Spare Change

making a difference with social marketing
by Nedra Kline Weinreich

Am I the only female blogger who did not go to the BlogHer Conference and/or did not have any interest in going?  Seems like many of the other bloggers I read (both women and men) either went or wanted to go.  I just don't see the point in going to a conference where the only thing we have in common that we are all women who blog.  The whole "rejoice in the sisterhood and take back the night from the blog patriarchy" kind of thing doesn't do much for me.  I certainly don't mean to put down those who did go, because I'm sure they got a lot out of it.  It's just not my thing.  I also hate clothes shopping, the color pink and never played with Barbies.  Maybe I just didn't get the gene.

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From today's Mother Goose & Grimm by Mike Peters
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Early registration for Social Marketing University ends in a week!  Don't miss the $100 discount for registering by July 31st on this two-day content-filled event.  The training is happening on September 18-19 at the UCLA Conference Center in Los Angeles, California.

You should attend if you are:
  • Someone who wants to create health or social change
  • A professional at a nonprofit/NGO, public agency or other organization working on health or social issues
  • A commercial marketer who wants to apply your skills towards changing the world for the better OR
  • A student interested in the field of social marketing.
If your organization has a team of people working on a particular issue, consider sending them together to SMU, and each additional person will receive a discount of $50 off of registration.  We will be focusing on creating a preliminary social marketing strategy for your specific issues, so this would be a great way of kickstarting your program.

To see the training agenda, fees, housing accommodations or to register, go to the Social Marketing University information page.  If you have any questions, please e-mail or call (818) 346-2721.

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links for 2006-07-25
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This week the Carnival of Nonprofit Consultants has its home here, with a focus on marketing for nonprofits. Luckily my computer didn't melt this weekend, like everything else in my house, when my end of the San Fernando Valley hit 119 degrees and had a 24-hour power outage. So with that in mind, here are the seven hottest posts from this week (*groan*, I know...):

Kivi Leroux Miller of Nonprofit Communications tells us How to Get Top Mileage Out of Your Best Stories by recycling your best case studies for use in different formats. Storytelling is an important part of helping your audience connect with your cause.

Is Leila at Data-Scribe Blog shooting her consulting business in the foot when she advises nonprofits on Why You Shouldn't Outsource Your Marketing? Not necessarily - nobody else knows as much about your organization as you do and you need to make sure you retain some control over your own marketing.

Jeff at Donor Power Blog reveals the one word that can destroy your marketing, that you should "never, never use" when talking about or evaluating a marketing effort. What is that word? See if you can guess before clicking the link.

Stephan at Changes for Good has a great idea for an affiliate network in which all of the proceeds go to charity. Who wants to build it?

Nancy at Getting Attention says that now that you've got people talking about your organization, it's time to Listen, and Listen Hard. Make sure that you click through to the full article to get all of her great methods for doing that.

Craig writes On Social Marketing and Social Change about the social marketing possibilities in advergaming and beyond. He also mentions the American Cancer Society's virtual Relay for Life that just took place this weekend in Second Life. For a fun view into what the course that the walkers/runners followed looked like, check out Hamlet Au's video of his avatar running the course.

Finally, John of the Digital Influence Mapping Project proposes that museums should encourage the creation of user-generated tours by bloggers and vloggers to create a social museum. He's convinced that the people who are most enthusiastic about the displays are likely to create something of interest to others. This idea could be extended to other types of nonprofits as well -- historical monuments, zoos, orchestras.

And now the bonus host post: I am offering you a Handy-Dandy Guide to Social Marketing Books in case you are inspired by this week's Carnival focusing on marketing for nonprofits.

Thanks to all of this week's participants. Next week the Carnival of Nonprofit Consultants will be hosted by Data-Scribe Blog, with a focus on working with consultants. If you want to submit a post to be considered for next week, send an email to npc.carnival AT yahoo DOT com with your name, your blog’s name and the URL of the post (not your blog homepage).

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I've just finished reading Katya Andresen's new book Robin Hood Marketing: Stealing Corporate Savvy to Sell Just Causes. She sent it to me a while ago but I've only been able to read it in 5-10 minute chunks as I could fit it in and finally finished it when I had jury duty this week.  Not that it was hard to get through - in fact, just the opposite, but I wanted to be able to give a thoughtful review to you, my loyal readers.

