Think Carefully Before Engaging in Advocacy Marketing

Hand writing Advocacy with blue marker on transparent wipe board.Advocacy marketing is a very direct and pointed form of marketing that businesses use to hep promote their feelings on a particular matter. More often than not, this form of marketing involves a political issue that has a direct impact on the business. It’s normal for this type of marketing to be funded by a third party, such as a large corporation or organization the business is connected to.

Examples of Advocacy Marketing

In recent years, there have been many cases of advocacy advertising, which include;

  • Environmental issues;
  • Support of specific political candidates;
  • Human rights;
  • Planned parenthood issues;
  • Labeling of GMO foods.
Proceed with Caution

When it comes to advocacy advertising, businesses need to proceed with caution and understand that there most likely be objections by at least some of their customers and possibly even suppliers, and in some cases, the backlash can be devastating. This is something that both Chipotle and Panera Bread Company learned when they debuted a marketing program designed to promote naturally grown produce and meat and inadvertently offended the entire agriculture community. Months later, both companies continue to deal with angry former customers and agitated suppliers.

Any business that’s considering becoming involved in any type of advocacy marketing needs to carefully weigh the pros and cons, and decide how much the stance will hurt their bottom line and public image.

Think Before Acting

It’s important for businesses to think about every word they post online before anything gets submitted. A comment made in response to a blog or an ill-timed tweet can cause P.R. problems. Today’s customers are very sensitive to advocacy marketing and won’t hesitate to stop using any business they feel is getting too pushy about promoting a cause or that they feel supports the wrong causes.

Is Advocacy Marketing Ever Good

There are times when addressing advocacy issues can be a useful form of advertising. Things advocacy advertising can do includes;

  • Generate free promotional opportunities;
  • Create opportunities to engage customers in conversation;
  • Help create a brand;
  • Create an emotional connection;
  • Work as a call to action.

Some things businesses need to do before launching an advocacy advertising program include;

  • Make sure they’re very clear on the exact aspects of campaign/policy that they support;
  • Be willing to deal with the backlash in a calm, rational manner;
  • Accept that some people/groups will be upset;
  • Be prepared to back up their stance.

Advocacy marketing can help build a strong connection between a business and their customers, it’s important to understand it’s a risky form of marketing.

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