Most all of us know about Cause Marketing. Doing good, and connecting the client with the beneficial efforts on behalf of the well-meaning cause. Admirable, and worthwhile. Often delivering results for both the cause and the client.
A new term (at least to me) is “Marketing as Service” or "Marketing with Meaning" — providing a useful service to the public/prospect/customer as a element of the marketing effort. There have always been some fabulous “promotions” that are directly tied to the marketers product. This is going a step further — Actually being USEFUL to the audience. Instead of promoting a product, buying media time and space to advertise, holding a special event with sponsorships, this is about giving directly to the audience something of value to them and adhering the marketer’s brand to this value. There are a number of great examples that should give you a starting point in considering this opportunity for your clients. This could be a great leveraging vehicle in drawing you closer to your client, beyond the commodity ad work we all perform. (Now, I know you don’t look as your work as a commodity. So, don’t go crazy over my lumping you in with the rest of the ad agencies. But ….)
To give you a better idea of what this “Marketing as Service” is, there is a short article in this week’s Ad Age by Jonah Bloom that is worth reading. Here is the link: Make Your Marketing Useful, Like Samsung and Charmin: Take a Small Chunk Out of Those Billion-Dollar Budgets and Help Provide a Free, Helpful Service . In the article, Jonah mentions Drew Neisser, CEO of Renegade Marketing, who writes a blog called: thedrewblog.com His blog has more examples and points of view about the value of this tool. It is definitely worth clicking over to this to read the blog entries.
And for additional food for thought, here is a link to a page on The CMO Club.com, which has more examples, including an imbedded YouTube video of the Charmin Public toilets in New York’s Time Square.
Yet another example I can think of here in Boston. The Beth Israel Hospital (BIDMC) created a Branded “BIDMC First Aid Station” within Fenway Park, the Baseball Stadium for the Boston Red Sox. A free service to all those attending games. It is staffed by nurses and doctors from the hospital. The station and location in the park are mentioned during every game, at the stadium and during each broadcast. I know this part is fee-based media, but at a discount. The hospital is using its core capabilities, exposing the public to there expertise, providing it free, and getting their brand associated with "helping" people. The competition for healthcare providers in Boston is out of control, so here is a way to separate from the others.
Take a look. Think about how you may be able to develop worthwhile services that your clients can provide. Then bring them to reality. I am sure you can come up with successful ideas for your clients that can be of service to their customers.
If you know of other great examples, share them. If you have success stories of your own, please let us all know. If you have an opinion, please share it.