How to Get People to Join Your Cause or Brand

Social Cause MarketingThere’s an old saying in cause marketing which is, “People don’t join causes, people join people with causes.”

That is, if you’re a good friend of mine, and if I’m stricken with cancer and involved with one the American Cancer Society’s initiatives such as Relay for Life, chances are you will be more in tune with ACS messages and offer to help (donate money and/or time).

The same goes for Brand marketing these days too – more and more people are joining Brands which are in tune with their causes!

Brand marketing is taking on a whole new meaning which is simply put, “marketing with meaning.”

In this 24/7 age of corporate misconduct (AIG, Wall Street, Enron, BP) and citizen journalism, it’s an absolute “greens fee” for companies to make more meaning by being good corporate citizens and doing more (See Philip Kotler’s Values Based Marketing Model) for their employees and customers.

The chart above is from Ann Marie Kerwin’s article in today’s Advertising Age, How to Get the Social-Media Generation Behind Your Cause which outlines some key steps and  which also links to TBWA Chiat Day’s Eliza Esquivel’s Social Activism 2.0 whitepaper – good stuff.

Marketing with real meaning and brands that truly stand for something other than self serving profits will survive and thrive in the next decade and beyond. Those that don’t won’t be as profitable and/or won’t survive.

Here’s an example of great cause marketing by one of my client’s the Priory Hospitality Group and their announcement of a free Winter White Wedding for a veteran of the Afghan Iraqi war who’s from southwestern Pennsylvania.

See the video interview of The Priory Hotel’s John Graf here from KDKA TV’s Pittsburgh Today Live – we’d appreciate it if you pass the information along to a western, PA veteran.

Now in its 3rd year, the Priory’s generosity has been joined by several other area brands. One of the major reasons why the Priory’s business keeps growing is because they are genuine, caring community partners and employers.

Follow their example for success and make your little patch of the world a better place and watch your business grow too!

I haven’t been to a BP gas station since the Gulf Oil Spill and don’t plan on visiting one in the future. How about you?

Note: Super good book by Bob Gilbreath, The Next Evolution of Marketing: Connect with Your Customers by Marketing with Meaning.


A Renaissance in Marketing is Needed

A Renaissance in Marketing is needed today..a rebirth!

When the Renaissance swept through Europe from the 14th to the 17th centuries, scholars followed the humanist method in study searching for realism and human emotion in art. And, today we marketers could learn a great deal from those old Renaissance scholars.

It seems like we’re on to something with Social Media – and I remain cautiously optimistic – but, where are all of the Masters today?

If you’re looking for a chance of great success, wow about stepping up and assuming the position?

My team and I are trying our best.

To succeed today (and be able to sleep peacefully at night), Marketers need to work harder in our field of art and embrace ethical and meaningful marketing communications and public relations. We need to create brand stories with integrity, character, authenticity, transparency, guts, and real value with flawless execution – net – we and our clients need to be walking our talk.

I’ve had the privilege of meeting some Renaissance Marketing & PR Masters such as Harold Burson, Aaron Cushman, Bob Dilenschneider and Al Golin and I have studied the works of Marketing and PR Master Strategist Al Ries and several more, and sadly it seems to me that there’s a lack of “people coming off the bench” and/or on deck ready to take their place.

It seems to me that there’s a lack of breakthrough effort, hard work, enthusiasm, guts, class and grace these days in marketing and in lots of professions too.  It’s sad.

For years, I’ve been a big fan of Edelman PR’s success and I love their whole ethical approach to business and look forward to their annual Trust Barometer.

There’s a good reason why Edelman PR rocks and why they’re the Mac Daddy of PR firms today and the biggest independent in the world. It’s the legacy of Dan Edelman.

Dad Dan Edelman rocks – still at 90!

And, he’s left a great legacy with his kids who lead the firm today. Check out this this link to an Ad Age Article about Edleman and his video interview with Rance Crain below – love the comment about enthusiasm and focus.

I can “smell” through the video that at 90, this guy would have my back, has a ton of integrity and class and would do everything it takes (in an ethical manner) to drive my business forward.  And, he’d be honest with me and nicely “call my baby ugly” and give me solid recommendations to improve my baby’s looks.

Can you smell it too?

Work on being a Marketing Renaissance Master…we need you!


Trusted Word of Mouth Packs 50X More Punch

…than lower level recommendations and these trusted sources are typically friends or family members., reports McKinsey.

Three key telegrams from McKinsey’s word of mouth report are that WOM recommendations drive 20% to 50% of all purchases; influentials  make up about 9% of the population and drive about 3X more WOM; and, the payout of pursuing WOM excellence is enormous, delivering a huge competitive edge over other strategies such as advertising which is a distant second!

Now, I’m sure you believe WOM is a powerful tool, but these staggering numbers should put your marketing team on high alert to devise a strong WOM marketing system.

To help you along, check out McKinsey’s Word of Mouth report here: McKinsey_Word_of_Mouth. And, check out more about WOM from WARC.


Marketing 3.0 – Kotler’s New Values Based Model

Since graduating from college, I voraciously read a new marketing book every 10 days and in my library you’ll find several books by the father of modern day marketing Philip Kotler.

What I love about the guy is that even though his book Marketing Management: Analysis, Planning, Implementation and Control, 13th ed., is the most widely used marketing book in graduate business schools worldwide he never rests on his success and still innovates and tinkers with his marketing theories and models of how marketing works.

I’m a big Philp Kotler fan.

Now, here comes Kotler again with his latest creation (co-written with Hermawan Kartajaya), Marketing 3.0: From Products to Customers to the Human Spirit.

