This fall, TripAdvisor.com (a division of Expedia.com) ran a cause marketing campaign -- the website's users voted on how a million dollars should be distributed between 5 non-profit groups.
The users were very engaged in this campaign -- the five competing non-profits had been pre-selected by the users, too.
The company's 3 goals were to thank existing members, attract new members, and give back in a way that is consistent with the company's mission. Success was measured by the number of votes, and the number of new members gained as a result of the campaign.
It was a big project; over 50 TripAdvisor.com employees, in different departments, worked on it.
The cause marketing campaign was a big success!
More than 1,000,000 people voted on how TripAdvisor.com should donate $1 million.
Here's where the $1 million will go:
$392,000 Doctors Without Borders
$347,000 Save the Children
$137,000 The Nature Conservancy
$70,000 Conservation International
$54,000 National Geographic Society
The Cause Marketing Forum interviewed the woman responsible for the campaign, CMO Christine Petersen.
This bit of the interview was particularly interesting:
CMF: How did you publicize the program?
CP: We featured it prominently on the site. We bought some media on YouTube. We engaged (PR firm) Pardes Communications. We talked to our established member base (with emails) and also went to the Facebook community – we have millions of people who have installed applications we built: “Cities I’ve Visited” is a map on which you can put pins indicating where you’ve visited. “Local Picks” is like a really transparent Zagats – you rate restaurants and tell your friends.
The Facebook applications were incredibly successful. We saw open and click through rates 3 to 4 times higher than usual.
(Also very successful) was a video featuring Rosario Dawson that we posted on our brand channel on YouTube. It went viral and was seen over 1.4 million times. (The video is a take-off on a video urging people to register to vote featuring Leonardo DiCaprio and other celebrities.)
Also very interesting, are Christine's views on why Doctors Without Borders, and Save the Children, won the contest, as well as Christine's vision for the next campaign:
CP: We worked with all the charities to promote outreach with email to be sent to their base and a widget for their home pages. I think Save The Children and Doctors Without Borders have great brands and do great work. I think that familiarity had a lot to do with their amount of the vote.
CMF: Do you expect to mount more cause marketing programs of this magnitude?
CP: We will definitely do something again. I don’t know if it will be this. I’d like to do something that that is even more involved, that has members do more of the outreach for votes.