Marketing Green Initiatives

April 1, 2012

Shop owners can spend a lot of money going green. The ultimate goal is to reduce your environmental footprint and overhead costs, but there are definite sales benefits as well. Marketing your green efforts can make your shop more appealing to consumers and insurance partners, which increases work volume and helps recoup your financial investments even faster.

 FenderBender talked to David Brez, strategic accounts manager for BASF, about the importance of green marketing, and the messages you should convey to your community.

Green initiatives are very important to consumers. An increasing number of people are becoming environmentally conscious, and prefer to do business with organizations that have similar values when it comes to environmental issues. Insurance companies like shops with green initiatives, too. They recognize it as a marketing tactic to use on their own clients. It also shows insurers that your collision center is part of the community, and driven by values other profit.

“Market the reasons why your green initiatives make your shop better than the next.”
        —David Brez, strategic accounts manager, BASF

Marketing your shop’s green initiatives is an essential component to add to your overall marketing strategy. It needs to be part of what you do to promote your facility to vehicle owners, insurance companies and agents. But don’t try to create an entirely separate green program; that can be very difficult to manage. Instead, correlate your green marketing messages into the marketing tactics you already have in place. For example, if you market your shop through newspaper ads, don’t purchase additional ad space for your green marketing messages. Focus the messages in your existing ads on the benefits of the green strategies you have in place.

People buy benefits. Shop owners have to advertise the value in having cars repaired at their facility. So identify a selling point with each of your green initiatives. Market the reasons why your green initiatives make your shop better than the next. Most green initiatives have some type of customer benefit that you can capitalize on. Quality, efficiency and environmental benefits are the three main components to focus your marketing messages on.

A lot of auto manufacturers use waterborne paint. Market the fact that in mirroring those processes, you’re providing the customer with a better quality product. You can sell customers by offering a better quality finish while also reducing negative environmental impacts.

Cycle time improvements created by green initiatives is a great selling point for customers and insurers. Market how your processes lead to better efficiency and faster production. You might have many products or pieces of equipment in place that make you faster, such as using high-efficient heaters, convection oven style blowers or no-bake clearcoats in your spray booth. All of those things make you more efficient and reduce cycle time. Always market those benefits because it shows your ability to deliver cars to customers faster and reduce expenses for insurers.

Awards and certifications you have received as a result of environmental efforts are valuable selling points. Don’t feel sheepish about touting your achievements. It shows your level of environmental leadership, and gives tangible proof that your shop is making a positive

Make sure you send the right message to each target audience. It’s important to segment your green initiatives, and market each one to the audience that the benefits will matter to the most. The ideas that you market to insurance partners might not necessarily match the ideas you market to consumers. That’s because various green tactics have different advantages to each group. Insurers, for example, might be more concerned about how your green initiatives improve the repair process, while consumers might be more interested in the environmental benefit for the community.

Be careful not to over-market yourself as a green facility. It is important to market the benefits of all of the green strategies you have in place, but be mindful not to mislead customers by calling yourself a green facility if you only have a few. For example, simply using waterborne paint doesn’t make you a green shop. Being green involves everything you do—from how you handle waste, to efficient spray booth technology, to generating your own energy. Avoid deceiving consumers by stretching the truth.

Try to market your green messages using environmentally friendly tactics as well. It’s counter-productive to market green ideas by sending out thousands of flyers printed on paper. That defeats the entire philosophy. Use electronic press release_notess, e-newsletters or social media to disseminate information. Those avenues lend themselves very well to people who are trying to improve their marketing program by talking about green initiatives.

The whole idea of marketing your green initiatives is to make your shop more appealing than the competition. Of course, the more green initiatives you have in place, the more advantages you have to advertise. It shows vehicle owners your sense of responsibility to improve the community in which you operate. And it also sets the stage for the level of quality your facility will be able to offer when consumers are in need of your services.

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