The central theme of the book is based on the simple values-based (not value) matrix above which demonstrates how marketing today has shifted from Product-Centric (Rational Marketing – 1.0 era – e.g., Volvo = safety), to Customer-Centric (Emotional Marketing – 2.0 era) to today’s Human-Centric (Spiritual Marketing – 3.0 era ).

Marketing 1.0 and 2.0 were about how a brands products and services would serve its customers.  Marketing 3.0 is about how a Brand connect with the human spirit of its customers who desire that they assume their fair share of social responsibility for issues that concern everyone (e.g., environment, hunger, poverty, human rights, health and well being etc.).

Brands that behave and conduct themselves properly with regard to the environment, general community at large and create real meaningful demonstrable value that aligns with the social good will be welcome and respected.  The media will promote caring companies which will influence buying behaviors.

Kotler posits that most marketers are stuck in the past. His new model for marketing treats customers not just as consumers, but as complex, multi-dimensional human beings – customers with complex human spirits who are active, engaged, anxious, informed, creative and have the ability to easily connect with others.

Marketing 3.0 addresses the complexity of the human spirit and S.C. Johnson is just one of the many brands Kotler cites as those who are creating products, services, and company cultures that lead, inspire, and reflect the values of their customers.

This recently released book is on my shopping list. I sure wish brands like BP will read it and embrace its philosophy – make sure you do!


Give the Finger Test to Your Work

A guy rushes into a hospital’s emergency room with blood gushing out of an artery and close to death.

A surgeon on call is immediately summoned and after taking a minute or two, puts his finger on the gusher, sews the guy up in 10 minutes and the patient is good as new.

A few days pass and the guy gets a bill for $25,000 for the 10 minute job. He’s ticked.

He rushes back into the hospital demanding to see the surgeon and they meet.

He says, “Doc…$25,000 for 10 minutes of work (e.g., $150,000 an hour rate) and for a few stitches and a Band-Aid?

“Whoa,” the Doc says, “Let me see that bill.”

“Sorry, we should have been more clear on your bill,” says the Doc. “It should been broken down as $2.00 for the thread, needle and Band-Aid and $24,998 for knowing where to quickly put my finger to save your life!”

Telegram: Next time you’re thinking about justifying your hourly rate, give your work the finger test. No one’s hourly rate is the same especially if there’s no clear substitute for you and your one-of-a-kind work!


Erik Qualman’s Social Media Revolution Part Deux

I’m a big fan of Erik Qualman and his Social Media Blog Socialnomics.

He’s helped me and my clients a ton. He’s a smart guy – so smart that being a James Bond fan, I think I’ll call him “Q.”

Q’s Socialnomics the book is a great read too.

And, his outstanding Social Media Revolution video which hit YouTube last year generated about 2 million views.

If you haven’t seen SMR 1 don’t worry, check out Q’s new Social Media Revolution 2 video below which launched a few weeks ago and has been updated with more fascinating facts.

Next time someone tells you that Social Media is a fad, send them a link to Q’s video!

P.S.: The facts blaze by, so if you’re interested in Q’s key facts in text, click here.


How Do You Wow

In 20 days at noon, on July 2, 182½ days of the year will have elapsed and 182½ will remain before Jan 1, 2011.

Now is a great time to take a hard look at your marketing systems to see what’s working, what’s not working, what needs to be improved and what needs to scrapped.

That’s exactly what my team and I are doing.

Over the past few weeks, we’ve picked up a few significant pieces of business (believe me, I’m not complaining – we’re blessed) that have required us to more carefully analyze our systems and processes, clients, staffing, quality of work and more.

One of the “more” things we’re reviewing is what has led to our success and how we can refine our systems to not only do a better job for our brand, but also a better job for our clients.

It’s so easy to get caught up in busy work and daily tasks thinking you’re accomplishing things, but at the end of the day you find yourself majoring in minor things without focusing on game changing work along with better planning and performance based processes. Bottom line – you need to block out your time with high value activities!

Our fixed costs, staff and management hierarchy are low, small and flat by design, but with this sudden influx of new business we’re still working hard to clean up our act before considering adding new staff, equipment and even more business.

Here’s a list of our 20 questions to improve our business focus. The list is not necessarily in order and/or exhaustive, but all apply to People, Resources, Innovation, Marketing, Operations and Finance:

  1. How can we improve upon keeping our promises
  2. How do we make our company a more fun and enjoyable place to work
  3. How can we attract high quality people who are proud to work with us
  4. Does everyone have the tools and experience they need to be successful
  5. How do we make our unique selling proposition more unique, meaningful and easier to demonstrate and communicate
  6. How can we reduce costs without impacting our performance
  7. What kinds of clients/industries should we target
  8. What clients should we keep
  9. What clients should we fire
  10. What should be on our “to don’t” list
  11. What are the three key things we can do to improve our client’s business
  12. How can we speed up our efforts to quickly build our client’s business
  13. How can we more effectively surprise and delight our clients
  14. How do we create happier clients willing to provide glowing testimonials
  15. What products and services should we stop offering and/or improve upon
  16. What new products and services (or enhancements) should we be offering
  17. How can we improve cash flow, collections and profitablity
  18. What processes can we automate and systematize to improve performance
  19. How can we better measure every sales action, marketing channel and map every touch point to determine our cost per lead, sales potential and length to close
  20. What are we missing or failing to do with regard to people, resources, innovation, marketing, operations or finance to more profitably build a better business for ourselves and for our clients – what’s holding us back

So there you go – 20 questions to ask yourself over 20 days – one a day!

However, throughout your 20 day journey, here’s the thing to keep in mind.

Net – the big question we’re working on if you boil all 20 questions down into one is simply, “HOW DO WE WOW!”

We’re working on it and know it’s a marathon, not a sprint, but how do you wow?

I’m interested in knowing.