46% and automobiles at 32%. Knowing that mainstream consumers are interested in saving money, creating a healthier lifestyle and value convenience over the environment, it would be wise to market these products not simply as “eco-friendly” but as economical and healthy. These are the benefits that answer the question…’What’s in it for me?’ Of course, if you’re targeting the more engaged, green-minded individuals it’s worth addressing the additional environmental benefits that will appeal to them as well. But know your market, and know the benefits that will drive them to you. It’s all about them.

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