Skip to main content

Cause Marketing for the Disrespected

One of the old reliables in service journalism is the “How to Avoid a Timeshare Scam” story. I typed that phrase in Google and got 444,000 results. The words “timeshare ripoff” generates another 78,000 results in Google. ‘Timeshare hard-sell” turns up 78,700 results. “Timeshare nightmare”? 229,000 results.

I’m sure there are legitimate and above-board timeshare operators, but they seem to be a pretty well-kept secret. And so I’m not surprised that an online timeshare sales service is trying cause marketing to dress up its reputation. Because if you were a good operator in disrespected sector, one way to get past public cynicism would be to align with a cause that prospective customers could care about.

Public cynicism about market sectors that have been broadly tarred isn’t just a problem for companies. A friend of mine used to be an executive director for a nonprofit that specialized in wilderness therapy for teens. Their results were very good and they never had any deaths or any near-deaths. They had plenty of happy alumni and parents. But teens had died in the wilderness therapy programs of his competitors, and so my friend’s nonprofit faced recurrent skepticism from the public and the press.

“A timeshare,” says Wikipedia, “is a property with a particular form of ownership or use rights. These properties are typically resort condominium units, in which multiple parties hold rights to use the property, and each sharer is allotted a period of time (typically one week, and almost always the same time every year) in which they may use the property.”

Owners often complain that annual maintenance fees are too high, the units are overpriced, the promised exchanges never materialize, and, most of all, that timeshares can be virtually impossible to resale. 

Given their widely-known reputation, new timeshares are frequently sold using techniques that are just barely shy of a Mafioso style strong-arm.

In April 2013, Buyatimeshare.com… which is an online marketplace for timeshare owners looking to rent or sell their timeshares… went softer. They donated a timeshare stay and travel worth $1,500 to a nonprofit called Send Me on Vacation, which helps cancer patients and their families rejuvenate after their experience.

I have no way of know what kind of operator Buyatimeshare.com is, but the website includes testimonials from customers, plus a number of logos from reputable organizations meant to put your mind at ease; a Chamber of Commerce logo, a Rotary logo, logos from the Canadian and American Resort Development Associations., and more

Having taken those credibility-boosting measures, cause marketing is one of the few promotional vehicles left to Buyatimeshare.com.

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

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…

Cause-Related Marketing Meets Microfinance

Kiva.org and Advanta.com Mix it Up

You’d have had to have been in Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia the last year or so to have missed the run up of microfinance. Between 2004 and 2006 more than $4 billion of capital flowed into microfinance institutions. All told experts say the total loan microfinance loan portfolio may be as much as $12.5 billion. And of course the father of microfinance, Muhammad Yunus won the 2006 Nobel Peace Prize. Microfinance is now so respectable, so effective, (so profitable!) that it’s already enjoying its first global backlash.

Actually that first sentence is hyperbole. Because even in Ulaanbaatar… far from almost anywhere on the vast, frigid steppes of Mongolia… microfinance is thriving such that the earliest recipients of micro loans there are now complaining about taxes and government bureaucracy! And May 29-31, 2008 the Conference of Microfinance Institutions will convene in Ulaanbaatar, the eleventh such annual conference.
Now Advanta, a credit card issuer to small…

Cause Marketing Beer with BOGO, Brew One Give One

On Monday’s post I touched on the topic of telling people what your cause marketing campaign accomplished when completed. I’ve recommended this approach to clients as a way to keep open the lines of communication with customers and clients and to get extra value from the campaign.

In other words, you’ll want to hold back some of the promotion’s budget to continue to activate the effort until the very end.

But what if that really cuts across the grain in your organization? What if it’s just not in your corporate DNA to do anything but to frontload your cause marketing activation? Well, then, add the report back to the activation of your next cause marketing effort.

New Belgium Brewing of Ft. Collins, Colorado, said to be the seventh largest brewery in the United States, did just that with this ad in Sunset magazine. I found this ad in the Alden Keene Cause Marketing Database.

New Belgium donates $1 for every barrel it brews and sells. It’s a BOGO cause marketing effort, Buy One Give One. …