One option? Cause marketing.
Cause marketing is not about selling. It’s about building a relationship with your potential consumers and reminding your current ones that their loyalty is earned. It involves underwriting a public service campaign or supporting a non-profit, truly getting behind it and spending money to elevate the cause. Over the years, we have had the privilege of creating, improving and executing these campaigns.
This summer Fulton Homes engaged in fourteen different campaigns. They include 2 Seconds is 2 Long, Pets & Vets, Cause for Paws and they all got major television coverage with Fulton Homes’ name and representative in almost every story..
There are five steps in creating a cause marketing campaign.
1. Define what your consumer cares about.
This can be done through psychographic research with tools, such as Scarborough, focus groups and by one on one conversations with individual consumers. For instance, several years ago, we helped Entravision Radio develop a cause marketing campaign, Construyendo Futuras. We were going after the Hispanic consumer and learned a core concern was graduation rates. Through research we found out that students were often at the crossroads in middle school. Therefore, we developed a scholarship program for middle schools where students could earn a $10,000 college scholarship.
2. Score media coverage by deploying a public relations initiative.
This involves a three step process, which can often be handled by a company or a contractor. Write a press release with the facts. Include all the pertinent details.
Create a media list and send it out to TV assignment desks, newspapers and online/offline publications. The value of a :60 segment on TV right now is over $15,000. This calculation is created by taking the cost of media time and multiplying it by three because it’s a third party endorsement. Once it does run on TV, it is possible to buy the news segment and then you can easily add it to social media, your website and email newsletters for the modest cost of $100 per segment.
3. Choose a media partner to multiply exposure.
While you could do a cause marketing campaign without one, a media partner- like a radio or television statement- will give it far more exposure.When we negotiate with our media representatives, we strive for a three to one ratio and usually get it. This means that a radio station should give three times the value to every dollar spent on cause marketing. This is a true partnership, after all. We are bringing the PR value to their door. We are bringing a client that might never buy standard airtime. We also help with naming the promotion and filling in the details.Also pay close attention to the demographics of the station. It must align with the demographics of your business. Look at radio station rankers, ratings performance and analyze the dayparts that have the most potential in reaching your consumers.
4. Never leave the cause marketing promotion on auto pilot.
Radio stations are often owned by big corporations. Recently, many have reduced or eliminated their promotions departments. This means the details are handled by the person who sold the campaign.We had to manage a recent situation where the representative changed the entire nature of the promotion. It was caught immediately and rectified. There was another time that a local station wasn’t able to fulfill a pool fence giveaway. We promptly moved the promotion to another station.One of our essential non-negotiables is that once a promotion is agreed upon, whatever is committed to, must be upheld. We keep our commitment to pay the agreed upon price. We demand the same from our media partners.
5. Do a post mortem review.
Review all the details.
- What worked?
- What didn’t?
- How much news coverage had been gathered?
- Look at analytics like how many people participated.
For instance, we did a public service campaign reminding people not to leave children or pets in their cars during the summer heat. As part of the campaign, people registered to win a free app that issues reminders to check the seat. Over 15,000 entered to win the giveaway. That is a sign of significant interest.
A cause marketing campaign can reap many benefits- some even measurable. Others strike a chord with your consumer and you will hear about it. Either way, you can feel good about making a difference while boosting your brand.
About the author: Rosaria Cain is CEO of Knoodle, a marketing firm. While she oversees all company operations, she handles cause marketing promotions personally. She has taught marketing, is former president of the National Association of Women Business Owners and consults with businesses on the viability of cause marketing and other strategies.