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Showing posts from November, 2007

Dueling Cause-Related Marketing Studies

Four studies have come out this year that aim to measure either directly or obliquely consumer’s attitudes towards cause-related marketing.

All the studies have confidence levels of 95 percent or more. And yet two of them suggest that consumers have jaundiced opinions of cause-related marketing and two find that they’re quite positive on the practice.

How could that be?

The four studies are:


“Rethinking Corporate Responsibility” from the PR firm Fleishman-Hillard and the National Consumers League, and conducted by Western Wats.
“Consumer Survey: Media Use, Holiday Trends, Cause-Marketing” commissioned by the American Marketing Association, and conducted by the Opinion Research Corporation.
“2007 Cone Cause Evolution Survey” from Cone, LLC, an advertising agency, and also conducted by the Opinion Research Corporation.
The most recent is from Edelman, also a PR firm, in support of the launch of its new consultancy Good Purpose, and called the Goodpurpose Consumer Study. All the studies were co…

Limited-Edition Cause-Related Marketing

Still selling $15 pink hoodies and $28 cosmetic bags to benefit your charity? That’s so 2006!

Right now AudreyBags.com is selling limited-edition handbags to benefit the Audrey Hepburn Children’s Fund. Audreybags, like the Trocadero to the left, are made of canvas and feature images of the timeless beauty that is Audrey Hepburn.

Only 36 of each handbag is made. Prices range from $325 to $825. The Trocadero clocks in at $725.

I love Audrey Hepburn. But I can’t imagine paying $725 for a canvas handbag (I don’t carry handbags so I can’t imagine paying even $25 for one). But Audreybags.com isn’t targeting me. They’re targeting high net worth individuals.

If you sell merchandise as a part of your cause-related marketing or fundraising you might strongly consider targeting a similar audience.

Here’s why.
According to the 2007 World Wealth Report from Merrill Lynch and Capgemini, the number of high net worth individuals… people with net assets of $1 not including their primary residence… increased…

Thanksgiving

Today is Thanksgiving in the States, a day when we we watch parades and American football before eating an enormous feast of turkey, 'stuffing,' and mashed potatoes, then chase it down with pumpkin pie.

We Americans grew up with a cherished myth that the first thanksgiving was celebrated when the Native Americans invited the Pilgrims over for a potluck around harvest time.
Every year historians, journalists and other skeptics chip away at the thanksgiving myth. The latest involves a Spanish explorer named Pedro Menendez de Aviles who dined on bean soup with Native Americans in Florida some 56 years before the more famous meal at Plymouth Rock.
In time no doubt we'll learn that Leif Ericson in fact broke bread with Native Americans in Labrador around 1000 AD and that the Basques shared their catch of salted cod with the Natives of New England long before Columbus.
Nonetheless, Americans are pretty much undaunted by these revelations. Here's why: the holiday as we now celebr…

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. Successful campaigns frequently rely on a ‘MacGuffin.’ Filmmaker Alfred Hitchcock used the term to describe the mechanical element in movie plot that impelled action. In the case of cause-related marketing, sometimes the cause itself is the MacGuffin… certain breast cancer charities come to mind, for instance. The MacGuffin could be celebrity involvement, a sweepstakes of some sort, or strong media appeal. You must figure out a way to grab media attention that is appropriate for the pro…

Interview On Cause Marketing With a Trade Magazine Reporter

Last week I did “email interview” on cause-related marketing with Carol Gustafson, a writer for W&E Today, a trade magazine for the western and English equine industry.

She asked me five questions. I’ll post the answers to the first two questions on today’s post, and the remaining on next Tuesday’s post. Carol’s questions are in italics, followed by my answers.

1. With money tight and ad budgets shrinking, why should a business, especially a smaller one, include cause-related marketing in its promotional mix?

