As usual, Joe Waters of SelfishGiving.com has zeroed in on the crux of cause marketing and targeted our attention on what matters most. His recent post
“Want to be More Successful? Stop Focusing on Cause Marketing” is a must read for any cause-minded marketers.
His bottom line is that technology is not a magic bullet for cause marketing. Just making it easier to get resources from consumers to nonprofits won’t necessarily result in lasting social impact and miracle bottom line results. This insight is reminiscent of the often overlooked reality that social media is not a marketing strategy; rather it constitutes a set of tools to engage people on marketing content. Technology and tools can only enhance the heart and soul of your cause marketing initiative, it can’t be the heart and soul – unless you’re a robot! You have to do the hard work to create something of value, then technology can help you unleash it.
As Joe asserts, “We need to set aside our tools and focus on what will truly build our success. Only then can we choose the right tool for the work ahead.”
Here are five ways (summarized from SelfishGiving.com) to help us all focus on the important stuff:
1. Start with what you know – your business – and keep those basics top of mind. Cause marketing should reaffirm your core business, not lead you into uncharted territory. Do what you do best, just with a cause-related element.
2. Make your brand central to your work. If the brand doesn’t stand on its own, a cause marketing effort won’t prop it up, and could even look like ‘green/pink/white-washing’
3. Analyze your assets and what value you have to offer a cause partnership or campaign. Then focus on translating that to lasting impact for the business and the cause.
4. Set measurable and tangible goals so you know you’re on the right track. And these should be relevant regardless of what technology you have at your disposal.
5. Design the partnership or campaign with storytelling in mind. Cause marketing provides an opportunity to enhance customer relationships around collectively doing good. The halo effect for your brand and warm fuzzy helper’s high for your customers results from an emotional connection to achieving the social impact goal. The emotional connection requires good storytelling.