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The Modern Marketer's Guide: Sustainability Infused Strategy & Printing with Purpose

With the increasing impact of climate change becoming ever more apparent and ‘eco-conscious’ topping many consumers’ priority lists, sustainability isn't just a buzzword; it's a necessity.

There’s a responsibility on us all to make thinking about mother nature second nature. And it’s not just a case of talking the greener future talk; we need to put our ideas into action so we can walk the walk.

When it comes to sustainability in the world of marketing, the print industry can get a (unjustifiably) bad rap. Eradicating paper is the solution, right? Wrong! And we’re here to explain why.

So, join us as we focus on how to make headway on your eco-ambitions while busting some myths and exploring how a modern print company (say, like us!) can help a modern marketer (that’s you!) seamlessly weave sustainability into your strategy without sacrificing the impact of your campaign or the environment around us!

Getting Out The Sustainability Starting Blocks

We all know that sustainability is a journey, not a sprint, but sometimes, getting started on the course can be the most challenging part. With talk of emission-reducing initiatives can come a wave of overwhelming numbers and statistics. But instead of drowning in a sea of figures and kilo-watt outputs, try to focus on taking manageable steps. Remember, the key is action, not words. So start small, looking at easily achievable wins and switched-on alternatives that will help transform your well-intentioned ideas into tangible changes and add up to make a meaningful difference.

Authenticity Over Influence

At a time of greenwashing and opinion overload, it’s easy to doubt your action plan or feel pressured by the claims of others, but there’s no one direct route to sustainability. As such, don't just echo what everyone else is saying, but establish your own proposals that align with your brand mission and values…then share them with your audience. Being authentic and transparent not only builds trust with consumers but also provides a level of accountability and publicised markers to measure your progress against.

Digital Vs Print

Mention ‘eco-friendly marcomms’, and most believe that digital wins the greenest title hands down. But - spoiler alert - communicating electronically isn’t as guilt-free as you might imagine. For example, did you know that sending one email results in around one gram of CO2 being released into the atmosphere? And then there’s all the (unrenewable) tech equipment and energy source required to send it in the first place. That email campaign doesn't seem so harmless anymore, does it?

That’s not to say that print is squeaky clean, but while digital technology has been evolving, so has print, providing more planet-positive offline ways to engage with consumers. The industry is actively sweeping up its footprint by utilising natural, recyclable materials, introducing eco-friendly inks and transport, and developing energy-efficient printing methods. And the bottom-line reality is that the pulp, print and paper industry accounts for 1% of global greenhouse gas emissions, making the sector one of the lowest industrial emitters.

Reduce, Replace, Offset

When making sustainability-driven changes to your marketing approach, achieving zero emissions might not be possible, but there will likely be better ways of doing things. Think reduce, replace, offset. So, evaluate your existing methods to identify ways of reducing emissions, waste and negative environmental impact. Also, consider replacing outdated practices with sustainable alternatives that require less energy or favour renewable sources. Finally, where emissions can’t be avoided, look for offsetting options like tree-planting initiatives, providing an eco-conscious way to counterbalance your ecological footprint and give back to the planet.

Minimise The Mass

We’ve all come to learn that marketing isn’t necessarily a numbers game but an art of precise targeting and personalisation. This means mass mailouts aren’t the only way to land your campaign on the doorsteps of potential customers. Instead, you can drive down the recipient numbers and up the ROI potential with carefully targeted, data-driven campaigns that will land in the hands of those most likely to love your offering and at prime purchasing times. Furthermore, modern print-on-demand approaches eliminate the requirement for large print runs, so you can thoughtfully engage with ones, twos and tens at a time rather than cold call the masses. Not only is this better for your budget, but it’s also kinder to the environment by reducing materials, waste and emissions.

Better Together

Climate change isn’t a battle that can be tackled alone, so it’s essential to partner with those who share in your sustainability mission and will help you achieve your goals. As a modern print company with manufacturing and production at its heart, we understand the importance of embedding sustainability into our culture, processes and practice. Having recently published our first Impact Report, we’ve carefully documented and openly shared the changes we’re making to reduce our negative environmental impact and increase our positive one.

As industry innovators, we’re already leading the way for switched-on marketing propositions that provide more eco-friendly ways for brands to target and communicate with audiences, including our HomingIn and Print On Point offerings. We’re also prioritising modern printing techniques with an environmental focus and adopting more emission-reducing and carbon-balancing practices. Such efforts are not just focused on cleaning up our own act but helping our clients do the same by aligning their print needs with their sustainability commitments.

Print With Purpose

So, in the pursuit of sustainability status, there’s no need to cut print out of your strategy. Instead, look towards responsible print marketing practices, explore energy-efficient and waste-reducing options, and partner with those who care about a greener future just as much as you do!

Look out for more posts from our Modern Marketer’s Guide blog series, which highlights how tapping into smart strategies and taking an ‘always on’ marketing approach can help keep up with ever-evolving consumer behaviours and industry developments.