Forms of Cause Marketing: Point-of-Sale

Point-of-sale is a very common and effective form of cause marketing. When a consumer is solicited for a donation at checkout that is point-of-sale cause marketing. Point-of-sale can take on two forms:

  • Active cause marketing is when a cashier asks the consumer to donate to a cause. This type is one of the most effective forms of cause marketing because it’s direct (one-to-one and timely because the consumer literally has his wallet out) and personal (people give to people).

    For example, in the following illustration, this pinup — the name for icons like this one that are sold and usually displayed in businesses — is sold annually by servers at Chili’s Grill & Bar restaurants nationwide, benefiting St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital in Memphis, Tennessee.

    The pinup, also advertised as a coloring sheet during the brand’s Create-A-Pepper to Fight Childhood Cancer campaign, sells for as little as $1 (although there is the option to donate more, which is nice!), and sales have been hotter than a chili pepper! Since 2002, Chili’s has raised more than $35 million for St. Jude.

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  • Passive cause marketing: This, too, happens at the checkout, but signage or electronic displays do the asking. For example, an increasingly popular way to ask consumers to support a cause is to have the electronic terminal solicit a donation after the customer swipes their credit card for payment.

    Shoppers can choose to add a $1 or more to support a cause. Other times, you may see a sign with a code for the cashier to use when the customer requests to make a donation.

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Most active cause programs involve more than just the cashier asking shoppers to donate money. They usually (but not always) include some type of pinup that the shopper adds his name to and then it’s displayed somewhere in the store.

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