Robin Hood Marketing is an engaging, well-written introduction to social marketing concepts for nonprofits (though she does not often use the term "social marketing").  Katya comes from the worlds of both journalism and nonprofit marketing, and this comes through as she obviously knows her audience and craft well.  The book avoids marketing jargon, and she conveys marketing concepts in an easy to understand way.

The strengths of this book lie in her clear writing and extensive use of real-life examples to illustrate the concepts she discusses.  At the end of each chapter, she also includes interviews with people like Bill Novelli (currently head of AARP and a social marketing pioneer), Sharyn Sutton (currently at AIR), Andy Goodman (who wrote Why Bad Ads Happen to Good Causes) and many more.  She also lays out a content summary at the beginning of each chapter and highlights key points in text boxes throughout.

This is not a how-to book, but it should be the first step for nonprofits who want to understand how to apply marketing concepts to their work.  It will give you a good overview of the lens through which you need to filter your messages and materials.  While she mentions research as an important step, there is not much guidance as to how to actually do it (though happily she does refer people to my book!).  Rather than dwelling on the ideal situation, in which a nonprofit would have money to spend on conducting audience research, she accepts the reality that many nonprofits have tiny budgets and have to do with whatever information they are able to get about their audiences, and she works from there.

The Robin Hood metaphor that serves as the foundation of the book, while cute, does get stretched thin in places, with references to Sherwood Forest and arrows and merry men.  And Katya ends up bringing in other heroic metaphors as well (e.g., the Three Musketeers and the Magnificent Seven).  But it was just a minor distraction from the narrative.

Katya's own "Magnificent Seven" lays out seven principles of a successful marketing campaign:
  1. A campaign should be designed by beginning with the desired actions.
  2. A campaign must CRAM from the perspective of the target audience.  (CRAM refers to how you design a message -- it must create a sense of personal Connection, offer a key benefit or Reward, promote an Action and be Memorable).
  3. A campaign must be inescapable.
  4. A campaign should stake out a unique competitive position.
  5. A campaign should be emblematic of the cause and extend the brand.
  6. A campaign must be flexible.
  7. A campaign should be tested many times.
I also found the "five laws of branding" made in the interview with marketing strategist Raphael Bemporad to be useful.  They are:
  1. The Law of the Word - own a word in the mind of your audience that differentiates your organization from all others.
  2. The Law of Focus - identify the one thing you do better than anyone else and focus your brand on that unique value proposition.
  3. The Law of Leadership - be the first to develop a unique approach or service.
  4. The Law of Authenticity - the brand should truly reflect who you are and what you do.
  5. The Law of Consistency - communicate the brand clearly and consistently over time.
Katya sent copies of the book to other bloggers as well, so you can read other reviews by Beth Kanter, Donor Power Blog, Marc Sirkin, and Diva Marketing, and you can also read an excerpt from the book.

And now the promised "Handy-Dandy Guide to Social Marketing Books," to help you figure out which social marketing book might be right for your needs, since there are now quite a few on the market.  Bear in mind that these are my impressions, some of which were formed from reading these books quite a while ago and might not have necessarily "aged" well.  And of course, you may completely disagree with my personal assessment of a particular book, which is your right.  I do not claim that this is a comprehensive list -- it's just what I happen to have on my own bookshelf.  The links go directly to in case you want to buy any of them.

Robin Hood Marketing: Stealing Corporate Savvy to Sell Just Causes by Katya Andresen
Great introduction for nonprofits and others who want to understand how to apply marketing concepts to their causes.

Marketing Social Change: Changing Behavior to Promote Health, Social Development, and the Environment by Alan Andreasen
In-depth descriptions of what social marketing is, and considerations at each phase of the process.  Somewhat academic, and may be especially good for commercial marketers who are looking to apply their skills to social marketing issues.  I have not yet had a chance to read his newest book, Social Marketing in the 21st Century.

Social Marketing: Improving the Quality of Life by Philip Kotler, Ned Roberto and Nancy Lee
This is an ideal book to use as an undergraduate textbook.  Words are defined, there are issues for discussion at the end of each chapter, it is laid out in a very simple, easy to read format.  The book is also overflowing with pictures, examples and case studies.

Marketing Public Health: Strategies to Promote Social Change by Michael Siegel and Lynne Doner
This might work as a graduate school textbook.  It is somewhat academic and dry, though quite comprehensive, and the small typeface unfortunately does not help with readability.

