Can Low-Tech Cause Marketing Still Be High Impact?

Nary a day goes by when cause marketers don't talk about using Facebook Timeline, Pinterest, QR Codes or SMS for their campaigns, but that does not mean more traditional communications tactics are obsolete. Although no one can deny the power of a tech-savvy cause or nonprofit marketing campaign, it's still possible to have 2.0 results with 1.0 tactics.

Samusocial, a Romanian organization charged with providing care and medical aid to homeless people, has come up with a low-budget, low-tech but high-impact campaign. When the organization wanted to provide warm clothing to the homeless for the coming winter months, it looked no further than the local dry cleaner. A tag attached to each hanger asked customers to donate old clothing. They simply had to hang unwanted clothing on the hangers, return them to the cleaners with their next load of dry cleaning, and the nonprofit would take it from there. The highly effective campaign has already received 1 ton of clothing donations that will clothe nearly 5,000 homeless people with a total campaign cost of only 645 Euros.

One the other side of the world, Joe Waters, cause-marketing guru and Selfish Giving blogger, recently analyzed the inner workings of the highly successful "pin-up," a cause marketing standard found at cash registers across the nation where customers are asked to donate to a certain cause at the point-of-sale. Pin-ups have been around for decades, but they are still a popular cause marketing tactic. And that's because they work. Waters deems these campaigns a success because they feature an old-fashioned, face-to-face interaction between a customer and a cashier, and consumers undeniably tend to say "yes" when put on the spot. It also helps that producing each pin-up runs less than 18 cents but sells for between $1 and $5. As Joe notes in anearlier post, he's raised as much as $300,000 in just a few weeks with this 1.0 cause marketing method.

Cause marketers should certainly keep their eye on the digital future of marketing, but not while overlooking tried and true tactics. Whether it's a tag on a hanger at the dry cleaner or a paper icon at the register, success comes from embedding the call-to-action into consumers' daily activities. In this way, it's simple to act and to execute, as well as easy to draw the connection between consumer, company and cause.

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