Last week on 6 Degrees of Association we spoke with Amanda Keefer, managing director at Healthy Family Project. Cause Marketing was the topic of the day and as Amanda noted, she helps members and companies do well by doing good. We could not help but notice the similarities between cause marketing and the work we do, affinity marketing.
Preposterous, did you say? Affinity marketing is to line the pockets of the association and its partners, cause marketing is to do good in the community, right? Okay, we can see where you think we went astray but let’s take a walk through this thought experiment to match up the similarities for the win! To help us think this through, we are going to use one of our favorite clients as the example association in this hypothetical situation, the Associated General Contractors of America (AGC).
Providing mutually beneficial programs to your members is to focus on that all important word…mutual. To design a program that would serve your member base, you need to know who they are and what they care about. As the name of the association implies, the AGC membership consists of general contractors across the country who work in high-risk environments, and one could assume that employee safety is extremely important to them.
There are several ways you could look to appeal to the member companies. One would be to focus on what type of products and services they need to be compliant and prepared for any emergency or safety situation. For example, these companies might need to frequently order first aid kits, personal protection equipment, or even defibrillators. Furthermore, they may need to train their employees in CPR, emergency response, and fire safety.
Another way of looking at this could be the individuals who work for the member companies. Someone who works in the construction industry might be interested in healthy, energy boosting foods that are portable, inexpensive, and accessible, or they may be interested in health and fitness so they can remain physically capable of doing the job.
Taking stock of what matters to the members of AGC will help their members feel they matter to them.
Once needs and desires are identified, the next step is to start brainstorming all the relevant partners that could be a good fit for these needs. Cintas is a major supplier to the construction industry providing most safety equipment that is needed on any construction site. The Red Cross offers safety training, Philips makes portable defibrillators, Grainger is another large supplier of hard hats and fall protection, to name a few.
For the individual employees who might be looking for healthy food options or a fitness regiment to help keep them in shape, a major supermarket chain or gym franchise might be great partners. If a contract with Publix is created, followed by a partnership with 24 Hour Fitness, then you can imagine formalizing a relationship with Yeti or Thermos to store the food, or Dick’s Sporting Goods for athletic gear. The list is endless for partners that could bring benefits to the members while also offering non-dues revenue through commissions to the association.
And don’t forget the benefit these partner organizations reap. Instead of exhausting their advertising and marketing dollars on reaching general contractors on their own, through the AGC they get an endorsement and an easy path to their online store, all through a click of a button!
Doing Well by Doing Good
According to causemarketing.com, cause marketing is defined as a type of Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) in which a company’s promotional campaign has the dual purpose of increasing profitability while bettering society. At Advancea, we would define affinity marketing in much the same way.
Affinity marketing is a type of marketing in which a company’s promotional campaign has the dual purpose of increasing profitability for both the partner and association while benefitting members. Now, take the things that matter most to the members of AGC and combine it with the relevance of the partner and go one step further.
Yep, it happened, we ended back together with the Healthy Family Project. Let’s envision that AGC formalizes a relationship with Publix. Now they are offering their members weekly specials and customized menus to help with meal planning specifically for maintaining energy around that all important noon hour when most accidents happen on the job. One step further and the AGC offers an opportunity for its member organizations to work with the Healthy Family Project and Publix together to create a campaign around healthy meal planning in their local area.
This type of thinking now produces discounts on meals to members, helpful information provided by nutritionists at no cost to the members, and the member company also shows that it is doing good in the local community by allowing some of their revenue to go towards a worthy cause. All the while, the AGC has bolstered its non-dues revenue, proven a worthy intermediary to beneficial partnerships, and increased its value proposition with its members.
That’s what we call win-win…or should we say do well-do good!