Skip to main content

How an Agency Should Evaluating a Cause Marketing Campaign

How should an agency evaluate a cause campaign it had a hand in?

This question comes on the heels of posts the last two Fridays about how to evaluate a cause marketing campaign if you represent the cause and how to do so if you represent the sponsor.

While there’s plenty in both posts that’s pertinent, agencies still have their own unique gloss on evaluating the success of a campaign.
  • Agencies frequently care about things like whether a campaign helps them ad another trophy to the case or brings the respect of peers and the trade press.
  • Agencies care about achieving higher creative standards.
  • And it goes without saying that agencies care about whether the work they do for the campaign meets internal benchmarks for profitability.
But in my view what should matter most for agencies is the degree to which they are aligned with the nonprofit’s goals and objectives. Agencies must evaluate the success of a cause marketing campaign based on whether it achieved the nonprofit’s and the sponsor’s definitions of success.

Sometimes this means setting aside biases (both personal and institutional). For instance, in my home State of Utah the Department of Transportation and the Department of Public Safety ran a public safety campaign called Zero Fatalities. The tagline was: “it’s a goal we can all live with.”

The agency had an institutional bias for wordplay, but does a campaign like this really call for puns? I don’t know who the agency for this campaign is, but in my view they sold the State a bill of goods.

In cause marketing campaigns, the job of the agency isn’t to be clever for the sake of being clever. The agency's job is to help create a campaign that works, that is a campaign that sells.

Dan Pallotta makes an interesting point in a recent post in the Harvard Business Review blogs. Businesses sometimes scorn nonprofits as being inherently not self-sustainable, he writes. But, “if reliance on the wealth of others makes a business not self-sustaining, then no business is self-sustaining. The music industry, for example, is not self-sustaining, because it relies on the wealth of consumers, who use their money to buy albums,” says Pallotta.

What can help make nonprofits self-sustainable? Here's how Pallotta answers:
“Most people want to help others. Their lives would feel incomplete without this connection to humanity. We can tap into this human desire by marketing compassion with the same rigor as we market luxury cars.”
That’s the ultimate assessment for an agency. Did they bring value that made the campaign more effective? Or did they bring creative that won cheers from their peers and yawns from the nonprofit's constituency?

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

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…

Cause-Related Marketing Meets Microfinance

Kiva.org and Advanta.com Mix it Up

You’d have had to have been in Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia the last year or so to have missed the run up of microfinance. Between 2004 and 2006 more than $4 billion of capital flowed into microfinance institutions. All told experts say the total loan microfinance loan portfolio may be as much as $12.5 billion. And of course the father of microfinance, Muhammad Yunus won the 2006 Nobel Peace Prize. Microfinance is now so respectable, so effective, (so profitable!) that it’s already enjoying its first global backlash.

Actually that first sentence is hyperbole. Because even in Ulaanbaatar… far from almost anywhere on the vast, frigid steppes of Mongolia… microfinance is thriving such that the earliest recipients of micro loans there are now complaining about taxes and government bureaucracy! And May 29-31, 2008 the Conference of Microfinance Institutions will convene in Ulaanbaatar, the eleventh such annual conference.
Now Advanta, a credit card issuer to small…

Cause Marketing Beer with BOGO, Brew One Give One

On Monday’s post I touched on the topic of telling people what your cause marketing campaign accomplished when completed. I’ve recommended this approach to clients as a way to keep open the lines of communication with customers and clients and to get extra value from the campaign.

In other words, you’ll want to hold back some of the promotion’s budget to continue to activate the effort until the very end.

But what if that really cuts across the grain in your organization? What if it’s just not in your corporate DNA to do anything but to frontload your cause marketing activation? Well, then, add the report back to the activation of your next cause marketing effort.

New Belgium Brewing of Ft. Collins, Colorado, said to be the seventh largest brewery in the United States, did just that with this ad in Sunset magazine. I found this ad in the Alden Keene Cause Marketing Database.

New Belgium donates $1 for every barrel it brews and sells. It’s a BOGO cause marketing effort, Buy One Give One. …