Many home builders can make some big mistakes when marketing their high-performance green houses, researcher Suzanne Shelton, CEO of the Shelton Group, said at the recent NAHB National Green Building Conference in Nashville, Tenn.
The first mistake is assuming that consumers prefer green homes. Shelton's research has found that about 40 percent of buyers are interested in a green home, but as many as 62 percent are interested in an energy-efficient one. This means that builders of these homes should use their marketing to emphasize energy efficiency.
The top energy-efficient features that buyers look for are Energy Star–qualified appliances, high-efficiency windows, and high-efficiency HVAC equipment. Still, marketers should not concentrate too much on energy. Many buyers are either apathetic or angry when talking about their utility bills. Green-home builders should manage buyers’ expectations of how much money energy-minded features can save them, as many buyers have unrealistic expectations of how much they can save on utilities.
Marketing should also be specific, Shelton says, like, "Save 5 percent on your energy bill by setting your thermostat back 5 degrees for eight hours a day." The majority of Americans do not turn to green products for environmental reasons, so home marketing messages should not be connected to the environment. Most buyers will focus more on their own comfort or convenience.
Source: "Green Marketing Should Go Beyond Energy Efficiency," EcoHome (05/12/2012) & INFORMATION, INC.