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Green Idea

Succeed in Marketing ‘Green’

Marc Bane
Special to the Worcester Business Journal

Homes powered by sunlight, control systems that regulate every nuance of energy management, waste-conversion systems that turn trash and manure into clean electricity. What was “the stuff that dreams are made of” yesterday is so commonplace in today’s green world that it’s hard to tell the players without a scorecard. If you plan to compete, you’ve got to differentiate your brand. So, here are three marketing tips to get the wheels turning:

1. Create your own brand perception or your competitors will do it for you.

Even in the altruistic world of green energy and environmental sustainability, it’s not always the best mouse trap that becomes the commercial success. Instead, it’s the one that’s perceived as the best. Therefore every green product or service marketer should have a realistic vision of their brand’s current perception — or lack thereof — in the market, and a clear vision of the market perception it wants to eventually achieve. This requires a hard, objective and sometimes uncomfortable reality check on the true strengths and weaknesses of the product and organization.

Every company would like to have its product perceived as the fastest, most cost effective, most durable, most reliable, most accurate, most future proof, etc. But every viable company should be able to define at least one unique value proposition that it can use to distinguish itself from the rest.

2. Risk aversion trumps perceived reward.

While many companies spend most of their marketing efforts touting advanced technology and greater efficiency, some marketers fail to consider how much risk aversion plays into today’s buying decisions, particularly in business-to-business sales cycles when a buyer’s decision can have serious consequences for his or her career. Part of brand building is creating a comfort level that your products will perform and continue to perform as promised. If yours is a well-recognized brand or a large company with deep pockets, you have an advantage here. If you’re a smaller company or a newer market entry, you’re going to have to work harder. News announcements on new sales and partnerships, especially when they involve known and respected companies, are a relatively inexpensive way to create the perception that you’re an active, growing organization that others believe will be around in the future.

3. Never lie, but don’t be afraid to exploit the truth.

Look hard enough and every competitor will have some flaw you can exploit to better position your own product or service. It may be a deficiency under certain operating conditions, poor service and support, difficult-to-obtain replacement parts, or high maintenance fees. Do your research. Find those chinks in the armor and make sure to tell the market about them as often as your resources will allow.

But don’t fabricate competitors’ flaws. This will eventually undermine your credibility and diminish your brand. The goal is to create enough fear, uncertainty and doubt to push buying decisions in your direction. Here’s a simple but effective marketing communications tactic for an ad, website or brochure. Begin a sentence with the phrase “Unlike some other products in the market that …” This puts a competitor on the defensive. If the prospect does not already know to whom you are referring, he will surely ask about this flaw in every subsequent conversation with you and your competitors.

Marc Bane is an independent marketing and communications consultant with more than 13 years of experience with the energy and clean-tech industries. Contact him at mbane@banemarketing.com.

Client Testimonials

Trusted Advisor

Marc is a highly experienced corporate marketing and communications professional with the skills and talent to execute a wide range of quality marketing communications programs quickly and cost effectively.  But more than just his skills, Marc is a trusted advisor who placed the best interests of our company first.

– David Delasanta
Executive Vice President

ThermoEnergy Corp.
ThermoEnergy-6-16-10

 

 

 

Driving Force; Adjunct to our Executive Team

Marc is a seasoned marketing professional with an exceptional combination of energy knowledge, hands-on marketing skills, and creative talent. His marketing campaigns were the driving force behind our highly-successful “Build Our Brand” strategic business initiative. Marc is a team player, and we were proud to have his marketing leadership as an adjunct to our executive team.

-Michael Peterson
Former Managing Principal –
The Structure Group
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Builds Brands; Penetrates Markets

I’ve watched Marc work his magic at both GreenFuel Technologies and Excelergy Corp. I’ve never met anyone else who could penetrate a new market or build a brand faster.

-Cary Bullock
Former Chairman, CEO and Co-Founder
Excelergy Corporation
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Former CEO –
GreenFuel Technologies
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Exceptional Abilities

Marc’s exceptional ability to articulate the value proposition and vision of new technology is a valuable asset to any company looking to capture mindshare in the media and market share in the industry.

-Larry Dinkin
Board of Directors and Cofounder –
InEnTec LLC

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Quickly and Cost Effictively Launchs Quality Programs

“Having worked with Marc at several organizations over the past 20 years, I have always been impressed by how quickly and cost-effectively he can launch quality marketing programs.”

-Dr. E. Ted Prince
Founder and CEO –
Perth Leadership Institute

Builds Customers

Marc’s direct marketing support for the Information Builders sales seminar programs put our sales team face to face with more than 9,000 customers and prospects in a single year.

-Marc Koppelman
Former Director,
PC Software Sales –
Information Builders

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Ability to Simplify Complex Technology

Marc’s unique ability to present complex technology in simple and easily understood terms, combined with his talent at transforming product attributes into clearly defined benefits, quickly builds market visibility and generates sales leads.

-Martin K. Goldenblatt
Former Vice President Sales
Greenfuel Technologies

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Talented and Experienced

Marc not only has the experience to develop effective marketing strategies, he has the talent to execute them quickly and cost-effectively.

-Steve Swenke
Former President and CEO
Metrum Technologies

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Unquestinalble Difference in Quality

There is an unquestionable difference in the quality and effectiveness of your marketing campaigns when a professional like Marc is running the show.

-Chris Cazer
President –
Osprey Systems
Former CIO –
Excelergy Corporation
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Delivers Cost-Effective Results

Marc Bane is an excellent tactical and operational marketer of energy software and technology. He delivers cost-effective results by increasing brand awareness and a predisposition to a company’s value proposition.

-Kevin Monagle
Associate Partner, Energy & Utilities
IBM Global Business Services

Former Sr. VP and Founder
Excellergy Corp.
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