Marketing I Love! Target’s “Feed USA” Social Marketing Campaign

by G.B. Oliver

I have a lot of small business clients who give a portion of their profits to a charitable organization. They always ask me what is the “proper” way to mention this to their customers. It can be a delicate situation, but there are ways to do it that helps to promote the charity and ensure your customers that this is not a marketing ploy, but truly corporate philanthropy.

Target's-feed-marketing-campaignThe other night I saw the commercial for Target’s “FEED” campaign. It caught my eye immediately and there are certain aspects of the campaign that are very smart and effective marketing tactics.

Target is carrying a new product line called, “FEED”. The product line is part of a charitable initiative started by Lauren Bush Lauren back in 2006, to create products whose sales provide meals for hungry children and families around the globe. With the launch of a new lifestyle line of over 50 products at Target, FEED USA is now targeting the problem of domestic hunger, as the proceeds will benefit Feeding America, a hunger relief organization.

What I liked about the marketing campaign, is that it is outlined clearly to the consumer exactly what your purchase is contributing to the FEED campaign.

For example, when you buy one of their FEED for Target Burlap Reusable Market Bags for $10, there is a tag on the product that states clearly that your purchase will provide approximately 8 meals for children and families across America. In addition, the number “8” actually appears on the bag. The higher the priced product, the more meals you buy for families in need.

So if you are a small business who wants to promote the fact that you are giving a portion of your profits to a charitable organization, here are some marketing tips you can take from the FEED USA campaign:

  1. It is important to clearly define exactly how much and where the “donation” is going, the way Target has. By quantifying it, the customer trusts that you are doing what you say you are going to do with the money.
  2. What I also like is that FEED keeps their charity name on all the products, a reminder of where the money is going and helping to brand the organization.
  3. Try to create products relevant to the charity you are supporting. Market bags that say “FEED” are a great reminder to others at the grocery to maybe pick up a few more items for their local food bank.
  4. Include a page on your shop/website with more information about the charity, including a link to their site, and detail how much money has been donated to-date and what it has been used for.

FINAL WORD: It is not enough to say, “10% of all profits donated to a local food bank”, you really need to qualify and quantify exactly what that 10% is and exactly where it is going, if you want your customers to trust and support your philanthropy efforts.

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© 2013 G.B. Oliver. All rights reserved.

Author: Gail Oliver, Online Small Business Consultant

I'm Gail Oliver, an online marketing consultant. Welcome to my blog, chosen one of the Top 10 Small Business Blogs to Follow in 2014 by American Express Open Forum. If you need help with your e-commerce business, be sure to see MY SERVICES, above.