Tuesday, February 24, 2009

What is “Societal Marketing?” (the birth of a blog)

There are a lot of terms floating around out there when companies refer to doing something good. So, to explain Societal Marketing, let’s first discuss what it’s not.

It’s not Corporate Sustainability, which is: “the practice of a company to lower its operational impact on the earth.”

It’s not Green Marketing: “the incorporation of earth-friendly benefits in a marketing program,” although Green Marketing is certainly one form of Societal Marketing.

Rather, Societal Marketing is the incorporation of a charitable end into a marketing program, be it a Green cause, an educational cause, a disaster relief cause, a hunger cause, etc.

But Societal Marketing is not Social Marketing (aka, Cause Marketing). The difference is, Societal Marketing has a goal of increasing product sales, not simply altruism. (Wikipedia has some nice definitions.)

I call it “Marketing + Good,” since Societal Marketing starts with the same goal as any marketing effort, but adds the benefit of making the world a better place. That combination is becoming more powerful than ever, resonating with today’s well-intended, globally-aware consumer. In fact, it’s often a more powerful driver of consumer decisions than price. People are willing to pay a fraction more for the feeling that their purchase will help a cause they care about. Societal Marketing leverages the emotional power of Cause Marketing on behalf of a consumer brand.

In my humble opinion, if a Societal Marketing campaign is structured well, success is three-fold. One is sales. Two, it makes the world a better place. And three, it creates brand loyalty by aligning values with the customer.

In these pages, I hope to showcase some great “Marketing+Good” work being done currently by leading agencies and brands. (And since I come from the creative side, I’ll definitely speak up – or not post – if it sucks.) By all means, send me campaigns you think fit the bill. I'm reading: What is “Societal Marketing?” (the birth of a blog)Tweet this!

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