Foursquare and CauseWorld Lead to Better Cause Marketing–with Joe Waters

It’s a no-brainer to decide to run a cause marketing program. There’s ample evidence that (1) consumers choose products aligned with a cause, (2) employees and brand benefit from socially driven programs and (3) causes can use the help. But there are important considerations when deciding what type of program best suites your business, how to get it off the ground and what to expect. In this last segment on cause marketing with Joe Waters, we talk about measuring the success of a campaign and using location-based social media tools to build cause marketing programs that bring together consumer, cause and company to inspire an action.

Those of you who have been following this series with Joe have a better understanding of what cause marketing is and a menu of tactics to choose from. Joe is the Director of Cause Marketing for Boston Medical Center and blogs at Selfish Giving.

Listen to our conversation (about 35 minutes). As usual, I’ve highlighted some points below. To download instead, right-click and save or listen by clicking the player below.


Measuring Your Campaign

(Elaine Cohen also offers important insight into why and how to measure your company’s social impact.)

  • Basic campaign metrics for non-profits are dollars-raised and visibility/promotion (how well the program was promoted through cause marketing tactics, such as pin-ups). For-profits look at whether the program drives sales and enhances favorability and brand.
  • Joe talks about BMC’s point-of-sale programs with Staples and the data that Staples collected, which allowed the company to see that for its $40,000 investment in the program ($5 coupons) it took in more than $400,000 in additional sales and drew customers who had received the coupon from other retailers. Specifically, Staples looked at what the redemption rate was, where customers bought the coupon and what purchases they made that were triggered by the coupon.
  • It’s important that your company works with its for-profit partner to collect data from customers via surveys or  questionnaires to provide information about the successes and drivers of the program.
  • Take the time to evaluate the data you’ve collected from a campaign or event and understand what worked and what didn’t. Did you reach the visibility you were aiming for? Did you meet your revenue goals? Do you have more repeat customers or a spike in favorability? Was the program seen as a natural fit for your company? Is the campaign costing you more than it needs to? Could you use different materials that cost less to produce or distribute, for example.

Location-based Services

  • Quick background: Location-based services (like Foursquare, CauseWorld, Gowalla or Google Latitude) on mobile devices allow you to virtually check-in to a retail or public location and earn points, status and coupons.  Because the check-in process happens when someone is physically at the business, she can see ads for services or products she’s interested in at the store she’s visiting and take immediate action.
  • Joe gives this example of how location-based services can be used for cause marketing: When you check in at your supermarket you get a pop-up for a product that donates 25 cents to the American Red Cross and gives you 5%off your total purchase if you buy it today. “That’s the type of connection that these types of cause-related programs can have with social media. Just as [location-based applications] can drive consumer purchases, they can drive giving,” says Joe.
  • A benefit to companies and non-profits using location-based services, is that point-of-sale campaigns aren’t reliant on cashiers, which demands more oversight, training and time from employees and leads to less consistent consumer contributions.
  • Businesses and non-profits can use Foursquare, for example, in its current state to start promoting their cause and enhancing their cause marketing programs. Joe and his team have committed to incorporating location-based tools for all future point-of-sale programs.
  • Location-bases services work best in bigger cities where there are participating businesses and a large user-base.
  • Joe believes that Foursquare or CauseWorld are more compelling tools than Facebook Causes (and I agree, because they are action-oriented and opportunity-focused rather than only promotional. Additionally, they are a platform to engage consumers, companies and causes around a particular cause or product.).
  • Read more from Joe on using Foursquare and CauseWorld on SelfishGiving.

The audio quality of this conversation is unfortunately quite bad. I’m working to upgrade my internet connection to bring you more audible interviews. Thanks for your support in the meantime.

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