Cause Marketing Gone Stale - dummies

By Joe Waters, Joanna MacDonald

Some people don’t always get the hint that their cause marketing efforts have gone stale; gone for too long. Here are ten signals to watch for.

  1. When you visit a partner’s store, you see large stacks of pinups at the register, but no effort from cashiers to sell them.

  2. Employees take out a restraining order on you so that you can’t come within 25 feet of their store.

  3. Stores are relocating and not notifying you.

  4. Employees start complaining that previous programs with other charities didn’t last so long.

  5. Managers start complaining to the corporate office that they should choose a different program next year.

  6. Stores aren’t requesting any new supplies, and donations have slowed to a trickle.

  7. Employees know your secret shoppers too well and use their visit to convince them to end the program and “stop the madness!”

  8. Instead of asking customers to donate $1 for your cause, the cashier takes the time to tell customers how annoying the program is.

  9. All the pinups that had previously been hung on the walls and strung along the ceiling are gone. There’s no evidence the program ever existed.

  10. You arrive at a partnering store, and employees and customers are stoking a large bonfire of pinups. (Suggestion: Stay in the car!)

Knowing when to stop a cause marketing program is similar to when Hemingway suggested you stop writing.

“I learned never to empty the well of my writing, but always to stop when there was still something there in the deep part of the well, and let it refill at night from the springs that fed it.”

The same is true of cause marketing. If you leave your partner’s employees with a good feeling about the program instead of feeling used and drained, you’ll have happier, more receptive employees for the next program.