Applying Location-Based Marketing to Cause Marketing

The leading location-based marketing tools, Foursquare, Places give businesses the option to offer rewards and incentives to people who check in. The cause marketing version of an offer is for a business to reward a check-in with a donation to a cause. It’s action-triggered donation on your smartphone!

Here are a few ways location-based marketing can become location-based cause marketing.

All the location-based services of choice give businesses the option to offer rewards and incentives to their customers for checking in. The cause marketing version of an offer is for a business to make a donation to a cause specified by the business.

Cause Marketing Badges

The American Red Cross was the first major cause to launch a Foursquare badge. Users can earn the badge, shown in the following illustration, by donating blood.

Badges are generally not easy for smaller nonprofits and companies to get. Services like Foursquare appear to be focusing on well-known brands that will resonate with their user base. Badges also aren’t free. They can cost thousands of dollars.

While a badge is probably not in your immediate future, it is something to aspire to. A badge says something about your organization and digital prowess that others will note. Being a leading brand that can earn a badge and knows its value as a symbol of LBM prowess is a cause or company you want to be.

The good news is that even if your aspirations are much more modest, getting a badge should become easier and more affordable as location-based services mature. But by then the bloom will be off. Wouldn’t you rather be one of those cool early-adopters that everyone remembers?

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Cause Marketing Offers

When LBS users check in to a business, they’re informed that a donation has been made to a cause.

When Facebook users in and around Austin, Texas, checked in to outdoor gear retailer REI via Facebook Places, between $1 and $50 dollars was donated to the Hill County Conservancy, a nonprofit land trust that works with land owners, attorneys, and government to set up conservation easements (see 10-6).

REI reported over 1,400 check-ins that raised $8,191 for the conservancy.

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One of the more creative cause marketing partnerships was a New Year’s promotion in Times Square between teen clothing retailer American Eagle and SCVNGR that benefited Big Brother Big Sister.

To raise money for the nonprofit, users were asked to complete a series of challenges, including sharing their 2011 resolutions. For each challenge completed, American Eagle donated $5 to Big Brother Big Sister, which SCVNGR matched for a total donation of $10 to Big Brother Big Sister.

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