Old time marketers used to lament that the average person saw perhaps 250 commercial messages a day. Nowadays, the estimates range from a few hundred to perhaps 3,000! I expect there’s a lot of shock value built into these estimates. But as Seth Godin puts it in his landmark book Permission Marketing, the biggest challenge for marketers today isn’t the number of commercial messages per se.

Instead, it’s the number of messages combined with the fact that most commercials are based…

Cheap Tricks II: Getting Your Cause Marketing Campaign Noticed in a Crowded Market

Kick Up Your Heels

Last Tuesday’s post talked about showmanship in cause-related marketing.

These days a lot of causes and their sponsors are doing very similar campaigns. Rather like Gene Kelly and Van Johnson doing the same dance steps in their fine film Brigadoon.

So how do you stand out?

As I wrote, Gene Kelly hemmed his trouser cuffs high enough so that you couldn’t miss his socks. Mark Twain and Winston Churchill dutifully prepared and polished their speeches and scripted their public appearances until they sparkled. In a debate once William F. Buckley upstaged the economics giant John Galbraith by hijacking the stage curtain and swaying with puckish nonchalance.

I hope I haven’t misrepresented this. By showmanship I don’t mean “cutting through the clutter,” per se. We all are bombarded by hundreds, perhaps thousands, of commercial messages a day. That’s clutter. One of the appeals of cause-related marketing is that by itself it can help cut through the clutter.

Instead, what I want t…

Cheap Tricks I.I

In what may be a case of over-promising and under-delivering, I'm going to have to postpone the second half of this post until next Tuesday. I've been 'under the weather' as the expression goes and haven't had the chance to finish the second posting.

Instead, as a sort of a bridge, I want to share a letter from Aaron W. a reader in Toronto who asks if his two ads his group has produced serve to "shock people into paying attention."

Referring to Tuesday's post, Aaron asks:
I'd love to hear your thoughts on whether these ads are our "red socks" or
whether we missed the point and we're just bludgeoning people into submission."
View the ads on YouTubehere and here.

Aaron is plainly trying to cut through the clutter. Please leave a comment on the ads to say you whether or not you think he's succeeded.

On Tuesday... Part II.

Cheap Tricks I: Getting Your Cause Marketing Campaign Noticed in a Crowded World

I happened to catch a few moments of Gene Kelly and Van Johnson dancing in the 1954 MGM musical Brigadoon on television the other night.

As was typical of Kelly’s choreography, when he and Van Johnson danced together their steps mirrored each other. And Johnson, who was a pretty good hoofer, acquitted himself very well. But still I couldn’t help looking first and most often at the immortal Kelly.

Little wonder, I suppose. Gene Kelly was so talented, famously perfectionist, and a grindingly hard worker who somehow managed to make every step look fluid and easy.

So much so that when the great Latvian dancer Mikhail Baryshnikov was considering defecting to the West during the bad old Soviet days, one thing that gave him pause was that all American dancers were as skilled as Kelly or Fred Astaire. Hah! (Baryshnikov once said of Astaire, “His perfection gives us complexes, because he’s too perfect. His perfection is an absurdity that’s hard to face.”)

All that’s a given. Even though Van Johnso…

Vendor Programs and Cause-Related Marketing

It’s no secret that cause-related marketing is typically aimed at consumers. But that doesn’t mean that the sales relationship from manufacturer to consumer is direct. The Internet notwithstanding, most manufacturers require sales channel partners. Sometimes more than one.

For instance, the delivery of the O-Cedar mop you bought at your neighborhood grocery store was probably enabled not directly by Fredenberg Household Products (which owns O-Cedar), but by a third-party manufacture’s rep, who made sure the product was on the shelf and well displayed and that the annual spring cleaning special pricing is properly executed.

Moreover, in the last 15 years ago in the United States the balance of power shifted from the manufacturers to the retailers. Retailers realized that the 15 feet on shelf space they might give a product… in store that can only carry so many SKUs… is foot-for-foot the most valuable real estate in America. Hence the rise of slotting fees and the like.

So if you’re a manu…