Skip to main content

Using 'Counters' to Your Advantage in Cause Marketing

The National Debt Clock on Sixth Avenue in Manhattan continuously updates, highlighting the amount of debt the American people are encumbered with. Hospital emergency rooms in my market and across the country are currently running wait time counters on billboards. AMD ran a counter on its electronic sign in Times Square in New York City that purported to show how much time is wasted by ‘slow’ Intel chips compared to ‘fast’ AMD chips.

And, on the back page at the bottom of its weekly flyers, the big box pet retailer Petsmart runs a counter that shows how many lives Petsmart Charities have saved.

Counters or clocks can be a powerful marketing concept.

Trouble is, the figures from Petsmart Charities don’t seem to change very often.

Here are two weekly Petsmart flyers in my market, separated by three weeks, that show the same number of lives saved, 4,122,832.

How to account for the sameness of the number?

It could be, of course, that Petsmart Charities’ efforts did not result in any more lives saved in the succeeding days. But I doubt that.

I have no idea how Petsmart Charities determines the number of lives saved. But unless no more lives have been saved, I’m quite sure that it’s bad marketing to keep showing the same figure three weeks apart.

Before he died he founder of the National Debt Clock, real estate developer Seymour Durst, used to check with official US Treasury figures before doing updates to the clock via modem. In short, he had a quantifiable and sustainable way of ensuring the clock was accurate.

It appears that Petsmart Charities is either missing a similar process or that the challenges of getting an accurate count into all the newspapers has proved too daunting. But, of course, Petsmart itself has no problem getting new flyers to newspapers across the company’s service area every week.

I’m not here to give Petsmart Charities grief. But their lives saved counter only has power if it's accurate and timely and updated weekly.


babu gupta said…
Petsmart don't seem reliable to me either. That is why I switched buying dog food from another store called Free Hand. Along with selling you a bag of Dog food with one hand, they give a same size dog food bag to the rescue dogs with the other hand. The buyers have option to choose from their area, the group of the rescue dogs that will be benefited from the transaction. Check here: Dog food

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…