The paper “ Marketing Non-Green Products in a Green-Conscious World” is an exciting variant of research proposal on marketing. The general subject area of “ green marketing” encompasses a vast array of topics and study disciplines which have been researched extensively. Given the breadth of the subject, the challenge in designing a new research project is in finding a focus that is both sufficiently narrow and original, so that the research can produce a practical result that adds to the existing body of knowledge. In preparing this research proposal, a number of questions immediately come to mind: How do green brands affect buyer behaviour?
Can ‘ non-green’ brands compete in a retail market of increasingly ‘ green-conscious’ consumers? Should traditionally ‘ non-green’ retailers consider a more green approach in promoting their products, and if so, how? Thus, this research will focus on an aspect of green marketing that has largely been overlooked by previous studies: Much work has been done on the marketing of ‘ green’ products, but very little if any has been done on the impact of ‘ green-consciousness’ on products that neither presents themselves as green nor are regarded as such by consumers. Even if it is assumed that environmentally-friendly ‘ green’ products are superior to ‘ non-green’ products and are preferred by consumers, there are products that for various reasons cannot be made ‘ green’ .
The UK grocery market is a very good area in which to study the effects of green-consciousness on non-green products, because a large variety of competing products are presented to the consumer at once, often without much differentiation; a household cleaner touted as ecologically-friendly may share shelf space with a comparable chemical-based product that makes no similar claim, for example.
If the consumer chooses the green product, what is his motivation for doing so? Is that motivation based more on the ‘ green’ attributes of the product or more on the rejection of the ‘ non-green’ aspects of the other? Are there other motivations, such as price or perceptions of product quality, that inform the consumer’ s choice, and to what degree? Are these behaviours by the consumer applied uniformly to choices amongst a variety of products, and if not, why? And most importantly, how can the answers to these questions be put to practical use by-product marketers?
Answering this last question will be the main objective of this proposed research. Background & Relevant LiteraturePeattie and Crane (2005) peg the start of the green marketing phenomenon in the late 1980s, marked by a surge in green marketing efforts by businesses and a corresponding increase in academic research on the subject. The sheer volume of research on the subject is impressive; a casual search for “ green marketing UK” in the Emerald database returns nearly 3,000 academic articles or books. In addition, there are thousands of non-academic resources available on the Internet.
Clearly, green marketing is a hot topic. A preliminary review of the literature and other resources, reflected by the example reference list at the end of this paper, reveals that research and commentary on green marketing can be divided between two broad categories: Marketing Strategy and Application, and Consumer Behaviour. These two subject areas are far from being mutually-exclusive; consumer behaviour determines marketing strategy, which in turn modifies consumer behaviour in an endless cycle of cause-and-effect. Nonetheless, to impose some sort of effective organisation on the present research, it is helpful to discuss these subject areas separately.