EDITORIAL: Response to CRM debunks cynicism

You'll have seen the cards and the tinsel and the Christmas

puddings in the shops by now, so there's no doubt that 'the season for

giving' is here again. And we've become a more giving society, according

to Sue Adkins, a director of Business in the Community, which has

published a report finding that some 77 per cent of consumers who had

participated in CRM promotions said it had led them to switch brands or

trial new products (news, page 9).



The report defies without doubt the urban myth that consumers are

cynical about CRM campaigns, and Adkins states there is no evidence to

support the media theory that consumers think cause-linked campaigns are

exploitative. Less than 1 per cent of those surveyed said they didn't

participate because they felt a campaign was exploitative, so it's quite

the reverse - 99 per cent actively say they want more companies to be

involved and develop what is called 'the halo effect'. Rather, the

cynicism seems to come from the national media, which appears to want to

put down marketers and their cause-linked activities for reasons best

known to themselves.



As Kate Burk, head of fundraising at the Variety Club, rightly points

out (Profile, page 31), there's got to be something in it for the

corporate who invests - but then it is an investment and they should be

getting something out of it. It's never been an all-for-nothing world,

the charities know this and so do the consumers. What they're also very

aware of is the fact that this can be a win-win situation for the

consumer, the charity and the corporate or brand - if the match is

right.



So yes, it's the season for giving. And cause-related campaigns ensure

that giving can be made easy, with the added benefits of raising

awareness and generating much-needed resources. So credit where it's

due, some marketers are doing the right thing.



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