Eco-Advantage Blog

September 27, 2006 | Andrew Winston | Jump to: Comments (0) | Post A Comment

From "Loss Leaders" to "Green Leaders"

My wife and I were lucky enough to welcome Jacob Winston into the world a few weeks ago. His birth made me think about many things of course — from the circle of life to ‘wow, college will be expensive in 18 years.’

But from a green business perspective (is there any other?), I was thinking about the arrival of a new consumer — one I hope to raise as a green one. And about how successful the organic baby food market has been. Anecdotally, I hear from many people that baby food was their introduction to organics in general. Organic milk followed fast, and then onto a range of other foods (once you decide it’s healthier for your baby, you begin to wonder why you shouldn’t be eating organic yourself).

One lesson for business: think about gateway products, a leading green product—the equivalent of ‘loss leaders’. Figure out the way into a customer’s life with a greener option, and open them up to the idea of many others. Organic foods have grown so fast in part because they offer the promise of non-green benefits — health and protection from pesticides mainly. In that sense they perfectly demonstrate a point we make in Green to Gold point about marketers using green as the “3rd button” to push with consumers (see chapter 5), after price and quality. But once you’ve pushed that button, customers may be more ready to hear the green pitch in general.


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