Learning from others is a way to improve your own business. Different points of view from different marketers can inspire you to become an even better marketer. Therefore, Marketing in Automotive brings you short interviews with marketers from varied branches. In what kind of business are they involved? What inspires them? And what kind of focus do they use in their marketing? Take a look, read and get inspired!
Vitas Kersbergen – Sales & Marketing GreenSeat
1. What did you do before?
In my previous function at Climate Neutral Group I was Carbon Advisor. I assisted organisations like ANWB and Asito to become climate neutral or offer climate neutral products and services.
2. What is the focus of marketing at GreenSeat? What can other marketers learn from that?
At GreenSeat we would like to help 1.000.000 people a year travel greener. Travellers are travelling greener when they choose a greener transport mode (train instead of a plane) and/or choose to offset the CO2 emissions of their transport via our sustainable energy projects. Following the advice of Simon Sinek, I found out how essential it is to know not only what you do, but why you do it. In the past GreenSeat offered only the CO2 offsetting option, which became a mission in itself: when we sold a lot of offsetting, we were happy. Or were we missing our own real mission? In 2011 we re-examined why we did what we did and came to the conclusion that we wanted something different, something bigger if you will. Our rediscovered passion appeared to be travelling without impact on the climate. Wow! How cool is that? Not only discovering the world, but at the same time protecting what you visit. Quite the opposite of what is happening now, where travelling (almost) automatically means being part of the slow but sure change in our climate.
For instance causing our sea levels to rise, threatening low-lying parts of the world like Bangladesh, Maldives and Tuvalu. Our renewed passion was thus on making greener travel as simple as possible. A mission that would only be completed when reaching the point that green travel is not merely an option, not a choice but the most normal thing in the world. Because why would it be anything different? With that mission in mind we re-established CO2-offsetting as one of the essential tools to reduce the current impact of travelling on climate change. But we also started new projects to inform and help travellers to choose a greener transport mode.
After rediscovering our real mission, we found that we were more inline and passionate about our work. This was reflected in a growth in the number of green travellers from 80.000 to currently 120.000 per year as well as the addition of more than 25 new travel organisations. So take some time to re-examine your mission once in a while. Even if the why seems so evident, as you would expect in the case of an organisation like GreenSeat. Close examination of who you want to be and why you or your company is here will help you focus your proposition as well as your marketing effort. Plus it will give you a burst of energy forward into new directions.
3. How do you see the future of mobility ?
Above all, green. Or should I say blue, as is customary in the automotive industry. Blue mobility will not be an option, but a normal integrated part of mobility. Who would want to choose a ‘dirty’ car or plane above a clean alternative, especially when the difference is no longer visible on the outside nor felt on the inside. Like fair-trade products, I believe the time that society accepts nothing less will arrive soon.
On top of that I see a trend towards multi-mobility. Lending the electric car from your neighbour when you need it, taking the train when it is faster and choosing only the greenest airline for your holiday travel. The incentive to do so will not only be moral, but financial as well. Regulations and carbon taxes are already being imposed on many carbon intensive industries and it will be a matter of time before carbon intensive travel will become more costly than low carbon travel creating a incentive for greener travel. Should we wait for that? I would say no, driving a Tesla or Opel Ampera is already just as cool and functional as driving any fossil fuel powered car. By the way, did you ever wonder why the fuel is called fossil? Right you are, because it is in fact the soon to be old, fossil way of fuelling a car.
4. What will these developments do with the concept of CO2-offsetting?
CO2 offsetting is an essential part of tackling the climate problem in the next 20-40 years, since we have not yet discovered or developed the green alternatives for every mode of transport. An example is aviation, where the green choice is either not to fly or offset your emissions. When you do, offsetting is one of the most powerful things to do. The 1 ton of CO2 that your journey emits, you reduce elsewhere through an offset project, making your CO2 balance zero.
On top of that, when offsetting with GreenSeat, you also give people in developing countries access to sustainable energy and thus the power to improve their own lives. Money well spent, I would say. In other areas there are developments of clean transport slowly replacing the old transport modes, like electric cars. Such clean alternatives can only be praised and since they emit no CO2-emissions, offsetting is not necessary here. So basically, the sooner the green alternatives are widely used, the sooner offsetting becomes obsolete as a way of neutralising the impact on our climate. Unfortunately that time still seems many years away, especially in aviation. But when that time comes, I will gladly find something else to do.
5. If your marketingbudget was unlimited, what kind of marketing activity would you like to do?
I would love to co-create a movement of green travellers who can change the travel business, starting in the Netherlands. From there on we would conquer the world, of course. How would that look? I could not explain it better than Derek Sivers on TED.
6. Next to whom would you like to be seated in an airplane?
I would love to sit next to Prince, preferably in a train or an electric car. If there is one guy continuously reinventing himself it is Prince. From selling his CD to the British newspaper The Morning Sun instead of directly to the public to doing hugely popular and cosey pop-up shows after his bigger concerts.
7. What is your motto or favorite quote ?
Since I am already sitting next to him, let’s go for one of Prince’s many cool lyrics, this one is from ‘Cream’: “Do your dance, why should you wait any longer? Take your chance, it could only make you stronger.” Every time I hear these lines it tells me, do what you love and do it now… let’s go!