How Creative Promotions Benefit Advocacy Marketers

How ‘Kony’ Clip Caught Fire Online (Wall Street Journal)

Viral VideoMany people consider promotion a marketing activity that is mostly of interest to for-profit marketers.  Of course, it is easy to get this impression since for-profits far outspend other marketers when it comes to promotional campaigns.

Yet, marketing activity is used by nearly all types of organizations, including not-for-profits and even governmental agencies.  It is even used by one type of business that is often overlooked when discussing marketing – advocacy marketers.

Advocacy marketing has the goal of persuading a targeted group to take action for a specific cause, such as offering financial support (e.g., give a donation) or supporting the cause via a behavioral change (e.g., stop consumption of certain products).  Competing for attention against big-spending marketers is quite difficult for advocacy marketers and, because of this, they often need to be creative in order to get their message out.  One creative outlet that is now being widely utilized by advocacy marketers is social media.

For instance, as discussed in this story, the efforts used by the advocacy group, Invisible Children, is an excellent example of how powerful social media has become as an outlet for spreading information.  In this case, the group behind the campaign to address violence taking place in central Africa, came up with a creative way by targeting celebrities who are significant users of Twitter and other social media.  The organization produced an online video that was picked up by tweeting celebrities.  The video quickly went viral on YouTube and was viewed over 80 million times with a few days.

While this story also notes that the organization has received quite a bit of criticism for the contents of its video, from a marketing perspective the effort has certainly been successful.  The message for marketers of all types is that creativity is what drives efforts to get above the noise produced by big spending companies.  Whether it is through new-to-the-world products, unique methods of distribution, innovative pricing, or, in this example, technology-assisted promotion, no matter the size of a marketer creativity can help cut through the noise.

Invisible Children posted the video on YouTube on Monday and also promoted it to its followers on Facebook and Twitter.  Almost immediately, “Kony 2012” ignited chatter on Facebook, Twitter and other social networks. As the filmmakers intended, the video first took off among a younger audience, with early data showing that the average viewer is 24 years old, according to Visible Measures.

What are the advantages and disadvantages of promotions that are primarily targeted through social media?

Image by Rego – d4u.hu

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