Today’s savvy homeowners have access to more information than ever before. However, are they using this information to make the most educated decisions when it comes to their home improvement options? Not always. This can be seen no more clearly than when it comes to going green. Unfortunately, the upfront costs associated with eco-friendly home improvements often obscure consumer understanding of both short-term and long-term ROI on green home improvements. So how do you help them see the “big picture”?
Let’s get one thing out of the way first. The hardcore, ‘80s-era sales pitch is a thing of the past. Why? Because today’s consumers are telling us that they want something different. Simply put: they don’t like advertising.
For those courting the Millennial market (which, for the record you should be — a staggering $10 trillion in purchasing power can’t be wrong), an 84 percent negative attitude toward advertising is all you need to know to rethink how you’re going about advertising your products and services.
So what do Millennials like, if not advertising? Friend experiences and reports from social media top the list of trustworthy sources for today’s Millennial consumers, followed by company websites, with advertising and sales holding up the bottom. In short, today’s consumers reject showy claims in favor of authentic promises with the muscle to back them up. This may leave you wondering why people who put food on their tables through advertising are sharing this information with you. We’re not done yet.
Advertising is far from dead; it’s just evolving to meet changing consumer demand. Implicit in this is, of course, is an understanding of the consumer. We’ve already covered the factors that motivate contemporary consumers to make considered purchases for the home. But this is just the start when it comes to positioning green home improvements as an investment worth making. Tipping the scales takes something more.
The money and inclination are both there, based on market intelligence agency Mintel’s American Lifestyles 2015. This comprehensive look at American consumer markets forecasts that over the next five years, total consumer sales will increase by a whopping 21.9 percent. And while “essentials,” including home and garden, will still account for the lion’s share of American spending, “nonessentials” such as vacations and dining out, are expected to see the greatest gains at a rate of 27 percent each.
So how do you capture the attention (and dollars) of these bottom line-minded consumers who also prize living well? By simultaneously acknowledging both the quantitative and qualitative benefits of committing to green living. Viewed through this lens, the green home improvement market might be considered low-hanging fruit. (Okay, we might be exaggerating, but believe us — it’s not as hard as you think with the right strategies in place.)
Indeed, there are many long-term financial gains of going green, including everything from lower utility bills to decreased operating costs, of which consumers should be made aware. But if these aren’t compelling enough on their own to motivate a sale, there are also important lifestyle gains which begin the very moment a purchase is made, such as creating better air quality, warmer living spaces, and all-around more comfortable homes. And then there’s the ethical appeal of protecting the planet and its natural resources, along with the less frequently-touted cultural impact: the choice to become more environmentally conscious not only unites Americans, but also boosts our global reputation.
Another way of looking at advertising for green home improvements? Today’s consumers prize the acquisition of experiences over the procurement of mere “stuff.” Acknowledging and playing to this mindset hits them — quite literally — where they live. How? By showing homeowners how a particular green investment will improve their lives in the here and now (and meanwhile is already improving the lives of their peers and their planet), instead of simply telling them that they need it.
The result? Enhanced understanding by consumers that investments in green home improvement purchases don’t just pay off in some far-off unknowable future, but also deliver immediate ROI in terms of quality of life.