Green Roofs - Living Architecture Monitor - Winter 2010 - (Page 35)

ON SPEC DOING NO HARM By Jim Lindell CHEATING, LYING AND OUTRIGHT DECEIT AND OTHER CUT-THROAT MARKETING TACTICS ARE HURTING THE INDUSTRY – AND THAT’S NOT GOOD FOR ANYONE ompetition for market share in the green roof industry is fierce and continues to grow – but, unfortunately, so too has the use of less-than ethical marketing and sales tactics. Deception, slander, and outright lying about a product or competing product to sway customers is becoming normal marketing practice for some green roof companies. These tactics almost always reflect badly on their originator and damage the credibility of the entire industry. I have had potential customers tell me about competitors making false claims about other companies at trade shows and during presentations. I have seen the use of photos to paint a deceptive inaccurate comparison of different systems on websites and in print. For example, one company took a close-up photo of a competitor system in the winter when the plants were dormant and compared it to a photo of their system at a distance during the summer when it was lush and green. I have had other manufacturers tell me of similar experiences. You should be able to sell you product on its merits compared to your competitor without having to deceive the customer. The more these tactics are used within a specific industry, the more it negatively effects the perception of industry as a whole. Take politicians as an example. Through negative campaign advertising, lying, cheating, and other unethical practices, politicians have framed themselves as being untrustworthy. Based on the actions of some politicians, a majority of people have a preconceived notion that all politicians are unethical. Your mother was right; a few bad apples do spoil the bunch. More often than not perception of what is true is capital rather than truth itself. Costumers make judgments on the information they have, good or bad. Do not underestimate your customer’s knowledge and savvy, they will surprise you every time. If you try to deceive them, they won’t be your customer for long. In our personal and professional lives, we are all customers of products and services, and at one time or another you have been deceived by a company’s product or service claims or guarantees. Remember how you felt. Did it make you mad? Would you ever buy anything from that company again? Customers want to be treated with respect and they want to feel like they can trust you and what you are selling. Your customer’s trust is as valuable as gold. A commitment to ethical sales and marketing practices is the primary step to earning that trust. The American Marketing Association is the largest marketing association in North America. As marketers, its members pledge to follow a code of marketing ethics. This code centers on these three norms do no harm - This means consciously avoiding harmful actions or omissions by embodying high ethical standards and adhering to all applicable laws and regulations in the choices we make. foster trust in the marketing system This means striving for good faith and fair dealing so as to contribute toward the efficacy of the exchange process as well as avoiding deception in product design, pricing, communication, and delivery of distribution. “Deception, slander, and outright lying about a product or competing product to sway customers is becoming normal marketing practice for some green roof companies.” embrace ethical values - This means building relationships and enhancing consumer confidence in the integrity of marketing by affirming these core values: honesty, responsibility, fairness, respect, transparency and citizenship. Most of us already adhere to a set of ethical values in our sales and marketing practices. If we can all pledge to do the same, it will be a positive step forward for the industry as a whole. I have met some of the nicest and friendliest people to work with within this industry and I know we can all do better. D Jim Lindell is national marketing manager for the GreenGrid Green Roof System at Weston Solutions, Inc. in Vernon Hills, Illinois. Jim is a member of the American Marketing Association. WHAT DO YOU THINK? Have your say by sending your letters to the editor by email to: Please include your full contact details. LIVING ARCHITECTURE MONITOR WINTER 2010

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Green Roofs - Living Architecture Monitor - Winter 2010

Green Roofs - Living Architecture Monitor - Winter 2010
Laying Roots for Green Jobs
Outstanding Student Design
Passing of a Legend
New Federal Stormwater Guidelines From EPA
Partnering Science with Service
On the Roof with...Eden Brukman, Reg. Arch., LEED(R) AP
The Leaf Effect
Who Owns the Green Roof?
Planting the Federal Inventory
Curb Appeal
Maintenance Matters
Professional Development Update
Professional Calendar
Congratulations New GRPS
Welcome New Corporate Members
Green Roof Energy Calculator
Doing No Harm

Green Roofs - Living Architecture Monitor - Winter 2010