Hands-On Social Marketing: A Step-by-Step Guide by Nedra Kline Weinreich (yours truly)
This book picks up where I think the other books leave off, providing nonprofits and public agencies  with detailed guidance on how to develop and implement a social marketing program themselves.  The book includes worksheets, resource lists and step-by-step instructions on how to do research, create a strategy and move successfully through each phase of the social marketing process.  (okay, enough self-promotion)

Making Health Communication Programs Work (pdf) by the National Cancer Institute
Known as the "Pink Bible" by those working in health communication, this book is a classic and provides an approach for planning and implementing health communication efforts (though not specifically social marketing).  Because it is a free download--though you definitely get more than you pay for--this book works for those without any marketing budget but who want to learn how to create an effective communication program.

So there you have it.  Let me know if you agree with my descriptions, disagree, have other books to add or have other thoughts.

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links for 2006-07-20
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Inger Stole at the Center for Media and Democracy offers a thought-provoking piece entitled "Questioning CRM: Social Causes and Marketing Don't Mix."  She discusses the pros and cons of cause-related marketing, which is when a business and a nonprofit link up to bring attention and/or fundraising to a good cause while generating goodwill (and often profits) to the corporate partner.  I consider this area of marketing separate from social marketing, which is behavior change-focused and generally does not have the ultimate goal of profiting a corporate entity (though a corporation may provide the funding for a social marketing campaign).

Inger describes seven main types of CRM arrangements (she actually says there are six, so perhaps two of these are supposed to be listed together?):
  1. Advertising, where a business aligns itself with a particular cause and uses ads to communicate the cause’s message; 
  2. Public relations, where a business calls press and public attention to a strategic partnership between itself and a non-profit group; 
  3. Sponsorship, where a business helps fund a particular program or event;  
  4. Licensing, where a business pays to use a charity logo on its products or services;
  5. Direct marketing, where both a business and a non-profit raise funds and promote brand awareness;
  6. Facilitated giving, where a business facilitates customer donations to the charity ... or to themselves! [e.g., under the guise of helping other low income utility customers pay their bills]; and
  7. Purchase-triggered
    , where a company pledges to contribute a percentage
    or set amount of a product’s price to a charitable cause or
While CRM would seem to be a win-win situation, Inger provides plenty of reasons for caution by nonprofits entering into a cause marketing relationship.  They include:
  • CRM partnerships are often far from equal, with the business that is providing the funding holding most of the power in the relationship.
  • Benefactors of CRM campaigns generally shy away from any issue that might be controversial or not sufficiently publicity-worthy.
  • Some companies tie their identities so closely with their CRM efforts that they appear to be a nonprofit themselves (e.g., Working Assets - the "socially responsible long distance telephone and credit card company")
  • The implied endorsement of a particular product or company by a nonprofit may end up being harmful to the nonprofit (e.g., the American Medical Association and the Sunbeam Corp.)
  • A company may use CRM to mask problems that they are directly or indirectly responsible for.
  • The nonprofit sector may become nothing more than a marketing tool for business, and so dependent upon these types of relationships that they alter their approaches and services to become more attractive CRM partners.
While Inger raises some important ethical and social issues that nonprofits need to consider before entering into a cause marketing partnership, I think her title "Social Causes and Marketing Don't Mix" is a little too alarmist (especially speaking as a social marketer for whom social causes and marketing absolutely mix).  When nonprofits and public agencies build a partnership with a corporate entity based on strategic considerations, albeit without entering into it blindly, this can be an excellent way to reach new audiences and shape their own brands.  It is up to them to take these issues into consideration and decide whether the relationship would actually be brilliant or whether it would turn out to be horribly misguided.
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Next week I will be hosting the Carnival of Nonprofit Consultants, where our theme will be "Marketing for Nonprofits."  If you have a blog, whether or not you are a nonprofit consultant yourself, think about what advice you would give a nonprofit on how they should be marketing themselves or their issues and write a post on it.  Or tell us what your nonprofit has been doing that you'd like to share.  Send me the link (weinreich at social-marketing dot com) by this Friday night and I will be selecting the best seven (that's the rules) to be posted next Monday.

This week's Carnival, with a focus on nonprofit technology, is at N-TEN Connect (that's the Nonprofit Technology Enterprise Network).  Past themes have included fundraising and advice for new executive directors.

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The eternal question in social marketing is how to go about selecting the audience segment your program will address.  The most common approach is to select one of two groups:  (1) the people who most need the intervention, who are most at risk for a particular problem or (2) the people who are ready to change and just need a little nudge in the right direction.

