Skip to main content

Where’s Kmart’s Cause Marketing Effort?

Sunday’s newspaper was clogged with flyers from most of the major retailers in my market; Macy’s, Walmart, Target, JC Penney, Sears, Kohl’s and Kmart. The first six listed all devoted at least some space in their sales flyers to their respective cause marketing efforts. Conspicuous by its absence was Kmart.

At left is the cause marketing campaign from Sears called Heroes at Home Wish Registry, which offers Sears gift cards to military members and the families registered in the program. Sears is the sponsor and founder of the campaign.

(Macy's campaign benefits Make-A-Wish, Target's benefit's St. Jude; JC Penney's benefits the Salvation Army Angel Tree, and Kohl's benefits Kohl's Cares for Kids).

I show this page from the Sears flyer because Sears Holdings owns the 1,327 or so Kmarts in operation. Indeed, go to either or and you’ll see the overlap of the brands. Sears Holdings is publicly held, but controlled by billionaire-financier Eddie Lampert.

I think Kmart is a natural for cause marketing. But truth be told, Kmart’s positioning against its competitors has gotten lost in my mind.

The Kmart closest to my home is a little like a Walmart only the prices are closer to those at Target, only the merchandise at Kmart is less appealing. In my mind Walmart is cheap and Target is chic-cheap. So where does that leave Kmart?

A cause for Kmart would have to have lots of appeal, or be very broadly based. The Sears Heroes at Home campaign is very attractive. But I think the better model for Kmart may be Kohl’s, whose cause effort has generated $150 million for Kohl’s Cares for Kids, mainly by selling smart-looking and well-priced licensed plush toys, books, music, and other merchandise.

Kmart sells a couple of brand lines that probably keep it in business including Martha Stewart, Joe Boxer, and Jaclyn Smith. Given that, a well-branded line of merchandise benefiting a charity might be just the thing for a retailer that has long since lost its mojo.


Popular posts from this blog

Three Ways to Be Charitable

I’ve spent a big chunk of my career working with or for charities. Many of my dearest and ablest friends are in the charity ‘space.’ And the creativity and problem-solving coming out of the nonprofit sector has never been greater.  Although I’ve had numerous nonprofit clients over the last decade or so, I haven’t worked in a charity for about 12 years now, which gives me a certain distance. Distance lends perspective and consequently, I get a lot of people asking me which charities I recommend for donations of money or time. My usual answer is, “it depends.” “On what?” they respond. “On what you want from your charitable activities,” I reply. It sounds like a weaselly consultant kind of an answer, but bear with me for a moment. The English word charity comes from the Latin word caritas and means “from the heart,” implying a voluntary act. Caritas is the same root word for cherish. The Jews come at charity from a different direction. The Hebrew word that is usually rendered as charity is t…

Top Eight Cause-Related Marketing Campaigns of 2007

Yeah, You Read it Right. It's a Top 8 List.

More cause-related marketing campaigns are unveiled every day across the world than I review in a year at the cause-related marketing blog. And, frankly, I don’t see very many campaigns from outside North America. So I won’t pretend that my annual list of the top cause-related marketing campaigns is exhaustive.

But, like any other self-respecting blogger, I won’t let my superficial purview stop me from drawing my own tortured conclusions!

So… cue the drumroll (and the dismissive snickers)… without further ado, here is my list of the eight best cause-related marketing campaigns of 2007.

My list of the worst cause-related marketing campaigns of 2007 follows on Thursday.

Chilis and St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital
I was delighted by the scope of Chilis’ campaign for St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital. As you walked in you saw the servers adorned in black co-branded shirts. Other elements included message points on the Chilis beverage coas…

Five Steps To Nurture a 30-Year Cause Marketing Relationship

Last Monday, July 22, 2013, March of Dimes released the annual results of its campaign with Kmart... now in its thirtieth year... and thereby begged the question, what does it takes to have a multi-decade cause marketing relationship between a cause and a sponsor?

In the most recent year, Kmart,the discount retailer, donated $7.4 million to the March of Dimes, bringing the 30-year total to nearly $114 million. March of Dimes works to improve the health of mothers and babies.

Too many cause marketing relationships, in my estimation, resemble speed-dating more than long-term marriage. There can be good reasons for short-term cause marketing relationships. But most causes and sponsors benefit more from long-term marriages than short-term hookups, the main benefit being continuity. Cause marketing trades on the trust that people, usually consumers, put in the cause and the sponsor. The longer the relationship lasts the more trust is evidenced.

There's also a sponsor finding cost that…