CAN MARKETING DOLLARS DO MORE GOOD IN 2016?
“Remember that time we spent millions on that adorable puppy in a bowtie to sell our new product and used the money we made from it to save those 10 thousand children in a slum in Kenya? ” – said no Marketer ever.
Marketing costs money, many times, A LOT of money. There’s a reason large companies are willing to shell out $5 Million for a 30 sec spot during the Super Bowl. It’s becoming a game of numbers, but at what cost?
Society is taking a significant shift where consumers – a majority being the coveted “millennial” – are demanding for better quality products and services that have a purpose. A recent millennial report by Deloitte showcased that 87% of millennials believe “the success of a business should be measured in terms of more than just its financial performance”. Large companies are starting to ride this wave and are using these large budgets to support a purpose they believe in, in hopes that it will resonate with these “do-gooders” and gain their desired ROI, so it makes sense to get on the boat and sail towards cause-supportive marketing.
But alas, my dear marketer. These millennials are a lot savvier than you think. This is what many are thinking…
See what’s going on here? There’s a push back on what that budget can really do and the impact that it should have. The interwebs went B-A-N-A-N-A-S recently when it was announced that “Colgate spent upward of $5 Million on a Super Bowl commercial….that is equivalent to 4.2 million gallons that could have theoretically gone to some of the 783 million people worldwide without access to clean water.”
With this kind of perspective we have to question, are we using marketing for good, or just marketing that makes us look good?
When used for good, in the right way, marketing can both achieve your business/marketing goals and be a platform to drive change.
That’s what we call good marketing! Think of it as making responsible business “chic” that influences the marketing landscape. So let’s put that money to work for some world saving, shall we?
Here are 3 easy steps to start on the right foot to do good marketing.
1. Define the impact you want your marketing campaign to have & make sure it makes sense
This step is crucial, so pay really close attention. Your desire for helping should be genuine and your marketing dollars need to be well spent, so the most important step is that your line of business and products, the cause you’re aiming to help, and your messaging all make sense together. KFC’s breast cancer campaign is a very good example of something you shouldn’t attempt to do. These kind of campaigns make no marketing or social sense, and will just get you a huge buuuurn!
Going back to the Colgate case, they were actually correct in choosing water conservation for their awareness campaign. It makes sense for them to address this issue as it is a key component to their company, i.e. brushing your teeth. The question is will that investment to raise awareness significantly impact the actual goal of conserving more water? Time will tell but we can still learn from the approach. Find a cause that is related to your campaign and question how you can support it sustainably.
Before taking action, think of this: if you are spending 5 million dollars, how much are you getting back for the cause you are supporting? What’s the impact of your campaign on your customers and on the campaigns’ beneficiaries? If this money was purposed in a different way, would it generate better marketing and impact results? If the answer to this last question is yes, then you should re-think your whole campaign.
2. Creativity + Commitment to the Cause = SUCCESS!
“I can’t do this, it all sounds so “greenwashy” in my head!”, you might be thinking, but it’s just a matter of putting your creative juices to work. Patagonia is a great example of a large company that uses their marketing to impact the environment and gets great ROI out of it. Exhibit A: their DON’T BUY THIS JACKET campaign.
On Black Friday 2011, they launched this brilliant campaign encouraging people NOT to buy their products, highlighting instead all the different ways to enjoy and renew their already owned Patagonia products. The outcome? They sold. A LOT. Like increased sales by ⅓ in the months that followed.
Although the campaign was controversial because of the fact that it made consumers buy more of their product, it also made a genuine statement on the fact that consumerism is hurting the planet and made their audience more conscious about the fact they should not buy what they don’t need. The consumers also got the clear message that, in the long run, they can just send back their Patagonia gear and the company will repair it sometimes even for free! That’s what we call commitment to the cause. All this on the notion that you can do good, be sustainable, and they, the beloved customers – will come to you.
We may not all be as large a company as Patagonia, but that doesn’t mean we can’t create activities that are sustainable and still bottom line friendly. Get creative! See how you can shape a fun campaign by including offline engaging activities (flashmob with solar powered strobe lights, anyone?)
3. Get EVERYONE involved!
This might be tricky, since not everyone in your organization might be the “let’s save the world with marketing” type of person. Not only that, but you might not have the internal capabilities our resources to support the whole Captain Planet Campaign thing. How can you make the most out of your campaign?
Here are some pointers:
- Create momentum. You might want to start with getting your coworkers excited about your campaign.Think about what moves them about working for your company, and how they might relate to the cause you want to support.
- Get other departments involved. They might need some convincing, but if you explain how this campaign might make their work better and easier by joining forces, you might create an even stronger more effective good marketing campaign. Having people internally to advocate for your new ideas always helps you move forward. You can include your CSR department if you have one, supply chain, operations, and if you have a great case for it, even the finance team.
- Get the captains onboard. To get your bosses involved make a very strong case on why a campaign like this makes sense. Sometimes bureaucracy can be the thing that stops you. Doing some research, sharing this article with them, getting some interviews from customers, and having numbers to support you might be some steps that will help you in the convincing process. It’s a little extra work but you’ll see it will all be worth it.
- Partner up! Find organizations that already support the cause that you want to help. It can be to do research or to actually take care of the social implementation part. They are the experts on that, you just need to give them a boost to create real impact with your campaign.
- Leverage your digital skills. You’re creating impact and you have a kick-ass creative campaign, but remember messaging and storytelling is key and will bring your campaign to the top if you know how to leverage it. Don’t make all your communication message about how great you are for helping all the people, the planet and the universe. Tell a story, engage people with the cause, share your experiences, make videos and use metrics. This way you can get bloggers, organizations and consumers engaged and increase your impact to levels you never imagined.
All in all, the important thing is that you realize that there is much more value if you use your marketing powers for good. Go one step further and use good marketing to get everyone to win.
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PSSSST… Are you starting your good marketing campaign? Don’t forget social media is a must. Here are some good tips and tricks to get started on Facebook!