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Showing posts from May, 2007

BG US Challenge and St. Jude Childen's Research Hospital Part 2

A Business to Business Cause-Related Marketing Campaign that Brings Money & ROI... Part II

Cause-related marketing isn't always about the consumer audience. Just as there are businesses that sell goods and services to other businesses (B2B), it is possible... though not always easy... to put together cause marketing campaigns where the cause transaction occurs between businesses (B2B Cause-Related Marketing©).
The smartly-branded Memphis-based St. Jude Children's Research Hospital, has just such a B2B Cause-Related Marketing campaign going on right now with the BG Corporate Challenge. And unlike the countless walk-a-thons, bike-a-thons, eclair-eat-a-thons, etc., this one offers corporate participants real ROI.
Read the second half of my interview with Holly Thompson... the Liaison-Sports Marketing & Sponsor Development, and the person in charge of the BG US Challenge at St Jude... to see how. As a reminder, what follows are paraphrased answers from Holly, NOT actual quote…

BG US Challenge and St. Jude Childen's Research Hospital

A Business to Business Cause-Related Marketing Campaign that Brings Money & ROI... Part I

I’ve written before about what we at Alden Keene & Associates call B2B Cause-Related Marketing©. That is, cause marketing that takes place between businesses rather than between business and consumers.

B2B Cause-Related Marketing can be more challenging because of the issue of money. It’s relatively easy for a cause marketer to put together a CRM campaign with a physical good that’s sold to a consumer. But where does the money come from in when the CRM exchange takes place between two businesses?

Memphis-based St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital is currently running a dynamite B2B Cause-Related Marketing campaign that turns the standard walk-a-thon on its ear. And it does so while building corporate teams and affinity between corporate America and St. Jude. It’s called the BG US Challenge. You may have seen the ad above for the Challenge in Fortune magazine.

I spoke last week with Holly Tho…

Local Toyota Service Centers and Weber State Automotive Training Programs

Affinity in Cause-Related Marketing

Implicit in any successful cause-related marketing campaign is the idea of affinity. Absent affinity, no cause-related marketing campaign is likely to soar

Think about it, if children with cancer don’t affect you emotionally, intellectually or otherwise, then you’re far less likely support any cause marketing campaign on behalf of St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital.

And it has to be the right kind of affinity. I may love American Idol and Randy Jackson, but if I don’t have a cat then his endorsement in this 9Lives FSI isn’t likely to convince me to buy a bag of dry cat food.

So consider the case of this mailer, received at my home circa October 2004 from the cooperative marketing group for the Toyota Service Centers in my market. I get one of these mailers about once a month. This one advertised a lube, oil and filter service featuring genuine Toyota parts.

In the red burst on the left side is the cause-marketing offer. Buy this service for $25.95, an…

Integrated Cause Marketing

Bridge the Gaps

Pictured is a recent flyer from The flyer features two cause-related marketing efforts; one for the New York City police officers and firefighters who performed so bravely during 9-11, and the other for the Breast Cancer Research Foundation.

Ignore for the moment the weak and confusing “portion of the proceeds” language on the firefighter check and concentrate instead on what else is in play besides the transaction-based promotions.

Everyone that buys either of those checks is identifying themselves as someone who has so much affinity for the New York City firefighters and police officers of 9-11, or for breast cancer research that they’re willing to put a ‘bumper sticker’ on their checks saying as much!

Imagine the value to those two nonprofits to have the list of people who bought those checks. It’s the hottest kind of list.

While for-profits commonly approach non-profits for their lists, it’s less common for the lists to go the other direction. But ho…

Breaking News: Humane Society of the United States Added to Microsoft's i'm Initiative List of Benefiting Charities

It's not often that I get to 'break' news here at the Cause-Related Marketing blog, but today I do.

Here's a press release, leaked to me, which announces that The Humane Society of the United States is the tenth charity to benefit from Windows Live Messenger's cause-marketing campaign called the i'm Initiative.

The Humane Society of the United States Announces Participation in the i’m Initiative from Microsoft Windows Live Messenger connects customers to top social causes through the donation of Microsoft advertising dollars

(May 21, 2007) - Starting today, anyone who sends instant messages to their friends, family or colleagues using Windows Live Messenger can also help animals at the same time.

Through participation in the i’m Initiative from Microsoft, The Humane Society of the United States is offering supporters and other animal lovers who download Windows Live Messenger the opportunity to make a difference without spending a dime. Microsoft will donate a port…

Get Away Today Vacations and Credit Unions for Kids

How to Raise $1 Million for Charity Without Transparency

I have ranted frequently about the hazards of cause marketing without transparency.

But the fact is, there are plenty of campaigns that manage to be successful without much transparency. Plenty that still cling to the obsolete language, “a portion of the proceeds,’ and do just fine.

How does that work? Am I wrong about the necessity of transparency? Maybe it’s more of a nicety than a requirement, like chives with your baked potato or seeing the Musee d’Orsay after touring Le Louvre.

