A Smart New Way to Segment Green Consumers - A blog by Jacquie Ottman

A Smart New Way to Segment Green Consumers - A blog by Jacquie Ottman

Jacquie Ottman is a consultant, author and speaker on green marketing and eco-innovation.


The 3BL Media blog roll is a select list of the most influential, respected, and authoritative voices in corporate social responsibility. Compiled from the 3BL Media staff’s extensive contacts with longtime CSR commentators, these bloggers offer relevant news, opinions, and ideas about all things CSR in one convenient place.   

Monday, February 8, 2010 - 11:20am


When you target customers, it helps to know if they’re “dark green”, “light green” or “basic brown” in their attitudes, but, with so many green issues, products, and labels out there, it may be more relevant to your branding and communications to understand their personal green interests.

Ask: To which environmental organizations do members of our target audience belong (The Appalachian Mountain Club or Greenpeace)? Which types of vacations do they take (hiking or the beach)? Which environmental magazines and websites do they read or visit? (Sierra or Animal Fair?) Which types of products do they buy? (green fashions or energy-sipping light bulbs)? Which eco-labels do they seek out (“USDA Organic” or “Energy Star”)?

In observing green consumers over the past twenty years my colleagues and I have found that asking questions like these allows companies to distinguish between four subsegments, which we’ve dubbed “Resource Conservers”, “Health Fanatics”, “Animal Lovers” and “Outdoor Enthusiasts.” Of course, there are some overlaps among these groups, but discovering which subsegment your customers mainly fall into can sharpen your marketing. The following descriptions are generalizations, but they capture the spirit of each type of consumer.

Resource Conserving Consumers

Resource Conservers hate waste. (I should know. I am one.) Spot them wearing classically styled clothing, toting cloth shopping bags and sipping from reusable water bottles. Avid recyclers of milk jugs and Tide bottles, they drop off old electronics at Best Buy. They read news on-line to save trees, and are quick to re-use their Reynolds wrap. Ever watchful of saving their “drops” and “watts,” they install low-flow showerheads and compact fluorescent bulbs branded with EPA’s Energy Star and WaterSense labels. Shunning over-packaged products, they only turn on the lights when they have to, and they plug their appliances into power strips for easy shut-off when they leave for work.

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