The Business Of Being Green

Business students at SUNY New Paltz attended the 17th annual Business Day Conference hosted by the American Marketing Association (AMA) on Wednesday, Oct. 24 to learn about the field of green marketing.

The theme of the conference was “Go Green to Make Green” and it included workshops and a keynote speaker, Jeff Zelaya, to illustrate topics like digital marketing, marketing energy efficiency, making business more green and entrepreneurship.

Ted Clark, marketing lecturer and AMA adviser, said the theme for the conference was chosen from one of “the hot marketing topics” of the year.

Clark said “going green” has become a concern for markets around the world, with many companies trying to design green packaging that will minimize waste going into landfills.

“Finally, the expectation is that to some degree when we talk about green, we’re talking about the least negative impact on society,” Clark said. “So, that’s become a very important topic in marketing as well as business actually in the entire globe and so that’s why we chose it this year.”

AMA had a target of 200 attendees this year and about 190 students, staff, faculty and businesses attended, including some from other colleges, Clark said.

Erica Vaccaro, vice president of communications for AMA, said the organization believes it is time to transform the way we treat the environment and that business leaders play a key part in that transformation.

“AMA believes that the world needs to change and everyone needs to give a helping hand and save the planet,” Vaccaro said. “Going green is a way for business leaders to show that they care about the environment and consumers respond to that in a positive way.”

Samantha Bove, a second-year marketing major, said the conference allowed her to see concepts she learned in the classroom in practice.

“This conference was interesting because it is different to learn about techniques and concepts in a classroom than it is to hear directly from a business professional,” Bove said. “When talking one on one with a business professional, one can not only learn about the steps to become successful but also get tips based off of experience.”

Bove said she enjoyed Vincent Cozzolino’s presentation on marketing solar energy because she learned how green marketing works from a professional in the field. She also said she learned something surprising from Zelaya’s presentation on digital marketing.

“One interesting tip that Jeff Zelaya shared was that one can gain more customers if they do not sell or over-promote a product,” Bove said. “This surprised me because I thought that marketers would want to try selling their product when marketing it.”

Clark said green marketing usually stems from a reaction to feedback from consumers on the internet. Clark also said tracking success in green ventures through social media is quick and efficient so social media experts were necessary at the conference.

Clark said these conferences are important for students to attend because they allow them to see practical applications of the concepts and theories learned in the classroom.

“What you need to do is talk to people who are practicing this idea of marketing,” Clark said. “But more specifically green marketing, sustainability or the important people who are in the social media field who can teach students… how the theories and concepts are actually applied and what’s successful and what’s not.”