There is a fundamental difference between “Social Good Marketing” and “Commercial Business Campaign Marketing.” Social good marketing focuses on effecting positive social change as part of marketing campaigns organized by non-profit organizations. Business marketing is financially motivated, intended to incentivize potential customers to buy. However, when the two are combined effectively, they can produce not only increased ROI but also positive social change. Combining interests of social good marketing and business campaign marketing can make for meaningful social marketing.
Consider the example of CVS Pharmacy’s decision to stop selling cigarettes. This decision was part of a massive anti-smoking campaign that had the lofty goal of making the current generation the first generation to quit smoking, but also to promote themselves as a health-care first company. They titled the campaign “Be The First” and associated the pharmacy as “health care first” business.
No doubt, the decision to stop selling cigarettes was a bold move on the part of CVS. In fact, it was probably one of the best examples of a commercial business campaign adopting an entirely social good cause in recent history. Of course, there is the question of whether it proved to be as effective at returning on the investment of the commercial campaign as it was at providing an example of positive social change. Initially, it did hurt them financially as front store general merchandise purchases dropped 5%.
However, reinforcing that other competitor pharmacies are still selling cigarettes will continue to strengthen their image as a health-care first business that cares about its customer’s health. This will be especially effective with non-smoking customers who will be more likely to choose CVS in the future because of their non-smoking stance. Now CVS has become a champion of a trend against smoking that continues to grow in popularity. According to the CDC, smoking rates have sharply declined from 20.9% in American adults to 16.8%.
Another more recent example of combining social good marketing with commercial business campaigns is the Planet Fitness anti-bullying campaign. Adopting a similar model as CVS by aligning their corporate identity with a powerful social message, Planet Fitness offered a $10 enrollment payment to new members for a period in which 100 percent of the fees were given to anti-bullying causes like the Boys and Girls Clubs of America and Stomp Out Bullying.
Their anti-bullying stance aligns with their “Judgement Free” initiative that has been a major part of their company branding. Planet Fitness promotes itself as a place where people can come to feel accepted, a gym for anybody. Or as their slogan goes, “The Judgement Free Zone”. This works well with the active anti-bullying campaign, but what really makes this and the CVS anti-smoking campaigns so effective is something even more simple- that is, the basic positivity of their message.
Promoting yourself or your business with a positive message is universally going to be an effective marketing campaign. Backing that message up with a strong social cause promotion adds to the effectiveness the message and potential receptivity of your customers.