When I was working on my Bachelor’s degree, we had a saying in my business classes: “Every marketing truth can be expressed in a 2 x 2 matrix.” It was our way of coping with having to memorize the umpteenth matrix between the endless study group sessions mixed with caffeinated beverages.My professors would surely be glad to know that in between then and now, I started seeing that almost any truth can be expressed with 2 x 2 matrixes (thanks guys, I have now made multiple purchase decisions and settled roommate disputes by drawing these things up). The upside of this is that it is a very easy way to communicate different choices and options, but people do tend to think you’re a little weird when you bust out a matrix when they come to you with their dating issues.Well, when I decided to write about why I love Packsize’s green packaging, I decided that the easiest way to communicate that would be through…a 2 x 2 matrix.In the chart above, we’re analyzing different green products you might encounter today (although you can substitute “green product” for a green initiative, lifestyle choice, etc. if you’d like) and how helpful they really are. Along the top axis, we ask whether the product is helpful or not to you, the consumer. And along the side, we ask whether or not the product is actually helpful to the environment. So here’s the breakdown of what’s in the different squares:
- Helps the environment, but doesn’t help you. Maybe you really care about the environment—and that’s wonderful if you do—but the fact is that when it comes time to act, most people only care as long as it’s not an inconvenience for them. Maybe the product’s too expensive, or it doesn’t work as well, or maybe you have to jump through hoops to use it. Whatever the case may be, these products tend to eventually be rejected by the public at large.
- Helps you, but it doesn’t help the environment. The problem here is that there isn’t really any change. The “green” product being pushed isn’t any better than what you’ve been using, and in some cases it may actually be worse for the environment( see examples here). So why use it at all?
- Doesn’t help you or the environment. This is what happens when a company decides it needs to jump on the PR bandwagon of having a green image, but doesn’t want to make any real effort to do so. What consumers are left with is a marketing scheme that leaves them feeling cynical about any “green” product.
- Helps you and the environment. This is the sweet spot right here. These products tend to be revolutionary. They’re superior to their competitors, and are better for the environment.