The term Conservation Marketing has been coined by the founder of Biodiversity Business, Barbara de Waard. She realised the urgent need to upskill conservationists for the digital age, after more than a decade of practising marketing communications in the Conservation sector.
Generation Climate will dominate this century. And conservationists have a crucial role to play in the global fight against Climate Change and Biodiversity Loss. So, up-to-date Conservation Marketing is vital.
There are several important reasons why Conservation Marketing is vital for the digital age:
1. Non-profits must update their communications practice
The non-profit sector generally lags behind in communications practice as witnessed by the recent charity fundraising scandals. Charities were adopting aggressive techniques such as cold calling and face-to-face selling. But most forward-looking marketers have already adandoned such negative methods and embraced the latest digital marketing tools. Cutting edge blogging and content marketing are much more effective at reaching the right target groups.
2. Fundraising should adapt to millenials
Fundraising is going through a paradigm shift. Not only because of the current low level of trust in charities. There is a more fundamental change due to the rise of the next generation of donors: Millenials. Their spending habits no longer match the traditional pattern of small regular donations. They are driven by engagement and transparency. So they prefer to do their own fundraising or even their own conservation action. And they can organise this alone or with their peers, as the current global climate protests have shown.
3. Conservation itself must change for Generation Climate
Despite decades of warnings from leading conservation NGOs about Climate Change, activists outside the sector are driving the current momentum. Media channels and TV personalities, like David Attenborough, have been able to boost awareness amongst the general public. Because they have used more appealing messaging such as inspiring nature imagery and positive action examples. Or the classic marketing approach of emotional appeal to human instincts. Real marketers know that buying behaviour is fundamentally emotional. So today’s message is no longer about the mass extinctions of millions of animal species. It links to the survival of the human species itself! Therefore, it is much more effective in gaining a large audience than the abstract messaging used by many environmental groups.
The lesson for the conservation profession is that they must bridge the real gap between their elite science-based community and the much wider sphere of media, consumers and business. Ultimately, only engagement and change within this global audience can deliver real conservation results on the ground. This is the modern way we can save species and reverse climate change.