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Sustainable Marketing in an Unsustainable World

It’s almost impossible these days to read anything that doesn’t have a reference to sustainability, which isn’t really surprising, given the current state of the planet. I recently read an interesting article on circular economy business models. The article said a circular economy business model is designed to create, deliver and capture value, but it was in relation to materials made into products – tangible items that you can consume or benefit from having, one way or another. The article goes on to remind us that “…to protect our long term survival we must keep our finite resources at their highest use-value for as long as possible and regenerate our environment rather than degrade it…” [source The Circular Revolution August 2022; Sustainable Business Network: Grant Thornton] – this is essentially the Circular Economy. It talks about PaaS – Products as a Service – and examples of this include vehicle or equipment leasing, hiring of tools and renting apparel.

Saas versus Paas

It got me thinking about what this means to a small tech company like Expert. We use the acronym SaaS – Software as a Service – for the products we produce (i.e. the different versions of MoST). In short, SaaS versus PaaS is like comparing Netflix to Sky. One (Netflix, which is a SaaS) is supplied via the internet, while the other (Sky, which is a PaaS) is a box sitting on a shelf.

Fortunately, the only resources we really use in our business to produce our products are people and energy. Both of which are sustainable. We provide good working conditions to keep our people healthy and safe, and we use electricity, which of course is clean and renewable. While our work is done using physical components, we’re really good at repurposing or recycling everything we can, so very, very little finds its way into landfill.

Making near instant changes without the drama

When it comes to marketing or supplying information, these days it’s mostly supplied virtually, but it wasn’t that long ago that everything was printed and physically distributed, usually by snail mail. Hardly sustainable! The main advantage of using websites for marketing, advertising, selling or just informing, is the fact that the message being given can quickly be changed without having to do an expensive reprint and distribution that uses up time and hard resources, and ultimately ends up in the landfill or blowing along the street. So, e-marketing has already been addressing the sustainability issue for several decades.

Another great thing about virtual marketing is that when a website needs to be replaced it can stay in place until the new one is ready to go live, and if required the old website can be archived and stored on a server in case it might be needed in the future (they rarely are though).

A total organisation-wide rebranding can be undertaken and launched in a controlled way so that every aspect changes at the same time and has a virtually zero environmental footprint – from the website to the on-line stationery, to banners and presentation material. About the only physical thing to change is vehicle or building signwriting, and even that is computer-generated these days, with environmentally-friendly materials used.

Mistakes don’t have to be forever

In previous years, when printing collateral was king, if a mistake or typo wasn’t picked up on a proof prior to printing it was a huge, very expensive drama to put right. Not only did it create an unnecessary impact on the environment, but it was incredibly stressful for those involved. With the advent of the web, those disasters are almost a thing of the past fortunately.

With the Covid era now etched deeply into our lives, we’ve helped many of our membership association clients market and communicate information regarding their rescheduled conferences and training programmes to their members. Some annual conferences have been delayed, cancelled or postponed multiple times over the three-year period when Covid was wreaking disaster world-wide. Can you imagine how that would have been managed without the web? And at what cost?

Spam be damned

The increased use of bulk emailing, along with the power of the database, has also had a hugely positive impact on the environment, though not everyone enjoys the resulting spam that has been an unfortunate side-effect! Did you know that Expert specializes in the bulk email space, as well as custom database creation and management too?

When Expert started up back in 2000 we were excited by the technical possibilities on offer – it was exciting (and sometimes challenging, if we’re honest) to be at the forefront of such a new concept, though we’d been working in the online space since the mid-1990s, but things really started speeding up after the dot.com crash. At the time, whilst we were already running a very sustainable operation, I’m not sure we fully appreciated just how important it was to be using a sustainable model for our business, but we certainly do now!

If you’d like to know more about how your website can work for your organisation whilst minimizing your carbon footprint, please contact us.


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Phone: +64 4 384 9833 | Email: us@expert.services
Address: 19 Tennyson Street, Te Aro, Wellington 6011, New Zealand
Postal address: PO Box 6474, Wellington 6141, New Zealand

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