The Future of Cause Marketing Lies in Intersections

Name off in your head the most successful and impactful cause marketing initiatives of the last decade. Here’s what I think:

Saving Lids to Save Lives with Yoplait for the Susan G. Komen Foundation.

Product Red for The Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria.

The TRUTH campaign from the American Legacy Foundation.

The marketing and PR industry has become increasingly more effective and louder when it comes to battling disease, improving education opportunities, and making spaces for underserved or even disadvantaged populations.

But times are changing more rapidly and our world is becoming more complex. We’re moving at a faster pace with every passing day, which provides greater opportunities but also more complex problems. We’re getting better at raising awareness about individual diseases or societal problems. The problem is, more and more we’re starting to see the problems that need to be solved aren’t neatly contained in a single box, where we can apply the same standard solutions.

Instead, we’re dealing with complex issues that intersect with each other, and untangling them is more complex than ever.

How do we reduce gun violence in our schools? Now you’re not dealing with a single disease or cause. You’ve entered the arena of gun control, mental health, bullying, and the complex world of education reform.

How do we as a society do our part to make sure our veterans have the best life possible after they have sacrificed so much for our country? Now you’re standing in the middle of the intersection of government programs, the healthcare system, employment, and then add the already complex issues of mental health and traumatic brain injuries.

How do we help rescue seniors who are in isolation? Hunger, housing, successful transitions from retirement, and health all play a role. Focusing on one leaves too many out in the proverbial cold.

The problems we face are more complex than ever. Campaigns will have to speak to increasingly complex target audiences. Reaching critical mass will be more challenging than ever in an increasingly segmented and disjointed world.

Our strategies have to adapt. Our tactics have to get better.

Our use of technology has to get more sophisticated to keep up with the growing demands of a myriad of intersecting public issues.

The future lies in intersections. As communicators, we have the opportunity to step into the middle and offer solutions.

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