The Green Prospects
In “Star Wars Episode IV,” Luke Skywalker struggles to convince Han Solo to help him save Princess Leia, stuck in the detention block on the Death Star. “But they’re going to kill her!” Han Solo’s cold response? “Better her than me.”
So Luke changes tack, and after a beat says, “She’s rich.” Han Solo comes back with, “How rich?” Encouraged, Luke blurts out, “More money than you can imagine.” Han smiles, saying, “I don’t know, I can imagine quite a bit.”
You know the rest of the story: Han opts in, Luke and Han take some significant risks, the Princess is rescued, and then the three of them are off to try to save the galaxy.
While I can’t speak for the galaxy, it’s increasingly obvious to almost everybody that the earth and its inhabitants are in trouble. Global warming, dwindling oil supplies, wars over those same supplies, … OK, I’ll stop there. It’s also obvious that industry, big and small, and of any stripe (and certainly the direct-mail industry), is contributing more to these problems than erasing. What we’re doing is not enough.
Enter the princesses, err, the green prospects, who want to change things. Once upon a time, direct mailers could ignore these green people and their demands. But they’ve grown exponentially in numbers each year and now make up 30 percent of the U.S. population. Moreover, they’re rich. Not sure how rich you can imagine, but how does $500 billion sound?
That’s the annual buying power green consumers are expected to have in 2008, according to Experian Research Services, parent division of New York–based Simmons Research. Their recent report acknowledges that these folks not only have the means to support environmentally friendly products and companies, but they have the motivation.
So, whether your own motivations are more like Luke’s (to save the world!) or Han’s (to get rich!) — or both — it’s time to buckle up and do an environmental makeover on that mailing.