Getting Meaningful Marketing Right

By Jim Andrews Sep 28, 2012

Getting Meaningful Marketing Right

In the new strategy paper from IEG Consulting, we make the case for a new and important trend impacting the relationship between nonprofits and their corporate partners.

Dubbed “Meaningful Marketing,” this new model is the amalgam of a number of ways that the for-profit and nonprofit worlds have been collaborating lately, from strategic philanthropy to purpose-based brands to sustainability.

The idea—explained fully in the paper—is that companies now want to build a single platform around which they can achieve all of the objectives they have been accomplishing piecemeal through cause marketing programs, event sponsorships, CSR efforts, etc.

Thus far, only a small number of forward-thinking companies have developed true Meaningful Marketing programs, some of which, like Coca-Cola’s Live Positively campaign, are described in the paper. But as we also point out, brand-side marketers who we have worked with recently make the case that others will soon be headed in this direction.

In fact some companies seem to want to go there, but are missing some key pieces that would define them as Meaningful Marketers.

Take Liberty Mutual’s Responsibility Project. The insurer has adopted “responsibility” as the theme for a program that explores and offers information on a diverse array of issues, from good parenting and senior driving to animal welfare, sportsmanship and many others.

The effort is supported with a good-looking, dedicated web site and promoted through the company’s sports sponsorships and other vehicles. However, it misses the opportunity to involve nonprofit partners in key roles that would make the program much more authentic. As it stands, drilling down into the site’s content often leads to barely disguised promotions for the company’s products and services.

Similarly, Volkswagen of America’s latest ad campaign, “Why VW” is an ideal candidate to be translated into a Meaningful Marketing platform, with its major emphasis on “Values” as part of the site. While values such as performance, design and quality are important to an automaker, the company has missed an opportunity to go deeper into non-product focused values that could demonstrate its commitment to issues that go beyond its own interests.


nonprofit strategic philanthropy trends cause marketing


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Jim Andrews

About the Author

A 30-year sponsorship industry veteran, Jim is responsible for developing and sharing thought-leadership content based on ESP Properties’ groundbreaking work in the areas of sponsorship strategy, valuation, measurement, digital content, data-driven marketing and fan engagement.

In addition to identifying key trends and delivering his unique insights into the critical issues facing rightsholders and their commercial partners, Jim is the chairman of the Annual Sponsorship Conference, responsible for the program and speakers, as well as hosting and delivering the event’s opening address. He also is responsible for the company’s annual report and forecast of overall sponsorship spending, as well as its compilation of biggest spending companies and annual industry surveys.

A frequent media commentator and guest, Jim has been a featured speaker at hundreds of sports, entertainment and marketing conferences around the world.



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