An Old Campaigner Returns to the Dance Floor
Right now in the United States ballroom dancing... of all things... is hot, hot, hot.
It seems that everything old is new again. For instance, Children's Miracle Network, where I spent seven years, is the beneficiary of an old-school cause-related marketing campaign of the kind I haven't seen from them in years.
To be fair, the staff at Children’s Miracle Network has forgotten more about cause-related marketing than most practitioners will ever know. I mean that literally.
Perhaps 12 or 13 years ago they deliberately started scaling back the amount of garden-variety cause-related marketing they do. Back in the day Children’s Miracle Network was the king of cause-related marketing in the United States.
To cite just one example, Children’s Miracle Network had a whole themed FSI
to themselves that came out the exact weekend of their annual telethon, which aired on about 215 TV stations in the United States and Canada. Nowadays the only stateside FSI that comes close to duplicating that feat are the quarterly brandSAVER FSIs
from Proctor & Gamble.
All this from a charity headquartered in the beautiful but small state of Utah, which is a long plane ride away from the media and sponsor markets on the coasts.
Why did they scale back? Mick Shannon and Joe Lake, the now-retired co-founders, could probably answer better than I could. So could Jay Vestal
, now at the National Forest Foundation.
But I think it comes down to this. Cause marketing is hard to scale up. It reaches a certain level and it plateaus. Even with a committed sponsor, even with a creative campaign, even with a large network to draw on, even with the support of millions of customers cause-related marketing campaigns plateau at around $2 million in the States.
For instance, Yoplait’s lid campaign for Susan G. Komen is iconic. When people look at me quizzically when I talk about cause-related marketing, I just describe the Yoplait campaign and they know what I’m talking about. It’s being going on for nine years. People collect the lids by the tens of millions and send them in to generate $.10 per lid. This year it will raise $1.5 million. Now that’s a very nice effort. But it’s been holding steady at $1.5 million for a few years now.
So to raise more money via cause marketing, you have to add new campaigns. But running cause-related marketing campaigns is like running an ad agency. Each account gets their own account executive whose job it is to travel, take meetings, coordinate, develop campaign materials, build support, and rally the troops.
At Children’s Miracle Network, most of the account executives have 4-5 accounts or more. So adding new campaigns means adding more staff to sell and administer them.
Children’s Miracle Network found another way to raise more money without increasing headcount, and it involved doing less of the traditional cause-related marketing, not more. How they did it is a story for another post.
All that said, I’m glad to see Children’s Miracle Network do a little bit of old-school cause-related marketing. The fact is, while it’s easy to measure the success of a cause-related marketing campaign by the number of dollars it generates, it’s not the full measure of success.
Cause-related marketing brings more than money to causes, it:
* Enhances branding
* Gives them access to new donors
* Provides a new source of income
* It helps them access corporate marketing dollars rather than just foundation dollars
* Gives them access to corporate marketing expertise.
Illustrated above is Children’s Miracle Network's campaign with CO-OP Financial Services
, which runs a network of 25,000 ATM’s for the nation’s credit unions
including about 5,500 ATMs in the nation’s 7-Eleven convenience stores.
In the campaign, for every transaction completed ½ cent is donated to the local children’s hospital affiliated with Children’s Miracle Network. The campaign runs year-round and the donation is capped at $15,000 a month or $180,000 a year. CO-OP is testing the ATM wrap illustrated above at Mountain America Credit Unions in Salt Lake City, Utah, and may decide to wrap all their 25,000 ATMs.
That would be quite a coup for Joe Dearborn, Children’s Miracle Network's fine account executive for the CO-OP account.
The campaign kicked off with the direct mailer illustrated above that came to me November 29.
You'll they've integrated the graphics from the mailer carry and the wrap. The same with the language.
All in all, a nice cause-related marketing campaign from a veteran campaigner.