Point of Sale as a Cause Marketing Tactic - dummies

Point of Sale as a Cause Marketing Tactic

By Joe Waters, Joanna MacDonald

Point-of-sale (POS) cause marketing is when the consumer is asked to donate a dollar or two to a cause at the point of checkout. Because these transactions often happen at a checkout register, they’re sometimes called register programs.

POS is one of the most common forms of cause marketing, and a favorite, with good reason:

  • POS is lucrative. Some of the most successful cause marketing campaigns through the years have been point-of-sale. Cause marketing programs, such as the Thanks and Giving campaign for St. Jude’s Children’s Research Hospital, Miracle Balloons for Children’s Miracle Network, and Shamrocks for Muscular Dystrophy Association, raise millions at the register.

    Locally, hundreds of thousands of dollars was raised with POS working with retailers with 9 to 100 locations in New England. POS should be the cornerstone of any local cause marketing program.

  • POS is cost effective. Point-of-sale programs frequently use pinups — sometimes called paper icons, mobiles, paper plaques, or scannables — that are sold at the register, signed by the shopper, and hung at the store as a sign of the shopper’s and the store’s support for the cause. Pinups are inexpensive to produce. Some campaigns use the credit card terminals at the register, which eliminates the printing expense and the inevitable waste of pinups all together.

    A pinup for the Boston Medical Center.
    This pinup only cost 5 cents to produce.
    Credit card display that Williams-Sonoma used to promote donations to St. Jude Children’s
    This credit card display allows shoppers at Williams-Sonoma stores to donate to St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital when they use their credit or debit card, as part of the St. Jude Thanks and Giving campaign.
  • POS is easy to execute. Every fundraiser or marketing program requires work, but POS requires less than most. Once you sign a partner on to a program, you design a pinup, have it printed, deliver them to stores, train employees on how to sell them, wait a few weeks, and pick up your check.

    While you could add a few more steps to what was just outlined, you probably couldn’t compress the duties of your last fundraiser into such a short list.

  • POS plays well with others. This is perhaps the most compelling aspect of POS. You can add it to whatever fundraiser you’re working on. Planning a walk? Recruit POS partners instead of traditional sponsors. Need a campaign to integrate well with social media channels, such as Twitter, Facebook, or Foursquare? POS is the perfect vehicle because it’s flexible and promotional.

  • POS is a sales driver. It’s a great way to drum up business for partners as it engages the shopper at the register when she has her wallet out and is interested in saving money. Tactics such as comarketing with coupons can attract new shoppers and increase sales. And what business isn’t interested in more business?