Skip to main content

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.


Popular posts from this blog

Three Ways to Be Charitable

I’ve spent a big chunk of my career working with or for charities. Many of my dearest and ablest friends are in the charity ‘space.’ And the creativity and problem-solving coming out of the nonprofit sector has never been greater.  Although I’ve had numerous nonprofit clients over the last decade or so, I haven’t worked in a charity for about 12 years now, which gives me a certain distance. Distance lends perspective and consequently, I get a lot of people asking me which charities I recommend for donations of money or time. My usual answer is, “it depends.” “On what?” they respond. “On what you want from your charitable activities,” I reply. It sounds like a weaselly consultant kind of an answer, but bear with me for a moment. The English word charity comes from the Latin word caritas and means “from the heart,” implying a voluntary act. Caritas is the same root word for cherish. The Jews come at charity from a different direction. The Hebrew word that is usually rendered as charity is t…

Top Eight Cause-Related Marketing Campaigns of 2007

Yeah, You Read it Right. It's a Top 8 List.

More cause-related marketing campaigns are unveiled every day across the world than I review in a year at the cause-related marketing blog. And, frankly, I don’t see very many campaigns from outside North America. So I won’t pretend that my annual list of the top cause-related marketing campaigns is exhaustive.

But, like any other self-respecting blogger, I won’t let my superficial purview stop me from drawing my own tortured conclusions!

So… cue the drumroll (and the dismissive snickers)… without further ado, here is my list of the eight best cause-related marketing campaigns of 2007.

My list of the worst cause-related marketing campaigns of 2007 follows on Thursday.

Chilis and St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital
I was delighted by the scope of Chilis’ campaign for St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital. As you walked in you saw the servers adorned in black co-branded shirts. Other elements included message points on the Chilis beverage coas…

Five Steps To Nurture a 30-Year Cause Marketing Relationship

Last Monday, July 22, 2013, March of Dimes released the annual results of its campaign with Kmart... now in its thirtieth year... and thereby begged the question, what does it takes to have a multi-decade cause marketing relationship between a cause and a sponsor?

In the most recent year, Kmart,the discount retailer, donated $7.4 million to the March of Dimes, bringing the 30-year total to nearly $114 million. March of Dimes works to improve the health of mothers and babies.

Too many cause marketing relationships, in my estimation, resemble speed-dating more than long-term marriage. There can be good reasons for short-term cause marketing relationships. But most causes and sponsors benefit more from long-term marriages than short-term hookups, the main benefit being continuity. Cause marketing trades on the trust that people, usually consumers, put in the cause and the sponsor. The longer the relationship lasts the more trust is evidenced.

There's also a sponsor finding cost that…