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Showing posts from May, 2013

Two New Surveys Show Consumers Expect and Support Cause Marketing

Two surveys out this week uncover new insights about the push and pull of cause marketing.

In the first, the Cause Marketing Forum looks for million-dollar cause marketing campaigns at checkout and finds 63 of them generating a total of $358.4 million. That’s an average of $5.6 million per campaign. But the average is pulled up by the first five donations that total more than $150 million by themselves.

The Cause Marketing Forum is meeting in Chicago so I haven’t had the chance to talk with them, but I suspect that in the years to come this survey will turn up much bigger numbers.

The big winners are children’s charities. Forty-seven percent of the total raised went to the name-brand children’s charities; Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals, Easter Seals, March of Dimes, St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital, etc.

One surprise was eBay’s number. The online company generated $54 million for 22,000 charities, the most of any company on the list. The other surprise was Safeway, which gene…

Innovative Cause Marketing 'Inventory'

Selling cause marketing sponsorships… like selling radio or television airtime… means selling the intangible. But that doesn’t mean you don’t have inventory. Races have space on t-shirts and signs, telethons and radiothons have airtime, packaged goods products have packaging.

Keep brainstorming and other cause marketing inventory will become plain.

I advised a friend, a New York Times best-selling author with his own charity, to auction off the rights to name a character in one of his upcoming books. Shortly before I left Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals I was working on adding a kind of behind-the-scenes tour to my sponsors who achieved certain fundraising levels; never underestimate the degree to which people love to pull back the curtain on how “Oz” manages his acts of magic.

A really fun kind of alternate cause marketing inventory came across my desk recently.

In Raleigh, North Carolina Terramor Homes does a BBQ in support of the Duke Children’s Hospital Radiothon. The BBQ inclu…

Fun Cause Marketing Promotion, Wrong Holiday

Today is Memorial Day 2013 in the United States. Memorial Day is a federal holiday, but also a day to do a little cause marketing. CSK, the big railway company is doing just that with their campaign on behalf of the Wounded Warrior Project called, Drop and Give Them 10. It’s a fun campaign that just happens be on the wrong holiday.

Drop and give me ten is an American colloquialism that means to do ten pushups. When you do 10 pushups and visit the campaign website and affirm that you did yours, CSX will donate a dollar to the Wounded Warrior Project. Post it on your social network and CSX will donate another $1. The total donation is capped at $50,000. The campaign started Monday, May 20 2013 and runs through Wednesday, May 29.

Why pushups? “All service members have a few things in common:” says the campaign website, “bravery, sacrifice and, of course, the pushup. This Memorial Day, to honor the men and women of the military, CSX is asking all Americans to do 10 pushups.”    

CSX, who…

Five Bad Habits of Cause Marketers

On Monday I posted about five good habits of great cause marketers. But cause marketers... good and bad... can have bad habits too.

In his terrific 2012 book The Power of Habit Pulitzer prize-winning-reporter Charles Duhigg tells about the three phases of habits: the cue; the routine or behavior; and the reward.

To change bad habits to good habits, Duhigg writes, you have to transform the routine / behavior. That’s how Alcoholic Anonymous works and the means by which Tony Dungy turned the Indianapolis Colts into Super Bowl champs, to cite two examples from the Duhigg’s book. I recommend The Power of Habit highly.

Here, then, are five bad habits that too many cause marketers have.
Analyzing the Data Badly. Immature people, like immature cause marketers, almost always struggle with what scientists call ‘confirmation bias.’ That is, they tend to want to shape the data to their conclusions and prejudices, rather than the other way around. Confirmation bias leads to bad science and bad caus…

The Five Habits of Great Cause Marketers

Aristotle wrote, “We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then, is not an act but a habit.” Of course, that’s true. There are a whole host of things that are challenging the first times we do them, but become easier as we repeat them. Scientists call it “automaticity.” I’ve been driving for more than 25 years and notwithstanding all the cognitive effort it took when I was 16, it’s pretty easy for me to drive safely now.

William James, the first real American psychologist, said that habits are like the crease in a man’s suit pants or the channels set by the water that came before. “Could the young but realize how soon they will become mere walking bundles of habits, they would give more heed to their conduct while in the plastic state,” James said.

Warren Buffet, the avuncular billionaire, told Caroline Ghosn, cofounder of women's careership startup Levo League, that you should look at the qualities you most admire in others and cultivate those habits in yourself. 
"Just im…

Where is All the Cause Marketing with Faith-Based Nonprofits?

In Feb 2013, I got an email from a remarkable student at the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill who had an intriguing question: why isn’t there more cause marketing between sponsors and faith-based nonprofits?

It’s a question I’d wondered about myself so it was fun to be asked to think about. Marshele Carter Waddell and I talked about it several times in the intervening months. Marshele is a grad student in the School of Journalism and Mass Communication at UNC, the executive director of a faith-based nonprofit, the author of four books, the 28-Year Wife of a U.S. Navy SEAL Commander (ret) and mother of a U.S. Marine Infantry Officer who received the “Bronze Star for Valor for things sons don't tell their mothers,” as she puts it.

With her permission I publish the conclusion of her analysis which is one section in a report of a larger project called, "Corporations, Creeds and Cause-related Marketing Campaigns: Defining the Graces that Save and the Sins that Sink Corporat…

The Moral Authority of the IRS Has Been Diminished

Years ago I read a book by a man who had been the public defender in the bad old days of Soviet Russia. There were horrors aplenty, all worthy of a Kafka novel. One of the things that has stuck with me ever since was his belief that he wasn’t defending his clients against just the Soviet apparatchik. He also had to defend against the expectations of jurors who ‘knew’ what the government wanted; even when there was no communication from any level of the Nomenklatura.

Such kangaroo courts didn’t require any direct intervention from Soviet officials at all, he wrote. That is during a trial jurors didn’t need to get something like a telegram from the Politiburo to know how to rule. They convicted defendants based on what they thought the Politburo and the Party would want them to do.

These memories came back to me over the weekend when I learned that Internal Revenue Service (IRS) officials in the Cincinnati offices in charge on non-profit were giving unwarranted scrutiny to applications …

Father's Day Ad Can't Save the Manatee

One of the oldest tricks in the retail promotions handbook is to base your promotion around a holiday. That’s why you see chocolate promotions in around Valentine’s Day in February, and back to school sales in August, when most schools in the United States restart after the summer break. Merchants and retailers use holidays as a hook to hang their promotions on.

It goes without saying that there’s nothing coded in the world’s DNA that compels back-to-school sales to take place in August, however. In counties where the summer school break is shorter back-to-school sales might take place in July.

So if Memorial Day (the last Monday in May) or even Labor Day (the first Monday in September) sound like the perfect time to grill up some steaks on the BBQ, it’s because for more than 30 years that’s what grocers have been telling us.

The point being, effective marketers are able draw connections that didn’t exist before between holidays and sales promotions.

Now a cause is trying to draw a c…