Back in June, Dan Russell of Planet Green told an audience at Silverdocs that the network doesn’t use demographics to measure its audience, and instead uses psychographics. Maryanne Conlin, an eco marketing consultant and lead writer for the Ecopreneurist, gives a basic lesson on the psychographics of niche green consumers.
What are the basics of green psychographics?
Your first choice in marketing is to always go demographics because you’ve got better research but the interest in green crosses demographic lines. Psychographic basically means the way that people think.
There are a couple different green scales, [but] nobody’s really been in charge because it’s too new. In a few years we’ll have figured out what everyone’s called. The LOHAS (the lifestyle of health and sustainability) are the True Green. The Naturalites are people who are more focused on health concerns. What they’re worried about is things like BPA in their baby bottles and lead poisoning in toys made in China. The Conventionals, they’re pretty practical people. They’ll say ‘I’ll buy some green things if the price is right. I might not necessarily do it to save the earth unless it’s a good value or it’s not a whole lot more expensive than what I normally buy.’
Or in this case, watch. The true greens will be watching the very heavy fact-laden documentaries, whereas the Naturalites will be very interested in something very fact-laden but it has to be very specific about health. Those are the people who are going to watch everything that talks about the rates of asthma connected to the rates of pollution in every city. The Conventionals are somewhat interested in green and they’ll tune in to something but they’re not going to watch a whole bunch of hyperbole. Don’t jump up and down and tell them how the world is going to end tomorrow because they’ll turn off the TV. And the Drifters, these are the people who don’t care a lot about green, but boy do they want to be hip. When [programs] have got celebrities being green, they’re very interested in them.
Planet Green would do well with Naturalites, Conventionals and Drifters but for different reasons. Conventionals are pretty practical people but they like entertainment, so they’re going to enjoy it. The Drifters are really going to like the aspirational aspect and across the board, everyone likes to be entertained. The True Greens might be offended, but everyone else will like it. They sometimes have a greener than thou attitude.
What about the unconcerned population?
The unconcerned would just watch it and then go back to dropping the litter out the car door.
What do these green niches want?
From a green aspect, I think the whole green movement has made the next leap upward in terms of visibility and understanding. Everybody knows about green now, the problem is that there’s a little bit of an overload. The consumer is starting to get a little skeptical. They’re saying ‘educate me about green, because I know it’s green but I’m a little suspicious when I go into stores and everything says green on it. How can everything be green?’
I would target the health-conscious consumer with more programming, because that’s the next group that is going to get greener and greener, the Naturalites. That can be anything from a 60 Minutes format to expert interviews, speaking directly to women and addressing their concerns.
Any words on how to approach these groups?
My advice would be to really look at the different niches and develop programming for them. The second thing would be answering the consumers question of ‘How do I know what’s green and what’s not? What do I look for in the package? How do I know this is really benefiting? And what’s a carbon footprint anyway?