Cause marketing for retailers -- Part II
Kelly Sharp is the owner of Heart of Iowa Market Place
In my last blog, I outlined some important do's and don'ts for retailers to follow when doing cause marketing for a charity organization or social issue.
One important aspect to define upfront is that any cause marketing is a partnership. Not only does the cause need to fit with your particular business in some way or another, but the charity has to be ready, willing and able to really get behind your efforts. If you're doing all the work and they're not promoting it, what you're doing isn't going to be nearly as successful as it could or should be. It may not be successful at all. Don't be shy about asking how the cause is going to support your efforts.
Elaborating on a point I made in my last post, it's very important to give yourself plenty of lead time. That's especially true if you're a new retailer.
That last thing you want to do is let your enthusiasm for a cause or pressure from its supporters stampede you into throwing together a haphazard campaign in a matter of days or weeks. At best, you'll end up harried and frazzled. At worst, the effort will be a complete bust that won't do you or the charity any good.
While it will differ from cause to cause, you need to give yourself a lot of time to develop news releases and marketing materials, identify the right products and pricing, and prepare your sales staff for the big event.
Cause marketing, which is often tied to a particular event like Heart Month in February or Breast Cancer Awareness Month in October, also can be an ongoing activity. We're exploring the idea of publishing a cookbook that will be sold year-round with proceeds to go to the appropriate cause or causes.
Finally, whenever we've promoted a cause at the Heart of Iowa Market Place, I've always taken the time to analyze the campaign at its conclusion. And, you should, too. Be sure to ask yourself: Was it a success for the charity? Was it a smart use of our time and marketing resources? What can we do to make a follow-up campaign better? And, finally, should we really do it again in the future?