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Parting the Kimono (a little) on Cause Marketing ROI

I’m working a speech I’ll give next week on cause marketing and the meeting planners asked if I could share some actual ROI data.

Such data isn’t impossible to discover. But it’s not at all common.

You don’t have too think to hard about it to know why this is so. If a transactional cause marketing was based on sales, then it would be a matter of simple arithmetic for a competitor to figure out unit sales during the time period of the cause marketing promotion, something most companies would be reluctant to reveal.

For different reasons we don’t always know what charities net out of their cause marketing efforts, even though their 990 tax return tell us how much money individual U.S. charities take in overall.

But in just the last week, I’ve seen two prominent cause marketers who have parted the kimono… but only a little… on actual results.

In a news item published October 14, 2011 the executive director of the Susan G. Komen for the Cure chapter in central Oklahoma, Lorna Palmer… revealed that in 2010 cause marketing efforts generated about $300,000 of the $700,000 that the chapter distributed in its 10-county service area. The rest came from race events.

I don’t know what Komen’s formula is for distributing cause marketing proceeds, but here’s some simple back on the envelope figuring.

Komen has right around 120 chapters. If you figure that the average across all the chapters is somewhere between half as much as what the Central Oklahoma chapter took in and twice as much, then by itself cause marketing might be worth somewhere between $18 million and $72 million to Komen in 2010.

Nice!

Meanwhile, on the sponsor side of the equation Procter & Gamble’s Pampers brand of diapers experienced year-over-year growth “even in its toughest markets” thanks to the brand’s buy-one give-one promotion (BOGO). Buy a package of Pampers and P&G donates the price of a tetanus vaccination for newborn babies in the developing world, about $0.12 cents per package. The charity partner is UNICEF.

The sales results are vague, of course, but the good news is that the World Health Organization projects that if the campaign continues apace that tetanus will be eliminated by 2015.

What a claim to be able to make on your annual or corporate social responsibility report!

If you’d know of or have seen actual results from a cause marketing effort, please share them with me. I’d love to plug them into my speech. Contact me at aldenkeene at gmail dot com.

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