Monday, August 4, 2008

Q&A With Jean Feinstein

Jean Feinstein, founder of Sound Marketer, takes some questions.

Question: What does your company do?
Answer: My company, Sound Marketer works with start up and existing businesses and organizations to market themselves through a majority of virtual mediums such as, opt-in email messages, affiliate programs, and online promotion through well-trafficked blogs, listing and review sites. I assist companies with business development partnerships and grassroots community events to help grow their revenue exponentially. When paper messaging is required, clients are encouraged to use responsible printing methods -- paper with high recycled content from managed forests and plant based inks. Additionally, clients can receive statements to quantify the amount of greenhouse gases, water, energy, trees, and solid waste they save.

Q.: What got you into this kind of marketing?
A.: I've held a variety of marketing positions in Long Island companies for the last 15 years including the nation's largest credit card processing company and largest natural food company. In the late '90s I discovered the power of the Internet as an eCommerce strategist educating small businesses how to conduct sales over the web. In another capacity I trained a nationwide sales staff on how to sell through the use of a multi-media presentation tool, rather than relying on paper handouts "to do the selling." I've worked with multi-million dollar and zero dollars marketing budgets and learned through experience that it is not sending out thousands of unsolicited direct mail letters, or designing a glossy marketing slick or an extensively packaged product that sells that product. Conversely, it is learning your customer's buying habits and delivering a targeted compelling message to them at the point that they are ready to buy. That delivery vehicle can take many forms, some of which are more eco-friendly than others.

Q.: Just what are "environmentally-responsible print, Internet, electronic and mobile marketing strategies"?

A. They are practices that have minimal effects on our environmental resources including trees, water, and energy. They are often message mediums delivered through the web, such as an opt-in newsletter, or electronic offers sent through a text message, which leave a smaller carbon footprint than printed messages. It also includes cross-promotion with complimentary web sites and sending press releases to online media sources. And when there is a carbon footprint left from a marketing campaign, for instance mailing product samples, a carbon offset can be purchased to minimize the environmental impact.

Q.: Are Long Island businesses receptive to your ideas?
A. They are. My current clients are primarily those that have been in business for a couple of years, or who are brand new startups. Sensitive to costs, they realize there is a multi-fold benefit to environmentally-friendly marketing; they are making a public statement to their customers and prospects that they are forward-thinking and eco-conscious and at the same time they are saving money because, as an example, the ROI on a targeted email message is much more than that of an unsolicited direct mail piece.

Q.: Do you work with primarily large or small companies or with individuals?
A.: Currently I am working with a range of small to mid-size companies. As an example, one company is run by a sole proprietor ( selling organic wedding canopies -- which are re-purposed as an heirloom tablecloth for the bride and groom -- as well as other cermonial and dining accessories). Her market is the "green bride" - so a mention on and a feature on a high-profile "green wedding blog" was great for her business! I have run into quite a few businesses run by one or two people who have fantastic "green products" but don't know where to start in terms of their distribution, sales and marketing.

Q.; Do you do any work with government agencies?
A.: Not at this time.

Q.: Do you have a way of letting environmentalists know which companies are green?
A.: I have not ventured yet down this path.

Q.: Is there anything else you want to tell us?

A.: Last year I had the privilege to help develop the marketing materials for The Deirdre Imus Environmental Center for Pediatric Oncology at Hackensack University Medical Center and Ms. Imus' Greening the Cleaning(R) product line. Through her inspiration, I learned the importance of educating the public about the effect toxins (like that in the varnish of printed materials) have on our environment. It was not enough for me to just reduce my carbon footprint and that of my clients.
Compelled to become a "green educator" I recently received certification by the Long Island Climate Action Network (LI-CAN) to conduct presentations entitled "Lose 5000 Pounds in 30 Days (carbon pounds that is)" inspired by David Gershon's book, "Low Carbon Diets: A 30 Day Program to Lose 5000 Pounds." The program gives people an easy online calculator to identify their household carbon footprint and choose clear action steps to reduce their footprint. The certification program was recently completed at Stonybrook University and educators throughout the island are now scheduling their outreach presentations. I started the web site to link Long Islanders to presentations in their area. People interested can also request a speaker at their office or community group through the site.

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