Green Consumers? Forget About 'Em

Stephen Bishop, a global lead of Design for Sustainability at design consultant IDEO, has written a thoughtful and thought-provoking column on marketing green products to green consumers.

In essence, he says, forget about it.

What? Not market a new product to the most logical customer base? Um, not so much when it comes to eco-products, he says. "Marketing to the green consumer has proved difficult, even downright dangerous, for companies large and small."

Bishop argues that companies who have tried this wind up selling unsatisfactory products just because they are green, turning off established customers in the process. And, he adds, companies can become trapped in the "green ghetto", which shuts them off from the mainstream.

Using a case study of IDEO's work with bicycle component maker Shimano, Bishop says the key is to focus on green behaviors everyone can aspire to rather than on a market niche. Read his article to find out how.

Do you think green market has different rules than the ones you might have learned in Marketing 101? How would approach this market?