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Where's the Social Media in this Youth Targeted Cause Marketing Effort?

The direct sales business… think Amway, Avon, and Shaklee… has a demographics problem, namely attracting the next generation of sales reps. Avon has addressed the challenge by launching Mark, which targets 18-30 year olds with bright, fun, less expensive products than Avon’s mainstream line and sold by youthful reps using a heavy dose of social media.

Mark has proven to be a good extension for Avon. A January 2010 story in the New York Times on Mark put annual sales at $70 million and numbered sales reps at around 40,000 in North America.

Like Avon, Mark has a cause attached to it. But, as I’ve demonstrated before in this space, in the United States breast cancer, Avon’s signature cause, is pretty rare for women under age 30. So Mark chose domestic violence instead. Its own charity, called m.powerment, donates to causes working to end domestic violence.

In the iteration at the left, when you buy the necklace worn by Twilight star Ashley Greene, proceeds benefit m.powerment and its partner causes. Again, this is all straight from the Avon playbook. Avon has done this dozens, if not hundreds of times.

The Times article makes it clear that Mark is all about reaching younger women in a way that’s familiar to them.
“Mark Girls in North America, mainly 18- to 24-year-old women who are changing the nature of direct sales by using the brand’s personalized e-boutiques, iPhone app and new Facebook e-shop, one of the beauty industry’s first forays into Facebook e-commerce.

“We’ve taken the same DNA of direct selling that has always been a part of Avon’s history and applied it to the digital world for our Mark reps to reach their customers,” said Claudia Poccia, president of Mark at Avon, which introduced the brand in 2003. “Now, we’re offering our Mark reps the opportunity to sell products not just door to door, but on Facebook, wall to wall.”
So given the youth of the audience and Mark’s sales approach, I wonder where the social media element is to this cause marketing campaign?

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