Marketing for a social cause

by Sonja van den Bosch

Marketing for a social cause

This article is written by Jo Pan, one of our passionate marketing consultants. When people find out I’m a “marketer”, I often get a variety of these responses “Oh, you look after the warm and fuzzy”, “Isn’t that all fluff”, “You didn’t pass accounting right?”. Well, in answer to that I do actually understand the difference between a debit and a credit (I did pass Accounting 101), and … marketing isn’t just all about “fluff”.
Yep that’s right. There seems to be a generalised (and misconceived) view that marketing is predatory, out to get consumers to buy into a need they create (that’s advertising fluff). The core of marketing is pretty simple really – to communicate the value of a service or brand in a meaningful and inspiring way to cultivate a long-term positive relationship between the service and the customer. This is the sort of marketing we promote at Twinlife Marketing, where we are true to our values of being truthful, practical and inspirational.
This honest and practical marketing has gained a lot of traction and support in the paradigm of “cause marketing” which refers to any type of marketing effort for social and other charitable causes. (Refer for more information).

My personal experience
SpooniesWhat better way to explain this take shape than from my personal experience as an observer of this marketing, and as a participant in the social cause. Earlier this year, my three children and I decided to go for a challenge and TRY our first triathlon. We had done running events together, but this time it meant getting wet, getting on a bike and then run! We took part in the annual “Triathlon Pink” event which is an event run in various Australian States to create awareness and raise funds to support breast cancer education, research and advocacy. As “Team Spoonies”, the kids participated in the kids event and I participated in one of the women’s events.

Marketing in Action
Wow, how impressed was I (even as a marketer) at how streamlined and easy it was to ‘promote’ our participation in the event, share our training updates with our social community, and set-up an online donation page. All at the click of a button, with some creativity and inspiration in the mix. I also used my email marketing skills to create e-news updates and link these through to my online donation page.

What I learnt as a Marketer
triathlon pinkThere are so many creative and relevant ways to stay connected and communicate with a community of supporters and with fellow participants, all via social media. The voice of one linked to the voice of a community is power to infinity. This shows the power of viral campaigns (all through a comment or ‘like’ on a Facebook post), and the vast reach of social networks. Marketing for a social cause and raising money for a charity strikes a chord with many people in the community because of the social responsibility aspect. People often donate to a cause they feel is relevant, and it gives them a sense of ‘participation’ even if they aren’t the ones swimming, riding and running.

What I learnt as a Participant
Joanne Pan1Dear friends and loved ones that have, or had breast cancer, or a form of cancer were my inspiration (as well as the personal challenge). Taking part in a charity event was so much more meaningful when I received personalised encouragement emails and snail mail notes to “Team Spoonies”, sponsored T-shirts and a hand-written Thank You card from the National Breast Cancer Foundation representative. I was so pleased they didn’t treat me just as number “907”, but addressed me as a person and appreciated my efforts.

What I learnt as a Mum
My kids rock! I was so proud that they all gave it a go and most of all had fun.
Team Spoonies were TrIumphant in Pink. We raised $1,271 to support the charity of our choice – the National Breast Cancer Foundation, and we all crossed the finishing line with a huge smile. It was a fun and meaningful event, all for a social cause. So I must say to marketing critics … marketing isn’t about fluff. Used in a truthful, practical and inspirational way, it can create awareness towards social causes and charity events. Your social network and broader community aren’t ‘lured’ into buying any product or created need, instead in the case of our Triathlon Pink event, cause marketing stirred the hearts of our friends and supporters to be generous and in a simple yet meaningful way … also be part of the social cause.
Plain and simple.
Btw, in case you’re wondering “Spoonies” = S.Poon (my husband … it has just become our family nickname).
By Joanne Pan (Poon)

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Inspirational marketing is about being true to yourself, being aligned with your core values and doing something you truly believe in and are passionate about. It is about creating meaningful relationships with everyone you encounter. It is about thoughts from the heart.

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