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.
  1. 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 cause marketing.  
  2. They Don’t Ship. “Real artists ship,” Steve Jobs is supposed to have said. Seth Godin keeps writing blog posts and books on the topic. By ‘shipping’ Jobs and Godin mean that you gotta get the product or the service out the door. Quit dithering. Don’t wait for perfection. Get it done and ship it.
  3. They Go Too Deep Into Shallow Things. We’re talking about cause marketing here, which many people consider to be inherently shallow. But what I’m talking about caring too much about very shallow things in a cause marketing campaign. For instance, whether the event t-shirt has ribbed band around the sleeves or what color the Town Car is that picks up the celebrity. Details count in cause marketing, but it’s a bad habit to think that all details have equal weight.
  4. They Don’t Stay With a Campaign Long Enough. The human mind is a curious organ. It craves novelty, but it learns by repetition. Too many cause marketers give too much heed to the first factor and not enough to the second.
  5. They Work On Everything But Themselves. Covey was right. You gotta sharpen the saw. If you don’t frequently and consistently renew the physical, intellectual, mental, spiritual, emotional parts of yourself, you’re going to bring less to your cause marketing. Like the flight attendants say at the start of the flight, take care of yourself first before you help someone else.

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