Unconventional Metrics of Cause Marketing Power

The printed edition of Fortune Magazine runs a regular feature called ‘My Metric’ wherein business leaders identify informal but telling measures of current economic activity.

In the January 17, 2011 Michael Glimcher, CEO of Glimcher Realty Trust cited as his metric an increased number of black cars on the streets of New York City as a sign of the U.S. economy’s (still pending?) resurgence.

That got me thinking, what unconventional metrics evidence the power of certain cause marketing efforts?

One immediately leapt to mind, although only General Mills, which makes Yoplait yogurt in the U.S., can measure it.

The Yoplait lid at left... which I purchased in December 2010... can NOT be redeemed for a $0.10 donation to Susan G. Komen for the Cure. Instead it promotes Yoplait’s sponsorship of Komen’s Race for the Cure events, which are numerous.

But I’d bet you a six-pack of Yoplait Greek Honey Vanilla that people nonetheless still send in some number of the lids above in an attempt to redeem them on behalf of Komen. The number of false redemption attempts therefore serve as a signal of customer loyalty to the lid campaign, even in those seasons when it isn’t active.

Now, I have no idea if General Mills tracks anything like false redemption attempts of Yoplait lids for Komen. But they should.

Finally, I had an enjoyable lunch yesterday afternoon with Clark Sweat, formerly of St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital and Children’s Miracle Network. Clark is one of the most thoughtful cause marketing practitioners in the business and he’s teaching classes at the Cause Marketing Forum in Chicago in June 2011. I’m not here to pimp for David Hessekiel’s Forum, but if you’re going do yourself a favor and sign up for Clark’s classes!

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