I Wanna Help: Cause Marketing for Tragedies

CAUSE MARKETING FOR TRAGEDIES

Marketing and Emotional Appeals

Marketing nearly anything is going to require a certain set of skills. Many people seem to be under the impression that marketing changes substantially depending upon the product, but this is not necessarily the case. Often times, marketing is really just about getting people’s attention and convincing them to like something or become interested in it, and many of the same tricks work just as well for vastly different products or causes. Marketing almost always involves making certain emotional appeals. The emotional appeals themselves may change, but they are all unified by the fact that they are emotional appeals. Cause marketing is not so different from marketing products.

I Wanna Help: Cause Marketing for Tragedies

It should be noted that tragedies are better for marketing than those same causes would be at the best of times. People might not give money towards ending poverty in South Asia under most circumstances, but they will be much more likely to give money to the exact same place in the event of a tsunami, which has been demonstrated time and time again. Causes should always use tragedies to try to gain new followers and to try to consolidate their bases.

Often times, cause marketing for tragedies just involves appealing to people’s empathy and sensitivity. Making people feel guilty is often not the best strategy. People want to feel like giving money to a cause makes them good people. They don’t want to feel as if donating to a cause is all that they can do in order to just barely escape from being bad people.

Lots of modern activists try to use guilt as a weapon. Guilt usually only works when people are doing the proverbial preaching to the choir. In order to get people to give to causes that have never interested them before, it is important to present these people with images that will make them sad and make them want to help.

Facts and statistics can help, but they are usually only going to work on the most intellectual people, and these people would also be swayed by emotional presentations. Showing people images of starving children tends to work better than pie charts about resource consumption. Seeing images of human suffering tends to motivate people to help, especially if those images are paired with frightening voice-overs or textual messages that are written to be more emotional and less dryly informative.

It’s also a good idea to remind people that every little bit helps. People can go from denial to despair at a moment’s notice. They can go from ignoring the problem to feeling like the problem is too large for them to handle, which is just another form of ignoring a problem. Reminding people that giving five dollars helps is going to cause a lot of people to want to give five dollars. Messages that reach thousands or millions of people are not going to convince one person to give five dollars. They will convince millions of people to give five dollars, which equates to millions of dollars.

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