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How an Agency Should Evaluate Its Cause Marketing Creative

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

Agencies have their own unique gloss on evaluating the success of a campaign.
  • Agencies care about achieving higher creative standards.
  • Agencies frequently care about things like whether a campaign helps them add another trophy to the case or brings the respect of peers and the trade press.
  • 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 the creative they produced is 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).

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.

Last year Dan Pallotta, himself now an agency man after founding and running several anti-AIDS causes, made an interesting point 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 stakeholders? 

Comments

Michelle Suchecki said…
I find this topic interesting as businesses are highly critical of non profits but this article shows that they both need cash flow from either consumers/sponsors in order to be successful. An agency definitely needs to be creative when marketing in order to stand out from competitors and make sure that their strategy is in line with their objectives while doing so. I believe that even marketing strategies need to think of creating a "blue ocean" rather then joining the bloody waters of the "red ocean" (companies going throat to throat). Creating a blue ocean when marketing will in turn set companies apart and can potentially make a company very successful. Red Ocean: Barnum and Bailey (traditional circus with animals) Blue Ocean: Cirque Du Soleil (upscale circus displaying much physicality and staging effects).
Michelle Suchecki said…
I find this topic interesting as businesses are highly critical of non profits but this article shows that they both need cash flow from either consumers/sponsors in order to be successful. An agency definitely needs to be creative when marketing in order to stand out from competitors and make sure that their strategy is in line with their objectives while doing so. I believe that even marketing strategies need to think of creating a "blue ocean" rather then joining the bloody waters of the "red ocean" (companies going throat to throat). Creating a blue ocean when marketing will in turn set companies apart and can potentially make a company very successful. Red Ocean: Barnum and Bailey (traditional circus with animals) Blue Ocean: Cirque Du Soleil (upscale circus displaying much physicality and staging effects).
Sarah Tiner said…
The information you are giving is really helpful to people.But can you more information about your services.Push Marketing
This topic is very similar to the topic my class in the university is covering "Corporate Cause promotion". I totally agree with the point about businesses criticizing non-profits yet they do not mention the detail that without such businesses and non-profit donations, those businesses would lack a lot of good cause promotion. Not all cause promotions focus simply on money but also how unique and involved a company can be during a 'needed cause event'. When speaking about marketing strategies, companies need to think outside the box and not be just like all the competitors. That difference creates cause promotional success.

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