The first group is usually the audience that the program was funded for in the first place.  We generally want to make a big impact on the problem, and often assume that will happen by reaching those who are most likely to suffer from it.  The problem is that for many issues that have been around for a while -- whether it relates to eating healthy food, quitting smoking, flossing teeth, recycling -- the people who were most likely to adopt positive behaviors have already done so.  The rest of the people may be those who either don't want to change or have tried and decided it wasn't for them -- not easy groups to make significant inroads with (though not necessarily impossible).  They may be the late majority or laggards at the end of the diffusion of innovations curve.

The second group -- those who are ready to make a change but haven't done so yet (in the preparation phase of the stages of change model) -- may not be as large a group as the first, and may not necessarily be at high risk for the problem.  But they may just need a little help, such as teaching them a skill they don't have or showing them how to work the behavior into their lives, and they will take it and run with it.  The benefit to addressing this group is that you can get positive results relatively quickly, even if they are not a large segment, and getting the ball of change rolling within a community can have a snowball effect.  The momentum you generate may help to get those in the "at risk" category to see that their friends and family have made the change, so maybe they should as well.

So, should you try to reach the golden apple at the very top of the tree, or should you pick the low-hanging fruit?  The answer depends on many things -- the goals of your program, the amount of funding you have, the issue you are addressing.  It's often a judgment call, without one clear right or wrong answer, and it doesn't have to be a mutually exclusive choice.  But you do need to think through this question and have a good reason for which way you go with it.

We will be talking more about this issue and many others at Social Marketing University in September.  The early registration deadline is coming up at the end of this month, so register by July 31st to get $100 off the regular price.  And if you have more than one person from your organization attending, the additional registrants get a discount of $50 more off of the price.  We already have people coming from all over the U.S.  Hope to see you there too!

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The best social marketing products are ones that people would want anyways even if they were not good for you or helpful to others.  Clever product designers take a desirable product and figure out how to attach a secondary use that might ordinarily be more difficult to get people to adopt or do in a different way.

I love the concept of the PlayPump pictured above:
It’s a simple idea. As children spin on a merry-go-round, water pumps from below the ground.  It is stored in a tank just a few feet away, making a safe, plentiful supply of water available in the community.

Nearly 700 PlayPumps have been installed in South Africa, providing safe water to a million people living in rural communities. Thousands more PlayPumps will be installed throughout Sub-Saharan Africa, bringing the many benefits of ready access to clean drinking water to millions of underserved people.
It's brilliant.  Having easy access to water improves so many other health and social issues:
  • Children can play and stay in school rather than hauling water.
  • Women no longer have to risk injury from carrying heavy containers of water over great distances, and have more time to care of their children and even start their own businesses.
  • The PlayPumps can have public health messages on two of their sides.
  • The other two sides can be leased for consumer advertising, with the revenue paying for pump maintenance for up to 10 years.
This goes beyond the cause marketing model used by a brand like Ethos water, which was recently sold to Starbucks.  For every bottle of Ethos they sell, Starbucks donates five cents toward helping children around the world get clean water.  They recently announced a $250,000 grant to fund water-related projects in Ethiopia.  But the Ethos model is still pretty much standard cause marketing.

What I'm talking about is a product that serves two functions simultaneously.  Like a shirt that has microelectronics built in that can monitor the health of the wearer (i.e., blood pressure, blood oxygen, temperature and ECG) and trigger a call for help in case it is necessary.  Or a version with built-in gyroscopic sensors to determine whether the patient has fallen over.

Or a program in which volunteer health workers in South Africa care for their neighbors who have AIDS, while at the same time learning to read, write and solve math problems. They are part of an adult education program called Reflect, which is "an education methodology developed in the mid-1990s that connects education with community action in hopes of making learning relevant to adults."

Or a cell phone that comes with a built--in pedometer and digital music player -- three things that you might take with you when you exercise anyways, but in a convenient combination.

Or a UV sensor watch that tells you when it's time to protect yourself from the sun.

There are many more familiar examples of dual purpose products:
Your promotional materials can also serve another purpose besides getting your message out.  This is nothing new -- think promotional pens, bags, baseball caps, first aid kits...  But if you can make your advertising into something directly useful in solving the problem you are addressing, that can make it even more effective.  Like these Salvation Army blanket/billboards that can be used by homeless people to stay warm.  Or illegally planting trees to protest trees being cut down illegally around the world.

