One of the key drivers of digital technology growth throughout the past several years has been the widespread demand for products and services that are sustainable and eco-friendly, and the belief that print and paper-based publications are by definition wasteful. However, this is somewhat of a fallacy, as many competitors in the print industry have turned the focus toward the development of highly sustainable practices that do not allow waste and environmental damage to become byproducts of their operations. 

Taking this a step further, marketers are increasingly involved in branding initiatives that focus upon sustainability and eco-friendliness. Rather than throwing out print marketing ideas to avoid upsetting target prospects who have green thumbs, businesses can develop unique strategies that leverage paper-based communications and simultaneously bolster their brand's stature as being environmentally friendly. 

Here are three steps marketers can take to develop an effective eco-friendly print marketing program:

1. Pay attention to sourcing
Deforestation has to be one of the top three concerns of eco-minded consumers and corporate purchasers today when approaching print assets. By knowing where the paper products are being sourced from, what types of practices are involved and avoiding distributors that contribute to deforestation, the print marketing campaign can be safeguarded from environmental backlash. 

Once the sources have been identified, build verbiage into the marketing program that makes it clear that the form being sent is sustainable and forest-friendly. 

2. Avoid extraneous mailings
Snail mail is among the most common vehicles for print-based marketing, and one of the clearest signs that the company is not participating in sustainable practices is to simply send massive volumes of communications to clientele and prospects that come with little or no value. This is not only an unfriendly process when looking at the environment, it can also give even non-eco-minded consumers a poor perspective on the brand. 

Tighten policies up to ensure that the smallest amount of paper is being used and sent in a highly structured, targeted and meaningful fashion. 

3. Maximize transparency
Regardless of what your brand positioning or marketing strategy might entail, transparency is a major key in attracting and retaining quality business in the modern market. When it comes to a print marketing strategy, do not leave anything up to the imagination with respect to recipients of the communications – always make it clear that the strategy was developed with sustainable initiatives in mind. 

From annual newsletter related to the company's successes in the environmental friendliness arena to becoming more open in sharing corporate information that illustrates the practices involved, transparency can be achieved across the marketing department and will inherently boost the firm's image before long. 

Closing considerations
Above all else, sustainable print marketing strategies are contingent upon the willingness to go the extra mile in strategic development and partnership identification. By working with the right provider of print advertising services and products, companies can capitalize on the benefits of these types of initiatives without putting themselves into a bad position with respect to brand recognition and financial management.