Marketing sucks! Why many sustainable companies have a marketing problem

Many sustainable companies love their product and hate selling — they have a marketing problem. You're so busy with your product that you don't recognize the importance of sales and marketing.

Why do marketing and sales often have such negative reviews?

Many sustainable and green companies have a marketing problem. With their company, they stand for sustainable and long-lasting products. At the same time, they cannot exist without selling their products. They are afraid of marketing and sales.

We often associate marketing and sales with negative experiences.

Whether urging a consultant to buy a specific product, the ringing of vacuum cleaner representatives, or the tenth commercial during our favorite show. Sales and marketing sucks.

Mann genervt auf dem Sofa, Werbung nervt, Marketingproblem

But why is selling and marketing so negative?

Are you also afraid of advertising your products too intrusively?

Mann mit Megaphon, marktschreierisch, Marketingproblem

Perhaps the term “anxiety” is a bit of an exaggeration... But don't you also feel a kind of discomfort when it comes to sales and marketing from time to time?

This discomfort is often justified. We live in an age of abundance and have recognized that more consumption doesn't necessarily lead to greater health and happiness. Consumption has downsides and its limits have been reached a long time ago. Particularly sustainable and green companies therefore often have a marketing problem and are in a quandary.

Shop mit vielen Kleidern und Rabatten, Konsumüberfluss, Marketingproblem

Let's take a closer look at this discomfort and the lull that comes with having to sell your product or service.

People want to be loved, appreciated, and recognized. But we don't want to impose our product on anyone. We don't like being bothered by others. That's exactly why we don't want to harass other people either. But is selling and marketing really only possible through “harassment”?

The death of the seller

Although the ability to sell a product is becoming increasingly important in many professions, the traditional salesperson is almost extinct today.

In his play”The death of a salesman“Henry Miller described the dilemma as early as 1949. In a world of oversupply, sellers and brokers are becoming more and more superfluous. They make transactions expensive and slow. Your payment is often reflected in the price of the product.

Consumers are increasingly relying on their own research. In doing so, they receive purchase recommendations from omnipresent social networks.

Menschen am Handy, nebeneinander, nutzen Soziale Netzwerke, Kaufempfehlungen

How ATMs and telephone systems have supplanted the profession of traditional counter clerk, the new world is making salespeople look old-fashioned.

Why do we need sellers and marketing in a world where all information is immediately available?

The marketing problem - sustainable companies in a bind

Your company stands for fairly produced, high-quality and long-lasting products. However, these products must also be sold in some way to secure the future of your company.

In a world of abundance, how should we advertise our products with a clear conscience?

Some companies answer this question by focusing on working on your product. They limit marketing to the bare essentials. They ignore their marketing problem and secretly expect potential customers to recognize the benefits of your product and then automatically (without marketing and sales efforts) to become buyers.

Unfortunately, this strategy often fails due to a simple fact: new products are initially unknown. Retail availability is low. All that remains is direct sales via the Internet. Here, we are fighting with millions of other brands for limited consumer attention. The marketing problem cannot therefore be ignored.

Selling without selling — marketing in our everyday lives

Although fewer vacuum cleaners and insurance are being sold today, we are increasingly engaged and confronted with selling without selling. We want to convince our colleagues of our ideas or get our children to bed early enough. To do this, we use a few tricks and marketing ideas. We are all busy day after day with activities in which we have to convince others.

If we look at this aspect a bit more closely, aren't we all sellers?

Boundaries have shifted in the modern world of work. We often no longer work in just one fixed job, but on an interdisciplinary basis. In doing so, we must convince others of our ideas.

We sell our ideas and want to encourage people around us to recognize them.

Frau versucht Kollegen von ihrer Idee zu überzeugen

Many of the activities in our time have something to do with sales and marketing in the broadest sense.

Our goal is clear. We want others to give us what we want from them. Whether this is something tangible, such as money, or something matrimonial, such as attention.

So is there a marketing problem at all?

Studies have examined how much time of our work we spend selling without selling. The figures are surprising:

  1. Spend 40% of our work selling without selling. This includes presenting ideas or influencing and convincing others.
  2. Most people rate this aspect of their work as crucial to their career success.

(Qualtrics study: “What we do at work”)

How could that happen? We all hate selling and yet 40% of our time is nothing else.

Some of the reasons include:

The growth of small business owners: The same technologies that have made classic salespeople die out are now helping small business owners become salespeople and do marketing. Etsy, for example, began as a marketplace for hobbyists and today offers a platform for almost 1 million active online shops. They generate a turnover of over 400 million € in goods value per year. Kickstarter and other crowdfunding platforms help thousands of founders finance their project or future company.

Wide range of abilities (elasticity): Modern companies are becoming less and less likely to have traditional sales staff. Today, almost all employees are involved in sales. For example, support employees help customers select products. Engineers, designers, and product managers must understand how products are used. In many modern companies, products are linked to services and developed individually with customers. Learning organizations interact to solve problems together with vendors.

Growth in training occupations: Teaching means moving people. In the past, it was desired that as little as possible be questioned. The products had to be sold in accordance with strict guidelines. Today, people should be encouraged to think along. Customers are involved in the sales process in the form of new sales methods.

When we teach others to put the customer at the center of sales, a new form of selling can emerge.
Verkaufsgespräch zwischen zwei Männern

Selling without bothering — How to solve your marketing problem

As green companies, we depend on promoting our product, willy-nilly.

We'd like to give you some tips to solve your marketing problem:

  1. Be a teacher. Instead of stubbornly marketing your product, consider how your product can help customers. Find questions or issues that concern your customers. Explain how your product addresses this question or issue. How can you or your product or service help your customer achieve their goals?
  2. Giving instead of taking. How can you give potential customers something valuable? Since we are also often customers ourselves, we know that no one wants anything sold by someone else. Instead, we prefer to buy from people we trust. In this way, we can minimize the risk of a bad purchase. By giving us something valuable, people often gain our trust.
  3. Take advantage of recommendations. Generate reviews and recommendations from your existing customers whenever possible. Integrate these recommendations into your company page and use the feedback to improve your work. It is best to develop processes to always generate recommendations and reviews. Let's be honest, who is not guided by the evaluation of others?
  4. Resist temptation. You're already impressed by your product or service. You have yet to inspire others. Not everything you like is right for your customers. So don't go by your personal taste, but rather by the taste of your customers.
Menschen als alte Kreaturen beten Sale Schild an, Konsumüberfluss

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