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B2B marketers need to consider product as well as message to entice socially conscious buyers

Bottom line

As the economy changes and diversifies, and the spending habits of millennials reflect not only consumer behavior but B2B sales, marketers are encouraged to look more closely at how B2B entrepreneurs and sales professionals will spend money, according to a recent article in Forbes Magazine.

As younger professionals consider a company's alignment with current trends, Forbes suggests B2B marketers need to focus on factors like what the product actually does and why it is genuine to their company or why in particular the company aligns with and invests in a cause. B2B buyers also look for more than just tag lines about going green, the article notes.

It's not just a marketing tactic

The article cites the example of the company SunToWater - which is an environmentally and socially conscious company - also uses a water purification product that can actually operate completely off the grid using solar thermal collectors. So, environmental awareness becomes much more than just an afterthought to appeal to its environmentally conscious base, it is part of the product itself.

Align with a cause

The article suggests that SunToWater is more akin to a company like Malawi’s Pizza who states, “For each meal purchased in one of our restaurants we donate a nutritious meal to a child in Malawi, Africa.” Putting money toward a cause much bigger than the immediate purchase of a specific product is a key for the younger demographic, the article notes.

SunToWater also leads by example noting that the off the grid technology has created a water generator that can pull water out of the air.

Build social consciousness from the ground up

The article suggests that SunToWater has social consciousness built in from the ground up.

B2B marketers should note that off-the-grid, clean drinking water can make a huge difference in certain communities. In fact, on the SunToWater sales page, the donation section takes up more space than the regular pre-sale reservation section. Again, social consciousness is also represented by the product and the message is built from the ground up.

CEOs are under the spotlight

Many potential customers are learning more about the point of view of the CEO and this trend is expected to continue. In the case of SunToWater, the company’s co-founder and CEO, Benjamin Blumenthal, talks a lot about the technology and the product but can also speak of the social impact, humanitarian assistance and life-saving benefits of the technology, the article notes.

Attract a new kind of investor to your cause

The article cites the example of the company SunToWater - which is an environmentally and socially conscious company - also uses a water purification product that can actually operate completely off the grid using solar thermal collectors. So, environmental awareness becomes much more than just an afterthought to appeal to its environmentally conscious base, it is part of the product itself.

As B2B marketers, the focus on social and environmental benefits enable the company to attract a new kind of investor. Increasingly, investors want their dollars to create more value than a return for themselves.

For SunToWater, the availability of drinkable water for people that don’t currently have access is a big draw for investors. “Water scarcity and water contamination are some of the largest and most serious risks to this generation,” says Jim Keyes, former CEO of 7-Eleven, Inc. said in the article. “SunToWater is bringing a solution to market that can truly make a difference, both here in the US and abroad, addressing humanitarian applications and disaster response all around the world. Once deployed, the technology is expected to save countless lives.”

With a positive response from the investment community, raising capital is more streamlined and appealing to investors. Emphasizing the CEO's own track record on social responsibility, or making a cause a part of the company mission and strategy is smart.

As the author stresses, a simple leaf graphic of ones marketing materials and statements that a company is 'going green' is a great deal different than weaving environmentally and socially conscious services, products and practices throughout the fabric of the organization.

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Laurie Fullerton

Laurie Fullerton is a writer based in Boston, MA with a background in business, sports, community, medical and travel writing. She has been a newspaper editor in the Boston-area, a sports writer covering yacht racing and a community reporter. She has been reporting for The Drum since October 2015.

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