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The Economic Research Institute, Stockholm School of Economics SSE/EFI Working Paper Series in Business Administration

No 2011:7:
Hinders for Eco-friendly Media Selection

Claudia A. Rademaker ()

Abstract:

This study shows that, despite organizations claiming to care for the green environment through documented environmental policies, marketing communication such as advertising media selection does not seem to be much guided by green environmental concerns. Problems with consistency and control thus seem to exist between companies’ ideas/decisions (documented environmental policies) and their actions (advertising media selection), causing the need for justification and/or hypocrisy.

This study adds to prior research on the non-use of models in practice by showing that the non-use of models also exists among marketing managers when selecting advertising media for marketing communication purposes. It was found that 64 percent of the marketing managers do not make use of media selection models. In the attempt to investigate differences in the factors guiding media selection between marketing managers who use media selection models (users) and those who do not use any model (non-users), it was found that the users take a medium’s eco-friendly characteristics less into consideration than the non-users.

The paper discusses that the use of models can be viewed as attempts for making more rational decisions. The findings thus suggest that rational decision-making (users) may hinder eco-friendly media selection while non-rationality (non-users) may develop more powerful organizational ideologies such as acting responsibly towards the green environment. However, this study points out a link between the use of media selection models, previous experience and rules of thumb, i.e. the users tend to make more use of previous experience and rules of thumb than the non-users. Thus, the author argues that a new approach to model use may be needed and that the media selection should not be too much influenced by the marketing managers’ previous experience and rules of thumb. Otherwise, new factors may be overlooked such as consumers’ increasing concern for the green environment in relation to consumer advertising media attitudes.

Previous studies have found that current approaches to marketing planning pay too little attention to the impact of technological advances on changes in consumer media habits. Thereby the risk may exist for focusing on mainly conventional media and not selecting “new media”. The present study seems to contradict these previous findings by showing that the selection of “new media” such as media using the Internet was found among the most selected advertising media by both the users and non-users for the two communication objectives studied, i.e. brand-building and to increase sales. Thus, the results indicate that while the marketing managers adapt their media selection to changes in technological media advances they tend to overlook consumers’ increasing concern for the green environment and the environmental aspect of advertising media.

The results also show differences among the marketing managers in their selection of advertising media. At the same time as the non-users tend to be more precise with the recycling of paper, they are more inclined to select paper-based media such as catalogues and brochures than the users. The users on the other hand, tend to select more electronic media such as TV, radio and cinema than the non-users. In the attempt to explain the factors guiding media selection and in particular to what extent the environmental aspect of advertising media is considered, green environmental responsibility attitudes (GERA) of the users and non-users are assessed.

Keywords: Media Selection; Advertising; Green Environment; Marketing Managers; Models; Green Environmental Responsibility Attitude (GERA); Rationality; Non-rationality; (follow links to similar papers)

53 pages, December 2, 2011, Revised February 14, 2012

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