Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Done right, doing what's right always turns out right

My AdAge cause marketing article and twitterati that helped promote it.

I recently had the honor of writing an article for the advertising and marketing industries' leading publication, AdAge. In A Pause to Reflect on Cause Marketing I discuss the state of this relatively new marketing discipline and offer my opinions on some of its accomplishments and struggles as it continues to evolve. To be clear, I'm a huge advocate for cause marketing and am passionate about raising the awareness level of it as a tool plus increasing the sophistication level when it's applied.

If you haven't already, you can read the article on the AdAge website here.

What I'm particularly proud of is how the cause marketing twitterverse rallied together to help spread the word through re-tweets, blogs, and posting comments – from Joe Waters (@joewaters), Lee Fox (@koodooz), Gennefer Snowfield (@gennefer), Joey Leslie (@jleslie), Steve Drake (@causeaholic), Michael Hoffman (@michael_hoffman) , Holt Murray (@holtmurray), Sarah Kerkian (@sarahkerkian), Angie Eikenberry (@aeikenberry) David Hessekiel (@davecause), Paul Jones (@PaulRJones) and many more. Thanks guys for helping promote the power of cause among fellow marketers and others who may be unaware or skeptical of its strategic merits. And if you're someone interested or involved in any field of cause related marketing, non-profit marketing, social entrepreneurism or philanthropy you should be following them.

The article received the most comments ever (22 as of this posting) for the AdAge GoodWorks section, and from a range of marketers including those from non-profits, traditional agencies, cause-specific agencies, digital agencies, and for-profit brands including Bob Thacker, CMO OfficeMax, and Chris Mann from New Balance.

Best of all, we demonstrated that there's an engaged readership for cause marketing and I've been invited back to write another article. So with this platform available, if you have a specific topic or area to suggest I'd love to hear from you. And thanks again to all.

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

In defense of Cause Marketing

If you haven’t read or responded yet, check-out the great dialogue and debate at Joe Water’s Selfish Giving cause marketing blog around his post “Defending Cause Marketing.” Joe, the Director of Cause Marketing for non-profit Boston Medical Center and a noted cause marketer, takes on a provocative article from Professor Angela Eikenberry for the Stanford Social Innovation Review entitled The Hidden Costs of Cause Marketing and argues that cause marketing is merely “consumption philanthropy.”

I love three things about this debate: 1. that Professor Eikenberry wasn’t afraid to take a stand; 2. that there’s an ardent army of cause marketing supporters that were quick to disagree and debunk some of the opinions cited; 3. most of all that Eikenberry continued a dialogue with all of us.

You can view my contribution to the debate here but my main argument was around the insinuation that cause marketing cannibalizes philanthropy or charity. This goes against all we know about American human nature. Companies and individuals will either do both cause marketing and philanthropy/charity – or just cause marketing because there’s something in return (incremental sales, brand halo, product or service bought). But these are not competing for the same share of "giving wallet." Said another way, typically cause marketing is not chosen over philanthropy, it’s chosen as the only way people or brands want or can participate in social change. And isn't that better than nothing? Let us know what you think by commenting here or on Joe's blog.