Thursday, January 17, 2013

Content, Cause & Event Marketing for Associations & NonProfits

The Writer's Domain: Great combination of cause, content and event marketing. 

What do you get when a furniture store hosts an author’s event with proceeds going to charity? And, why is a furniture store hosting an author’s event? (More on that later!)

An awesome example of cause marketing, content marketing and event marketing all rolled into one event!

Here are the “partners” for the event ...
  • Norris Home Furnishings hosted “The Writer’s Domain” in its stores in Ft. Myers and Naples, Florida
  • Barnes & Noble
  • First Books of Collier County
  • Literacy Council Gulf Coast
The two events showcased dramatic interpretations and book signings of 12 authors at two Norris Home Furnishing stores. The authors “reside” in personalized domains within the Norris stores.

The registration fee ($35 ) and a “portion of each book sale” will go to the charities: First Book of Collier County for the Naples event and the Literacy Council Gulf Coast for the Ft. Myers event.

So, this one company combines three marketing strategies that serves as a case study for associations and nonprofits.

Cause Marketing
  • Cause marketing occurs when a for profit company or organization “partners” with a not-for-profit organization or charity for social good.
  • Here’s an old blog I wrote on my Causeaholic site: What Association Execs Want to Know about Cause Marketing
  •  In this example the events at Norris Home Furnishings are generating funds to support literacy in their region.
Event Marketing
  • I don’t have a great definition of event marketing ... to me it is simply using an event to market your association or company. In this case, Norris Home Furnishings is using authors and book signings to draw potential customers to their stores. And, by asking the authors to “reside” in different parts of the stores, the “guests” will be able to see a lot of furniture. 
Content Marketing
  • Content marketing is the marketing and business process for creating and distributing relevant and valuable content to attract, acquire, and engage a clearly defined and understood target audience – with the objective of driving profitable customer action. See Content Marketing Institute’s definitions.  
  • Here’s an SCDdaily blog about content marketing and associations: 10 Reasons Why Content Marketing Benefits Associations.  
  • The Norris Home Furnishings events connect reading, authors, writing and furniture into a single content-oriented event. In this case, Norris has gone beyond traditional content for its marketing and used a topic-related event to market their products.
Shortcomings of the Norris book promotion:
  1. One concern about this specific event is the lack of transparency in the promotion that a “portion of each book sale” will go to the charities. The exact amount or percentage should be disclosed. 
  2. Norris Home Furnishings missed opportunities to “drive” customers to its brand in two ways:
    • The media stories do not include the Norris website nor invite readers to go to that website for more details.
    • The Norris website does not have any mention of the events. This is a real surprise. If you are going to create these events, go all out and be sure they are included on your website, in all your ads and in the media coverage.
Cause marketing, event marketing and content marketing represent three strategies associations can use when seeking to grow their organizations, enhance their brand and/or generate new members.