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How Green is Your Marketing?

Gienna Shaw, for HealthLeaders News, September 12, 2007

I've been seeing green everywhere I go lately. St. Joseph Hospital, a 208-bed Catholic hospital in Nashua, NH, used environmentally-friendly coffee cups in its recent marketing campaign, for example. And the September issue of Deliver, the U.S. Postal Service's direct-mail marketing magazine, is all about eco-friendly direct-mail marketing. (An aside: A print magazine that's basically a catalogue for print mail talking about saving trees? OK, it's a little ironic. But the publication makes a good case that it is possible to do direct mail in an earth-friendly way, by using recycled papers, soy-based inks and the like.)

Finally, there's a conference on green marketing on October 3 in London. Participants will look at new product development, design and packaging, advertising and communication, plus green media and green messages, organizers say. (No word yet on whether the company has approved my travel voucher request.)

In the August issue of HealthLeaders magazine, we wrote about the handful of hospitals that are quietly making environmental strides but are not, writes technology editor Gary Baldwin, promoting themselves by "waving green flags." But why not wave the green flag? Why not tell your neighbors that you're cleaning up chemicals, reducing waste and using less energy? Why not tell the community that you're looking out for them and for future generations?

If you think about it, green marketing makes perfect sense for the healthcare industry. It's progressive and modern and it shows that your organization cares about everyone's health and well-being--it's a slightly different take on the "high-touch/high-tech" message that so many hospitals want to convey.While a hospital is cleaning up the mercury on its campus, its marketing and PR staff could be polishing up its reputation.

Ready to go green? Check out these other resources for ideas and inspiration:

  • Slightly closer to home, The Green Marketing Conference will tackle, among other topics, how green marketing drives purchasing decisions. In Chicago this November, speakers will also talk about how women, in particular, respond to environmentally-friendly businesses and promotions.
  • Saving money, conserving resources and being a good corporate citizen are the components of the triple bottom line that results from eco-friendly marketing campaigns, according to "Greenie points." Scroll down for a long list of simple ways to green up your direct mail campaigns.
  • "Will green brands continue to grow strong?", from the archives of brandchannel.com, tried to predict the future of the eco-friendly brand strategy in 2001. Click through to see if they were right about whether the environmentally-friendly Starbucks brand would still be going strong today.

Gienna Shaw is an editor with HealthLeaders magazine. She can be reached at gshaw@healthleadersmedia.com.

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