As always, bonus points for creativity to those who can apply this model to their own product or campaign.

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links for 2006-07-13
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Back when I was a newbie social marketer, the Social Marketing Quarterly had just started up and something called the Society for Social Marketing was also brand new. I attended a SSM meeting at one of the first few Social Marketing in Public Health conferences (around 1993?) and even got a mug with its logo. And that was pretty much the last I ever heard of it.

Then came the founding of the Social Marketing Institute in 1999 run by social marketing heavyhitter Alan Andreasen of Georgetown University with funding from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation. It was designed to "learn, develop and facilitate the application of the very best social marketing practices in a wide range of settings all over the world." It was an exciting point in the evolution of the field, and held a lot of potential. Unfortunately, the Institute was not refunded when the grant ended in 2001 for various reasons, including the departure of key player Bill Novelli to the AARP and the decision that "the focus of social marketing — and therefore the design of the institute — was too narrow, and what was really needed was a new language and model to affect social change that combined the principles of social marketing with media relations, partnership building and public policy advocacy."

In addition to the annual Social Marketing in Public Health Conference, which has the same basic structure from year to year, the field also has an invitation-only Innovations in Social Marketing conference. Although I attended and presented at this conference in 1999, since it became a private affair for the social marketing in-crowd in 2001 I and many others have not been deemed worthy to be part of this elite event. It feels like junior high all over again. (Yes, I know, they have their reasons, keep it small and for "advanced" social marketers, etc etc.)

So when in 2003 or 2004, it was announced on the social marketing listserve that a new American Social Marketing Association was starting, based in California, I was very excited. I joined right away. It had officers, various committees starting, it seemed like the real thing. But then I waited...and waited...and waited to see what this new association would do. I think when I sent in my membership form, I had offered to be on one of the committees. But nothing happened. A year went by and still nothing. So I waited to renew until there was some evidence that my membership fee was paying for something. Eventually I found out that there had been some ASMA events around California but after a brief burst of activity it seemed to disappear. And here we are. The URL that they had reserved ( has since expired, and so this again has come and gone. Around the same time, a group of Canadian social marketers started the Canadian Social Marketing Association, but that too seems to have fizzled (at least judging by their website).

So my question is: Why can't the field of social marketing sustain a professional association? It would seem that there are enough people doing social marketing and identifying themselves as social marketers to create this type of group.
  • Is it that social marketers come from different professions and identify more with those (i.e., health education, marketing, nonprofit communications, etc)?
  • Is it because there is already a journal, conference and informal listserve that social marketers feel there is no need to formalize the profession with an association?
  • Is it because we are all too busy to take on the burden of starting and sustaining (and, yes, marketing) this type of association?
  • Is it because we work on so many different topics and with so many different types of organizations that we do not see the commonalities in the work we do?
If you have been involved in ASMA and can explain what happened to it, or if you have ideas for how we as a profession can get ourselves organized to promote social marketing as an effective approach for health and social change, please let me know your thoughts in the comments.
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links for 2006-07-10
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I was recently interviewed by Beth Kanter about how nonprofits can use social media as part of their social marketing strategies. As part of the interview, we got together in Second Life to "meet in person." That's me on the right, though I've since changed my hair.

I found out that Beth is involved with a group called TechSoup that is compiling a directory of nonprofits that have a presence in Second Life. This includes organizations like the Friends of the Urban Forest, Global Kids, Live2Give and others.

The American Cancer Society is another nonprofit making good use of Second Life with their upcoming Relay for Life on July 22-23. According to Wagner James Au, who reports on interesting trends and events in SL, they have already raised the equivalent of $11,000 in pledges with a month to go. This is the second year they are doing this event, and it promises to be a fun one, with entertainment, activities, contests, and more in addition to the walk-a-thon itself.

If you are not yet on Second Life, I urge you to get your free account and check out what I think will be the future of online interfaces. If you are already on Second Life, let me know and we can get together (my SL name is Sheva Weeks).

UPDATE: If you are new to SL and would like to learn some of the basics to help you get around more easily, Beth has just announced that she will be offering a newbie mentoring session on July 14th at 2:00 pm Eastern time. You'll then be ready to attend TechSoup's next event on July 18th at 6:00 pm Pacific time (simultaneously in San Francisco and SL) and learn more about how nonprofits can use Second Life to further their missions.
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links for 2006-07-09
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