Altruistic Marketing


A Smart Marketing Strategy
Family Businesses

Altruistic Marketing, as a business development strategy, has been recognized for many years. "More recently, with the current economic uptick acting as a force-multiplier, we advise our family business clients to give careful consideration to this very effective marketing strategy," reports family business marketing expert Don Schwerzler.

"What makes altruistic marketing such a compelling strategy is that it is a marriage between business marketing goals and objectives with a broad range of “feel-good” causes – such as helping others who are less fortunate, bringing supplies to a disaster area or supporting a youth sports team - the opportunities to apply the concept of altruistic marketing are endless. Be creative! Ask your employees and associates for ideas and suggestions."

Schwerzler has been studying and advising family businesses for more than 40 years and he is the founder of the Family Business Institute and their Internet organization Family Business - both of which are headquartered in Atlanta GA.

For anyone watching TV or listening to radio, it would be hard to miss the promotional programs auto manufacturing companies are touting – programs that will allow customers who have lost their jobs to take a hiatus from making monthly payments – or even taking the car back so the buyer can get out from under a car payment, should they lose their income.

A restaurant chain in a TV ad offered a “free breakfast” to people having a hard time during this economic crisis.

Some retailers offer a discount to men and woman serving in the Armed Forces while others also include veterans as well.

A dry cleaner that offers free cleaning to customers out of work is yet another example of how a business can reach out to help others. The thinking of the family business owner of the dry cleaners – he wanted his customers to look fresh and sharp when they go out on job interviews!

Become a Sponsor or volunteer with the Wounded Warrior Project.

Another organization that can use help to purchase/distribute Honor and Remember flags to schools, businesses and civic organizations Honor and Remember Flag.

Part of the power in altruistic marketing is that the company is branding itself as a “good guy” for current customers and potential customers sympathetic to a need-situation or cause.

This type of approach can be a phenomenal marketing strategy for family businesses since most already have a high profile within a neighborhood or community. We urge all of our family business clients to consider how they can apply the altruistic marketing stategy to their business.

Aside from the marketing and PR benefits, altruistic marketing can also be a wise use of the operational resources for a family business – especially when work and business is slow. Take advantage if the slack time and find a business or an organization that would be glad to get the help!

For instance, a painting contractor has trucks, ladders, and trained painters – why not provide a complimentary paint job for a clubhouse in a subdivision – this acts as an “on-site testimonial” for the families that live in the subdivision – the underlying strategy is building good will among the home owners in the subdivision – and name brand recognition. The next time they need a painting contractor – they would know who to call!

One family business, a manufacturing company with 35 employees, created a monthly “Community Service Recognition Award”. Each month they present the manager of a charity, lay-person working with a church-connected soup kitchen or a public servant for their work in making the community a better place. The first month they selected the local manager of the Boys/Girls club to receive the community service recognition plaque – and the local newspaper ran a story with pictures. This was a great PR opportunity for both organizations. The second month they recognized a firefighter that headed up a girls softball league – and the press showed up again to take some pictures and to cover the story.

The point being, in the previous example, is that altruistic marketing offers some great PR opportunities - and the media coverage is free! The key to making it work is to contact your local newspaper, radio and TV stations to give them a "heads up"!

Another interesting gambit is helping raise money for a person or an organization that has suffered a loss. One of the most popular ways to raise money is Crowdfunding

REMEMBER - Altruistic Marketing is about doing something good, creating goodwill – and gaining positive PR!


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