Interview On Cause Marketing With a Trade Magazine Reporter, Part II

The second half of an interview with Carol Gustafson, a writer with Western & English Today, a trade magazine to the equine industry.

3. What are the secrets to success? (The ways to make any CRM effort pay dividends for both the charity and the business.)

The secret sauce is planning and execution. In most cases, cause-related marketing is a promotion. And like any promotion it requires resources. But if resources are in short supply, to a degree you can substitute planning and creativity for money.

4. You've said that youth are an ideal market for CRM. Why is that?

The Millennials, aka Gen Y, the 76 million kids born from 1982 to 2002 have grown up with something called ‘service learning.’ That is, they get school credit for doing community service. That experience stays with them.

5. You've also identified eco-based CRM marketing as an area of growth. What is the potential in that area?

Until Al Gore won an Academy Award and a Nobel Prize in the same year, I would have said that Americans were still perhaps 12 months behind the ‘Green Wave.’ But it’s increasingly evident to me that the wave is cresting right now in America.

Right now, I see two broad classes of greens. There are the Americans willing to embrace eco-based cause-related marketing at almost any cost. These are the people who shop at Whole Foods/Wild Oats and pay perhaps a 40 percent premium for doing so.

Behind them is the much larger group who see the sense of saving energy, creating less waste, reducing their carbon ‘footprint,’ etc… so long as the price is right. These are the people who buy CFLs (compact florescent lightbulbs) at Wal-Mart.

They don’t pay as much for a CFL as it would have cost 3 years ago. But still they’re paying several times the cost of an incandescent bulb a little further down the same shelf.

Think about that for a moment. With millions of twisty light bulbs Wal-Mart manages to reshape its image, improve energy efficiency for the country as a whole, and lower the customer’s power bill, all by selling a CFL that has higher price point than the old incandescent bulbs, but a lower price point than their competitor’s CFL. It is, to use Peter Lynch’s term, a “triple bagger!”

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