Case in point is the back page of a small brochure that came stuffed in my credit union statement a few months back from Get Away Today Vacations (GATV). GATV is a privately-held travel agency with billings of about $50 million a year which built its business booking Disneyland vacation packages for families.

It’s a nice little niche. Chuck and Julie Smith, the husband and wife who own the agency, say, “We’ve been able to make our vacation our vocation.”

Social Entrepreneuers Galactic Pizza and Endangered Species Chocolate

The Importance of Being Earnest (or Not) in Cause Marketing

How important is it to understand your audience in cause-related marketing?

It’s more important than the creative approach, the appeal and maybe the cause you choose.

Illustrated are two companies that practice social entrepreneurship; that is, they’re capitalists with a nonprofit-like missions.

Both employ cause marketing to sell their respective products. But they come at their cause marketing from completely different points of view.

The first, Endangered Species Chocolate of Indianapolis, is earnest in its approach. Here’s a couple of paragraphs printed on the outside wrapper of their Gorilla milk chocolate bar with pecan pralines.
OUR STORY At Endangered Species Chocolate, we provide exceptionally delicious,
ethically traded chocolate made with only the finest, 100% all-natural
ingredients. Just as important, we see chocolate as a medium to save species,
conserve habitat and honor human life. ESC donates 10% of its net profits …

Target and the National Teacher Appreciation Week

Cause-Related Marketing, Sans the Cause

Target advertised this gift card in their weekly flyer meant to be given to teachers in appreciation for their efforts.

Why? Because “teachers inspire and guide children to learn and grow and achieve their dreams.”

What should we do? “Show your teachers how important they are to you during National Teacher Appreciation Week, May 6-12.”

How? Well “The World’s Best Teacher Giftcard” is available in Target stores and online at

Why now? Because for many kids in the States the school year ends in about three weeks.

The offer turns on “National Teacher Appreciation Week.” In fact, the full title of the week is “The National PTA Teacher Appreciation Week.” The National PTA Teacher Appreciation Week has been the first full week in May since the PTA founded the observation in 1984.

The National PTA is an umbrella group, a 501(c)(3) charity, that leads and coordinates more than 23,000 affiliate Parent Teacher Associations in every state in the U.S. L…

Turning Data Into Information

An Average Hour for Seth Godin and Guy Kawasaki, Seven Months for Me

On Tuesday, October 17, 2006 I posted my first entry on this blog called Eyeballs vs Tears. According to Google Analytics, in the 202 days since the blog has received about 4380 visits and 7300 pageviews, for an average of 1.67 pageviews per visit.

I confess I’m pretty proud of those numbers, although they probably represent at best an average hour’s worth of traffic at Guy Kawasaki’s or Seth Godin’s blogs.

Nonetheless, I think it’s instructive to parse the data revealed in Google Analytics and try to turn it from ‘data into information,’ as the immortal Peter Drucker (seen above) used to say.

Not surprisingly, the most common Google search terms were phrases like “cause-related marketing,” “cause related promotion,” or variations on a theme.

More than 200 visits came courtesy of Newsweek magazine’s article on the Red campaign in which I’m quoted.’s roundup of nonprofit blogs called Give and Take, where th…

Window's Live Messenger and Multiple Charities

Tech Companies: Steal This Idea from Mr. Softy!

I’M intrigued by the new cause-related marketing campaign Microsoft is promoting right now called the “i’m Initiative.” Sign up with the i’m Initiative in the United States and every time you use Window’s Live Messenger Microsoft will make a donation to one of nine designated charities.

The money for the donation comes from splitting ad revenue, which echoes the way Seth Godin’s makes charitable donations.

As currently constituted the nine charities are: American Red Cross; Boys & Girls Clubs of America; The National Aids Fund; National Multiple Sclerosis Society;; The Sierra Club;; Susan G. Komen; and UNICEF.

The most recent survey of IM users that I’m familiar with comes from the Pew Internet & American Life Project, published in September 2004. They found that 42 percent of American Internet users, or 53 million people, used IM. The heaviest usage is among Gen Y (age 18-27). Pew re…

March of Dimes and Colored Charity Ribbons

Enough With the Ribbons Already

How powerful is the ribbon as a visual awareness symbol? Can causes and nonprofits continue to adopt existing colored ribbons and yet still have meaning invested in all the rest? What’s the potential for confusion when two or more different charities/causes claim the same color of ribbon? When another cause adopts a colored ribbon already in use, does it undermine meaning or expand it? Could another iconic image beside a ribbon come to mean as much? Isn’t there a ‘me-to’ aspect to ribbons nowadays? Could ribbons be overused to the point where there’s a ribbon backlash?

These and other questions came flooding to me when I saw this ‘thank you to our sponsors’ ad in the April 30 issue of Fortune Magazine from WalkAmerica, the fundraiser for the March of Dimes.

In the bottom right corner is a blue and pink ribbon (get it?). Frankly it came as a surprise to me that March of Dimes… which works to prevent birth defects… had a ribbon and that they choose to featu…