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Do's and Don'ts of marketing sustainable B2B start-ups

Updated: May 9


If you’re building a B2B brand with net positive impact at its core, marketing will be instrumental to your success.

Here are some of the learnings from my journey of eight years setting up or advising marketing functions for people and planet friendly start-ups.


DO:

  1. Go beyond green through user research: Uncover what truly motivates your customers besides sustainability intentions.

  2. Design for people and planet: User-centered design approaches ensure your product solves problems flawlessly, from the very first version (MVP).

  3. Get organised for growth: Implement CRM and sales pipelines early.

  4. Choose your first customers and partners carefully to ensure brand alignment (do you really want to do your first pilot with a fossil fuel company?).

  5. Harness the power of authentic personal branding: Founders, you need to put some skin in the game as early as possible, let your vision and passion shine.

  6. Impact, not jargon: Communicate your positive environmental impact in a way everyone understands. Not everyone gets excited by TCO2eq!

  7. Get ready to surf the regulatory wave: Chances are your prospects are struggling to keep up with constantly evolving Environmental Regulation. Help them navigate and comply with them.


DON'T:

  1. Don’t go all in on sustainability selling points: Highlight the unique value proposition of your product, beyond its sustainability aspects. Chances you’ll also have to sell to a buying circle that includes decision makers focused on cost savings, compliance or operational considerations.

  2. Don’t base all your marketing plans on your product roadmap. Product milestones are likely to shift, so plan some marketing and sales activities that can be delivered independently from your product milestones.

  3. Don't wait for a perfect product to lead the conversation. Share your sustainability journey and expertise through thought leadership even if your product is not ready!

  4. Don’t overlook the importance of branding – while a brand that overpromises in terms of sustainability can be seen as greenwashing, a truly sustainable venture with an uninspiring branding is a missed opportunity for impact.

 

Time is of the essence when it comes to mainstreaming sustainable technology. By following these do's and don'ts, you can market your sustainable B2B brand more effectively and ramp up your positive impact in a resourceful way.

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