In Praise of Cause Marketing Tactics

I hope you'll make the trip to the Cause Marketing Forum conference next year. Two weeks after the  event, I'm still thinking about the things I heard and learned at CMF10. A word that was seemingly on the tongue of every speaker was "strategy."

Strategy. A plan, method, or series of maneuvers or stratagems for obtaining a specific goal or result.

Every presenter that discussed their cause marketing program either talked of the "strategy" behind their efforts or emphasized the importance of having one.

I get it. And it sounds great. But looking around the conference at all the nonprofits that were new to cause marketing, the best strategy for most of them seemed like a solid set of tactics to get them going.

Tactic. A means for achieving a goal; a maneuver.

A tactic isn't as sophisticated as a strategy. If your basement floods every now and then [been there] and you pump it out with a floor pump and hose you borrow from your neighbor, that's a tactic. If you install French drains in your basement and regrade the landscaping outside your house so rain water flows away from it, that's a strategy.

It's clear which one is better, but they both do the trick. Tactics have the benefit of educating you on what kind of plan, what kind of strategy you should adopt. Tactics also allow you to get started without waiting for a grand strategy to form first.

I can speak to embracing cause marketing tactics because my Six Figure Cause Marketing webinar, which began just last Thursday, takes a very tactical approach to getting nonprofits up and running with their first program.

Do you have a supporter who owns a chain of stores? You can do cause marketing. No elaborate business plan required.

Do you run a successful event, maybe a walk, run or ride (or maybe a big Halloween event like I do every October!)? You may have an asset that you can turn into cause marketing gold. No need to spend time thinking of how it fits into your larger development strategy.

Most of you have read my post on What is Cause Marketing?. Cause Marketing is a win-win partnership between a nonprofit and a for-profit that generally involves point-of-sale and percentage-of-sale programs.

So if you work for a nonprofit all you need to get started with cause marketing is a company with either foot traffic or locations, preferably both. The important thing is not to get caught up overthinking what your cause marketing strategy is. Just to get going and develop your strategy as your tactics take you step by step to your goal.

As my brother, a high school teacher, likes to tell his students, "You have a wonderful future ahead of you. I suggest you get going."