Earth Day grew out of the germ of an idea held by US Senator Gaylord Nelson. But Nelson pointed to the secret of Earth Day’s success: “Earth Day worked because of the spontaneous response at the grassroots level. We had neither the time nor resources to organize 20 million demonstrators and the thousands of schools and local communities that participated. That was the remarkable thing about Earth Day. It organized itself.”
As Marketers, we’re often viewed as the antithesis of what Earth Day stands for. We’re seen as drivers of consumption. At our worst, Marketers focus on push marketing, inventing stuff and trying to figure out a way to make customers take it. Yet look again at the marketing lessons in Senator Nelson’s quote:
- Promote something that people have clearly shown you that they want and need.
- Plant seeds of inspiration.
- Encourage communication and let the people who want your idea, product, or cause, organize themselves.
Nelson also pointed out that this single day was years in the making. So today, listen carefully to your customers and ask:
- What do they really want my product, service, or cause to be?
- How can I make it available to them where, when, and as they want it?
- Am I willing to accept that my customers are the ones who position my product, not me?
Finally, one last thought. Earth Day wasn’t built in a day. According to Nelson, it was years in the making. That means that if we really want to be customer-centric, we need to be willing to wait until customers are ready to buy, not find ways to make them take what they don’t want, or need.
Megann & Steve