What’s in it? Business customers care more than you might think.
While few companies have stated initiatives directly addressing the issue, B2B decision makers share the same concerns about chemical content as consumers, overall. This is the first of two articles featuring important findings from Shelton’s newly released B2B Pulse study.
In survey design, we strive to avoid scare language. Words like “toxins” or “toxic” trigger a strong reaction when included in an answer option list – usually ending up at, or near, the top of consumer concerns. Nobody wants to buy products that are “toxic.” Respondents in our Eco Pulse™ 2013 study considered removing “chemicals of concern” the second most important thing a company could do to positively impact purchase decisions. In addition, almost half (48%) of respondents said they were concerned about indoor air quality, and over half (54%) said they were concerned about chemicals found in skin care and cosmetic products.
Yet it’s hard to measure product content concerns without using scary phrases like “chemicals of concern” or “potential toxins” because Americans, while becoming increasingly (albeit vaguely) worried, are generally clueless about product content – blissfully ignorant of the fact that many products they buy contain potentially harmful chemicals and mostly unaware of what they should be concerned about.
When we offer ways to improve indoor air quality, few choose options that address product VOC (volatile organic compound) emissions. And when we provide content lists containing potential toxins, few people are knowledgeable enough to identify what they should be wary of. Unable to discriminate between potentially harmful and beneficial content, they often select any option with a “chemically” name, e.g., ascorbic acid.
Business-to-business (B2B) marketers should take note that this concern is shared, not just by consumers, but also among B2B decision makers as they choose products for their companies.
Our just-released B2B Pulse study found that purchasing decisions are influenced as much, if not more, by the personal concerns and biases of the decision makers as they are by their companies’ stated/tracked sustainability initiatives. Only 11% of companies have, or are developing, sustainability scorecards to guide purchasing, so most decision making is happening without formal guidelines.
This means that whatever decision makers are concerned about in their personal lives bleeds over into their business decisions. B2B Pulse product content reactions offer a great case-in-point.
We spoke to a wide variety of decision makers (facility and purchasing managers, CEOs, buyers, CFOs, etc.) in a variety of sectors...