The importance of fundraising as an element of any social marketing campaign is a consideration that should not be overlooked. Many social marketing campaigns are developed by nonprofits and governmental organizations that recognize the value of the public good they are marketing but have no mechanism for capturing, leveraging or monetizing it in the same way that commercial marketing can. Therefore, such organizations are often dependent on foundation and government dollars for their campaigns…until recently.
In late 2010, a startup called LoudSauce entered the scene. Founded by entrepreneur Colin Mutchler and incubated at social venture accelerator Hub Ventures, LoudSauce has disrupted the social marketing landscape by introducing a crowd funding platform for marketing campaigns.
Many years before launching LoudSauce, Mutchler had worked at a national youth media network to build an authentic youth voice in the mass media. During this time, he noticed that the work he and others did in the nonprofit world was conspicuously absent from the public dialogue. In fact, it was totally absent from mainstream culture. It was then that Mutchler hatched an idea that would give small social ventures, nonprofits, and individuals a voice. After going to business school and leading global digital marketing campaigns with major brands, he leveraged his experience to launch LoudSauce.
The process begins with an individual or organization that has supporters that see the value in reaching an audience beyond the proverbial choir. LoudSauce provides a platform for securing deals on media opportunities, as well as a campaign page for the organizer to share their campaign creative and invite people to contribute. Contributors, which are called “amplifiers,” include a photo of themselves with their pledge, and are able to be highlighted on the actual ads at certain levels. Highlighting amplifiers is a technique that Mutchler has learned helps distinguish the campaign as authentic and people-powered, which also helps the target audience identify with the campaign. If the fundraising target is met, LoudSauce runs the media campaign, airing messages on GoogleTV, billboards and via a number of other promotional vehicles customized according to the target audience. If the fundraising target is not met, the money is returned to the donors.
The Secret Sauce
The power of the LoudSauce platform is that its marketing offering is twofold. First, the crowd funding activity itself involves galvanizing supporters in the process of feeding the campaign, which tends to build social media buzz and press like all crowd funding campaigns. However, the bonus comes when the actual external marketing runs. The ultimate objective for many LoudSauce campaigns is to reach a much wider audience than is usually reached. When 168 funders are able to help reach 3.2m viewers on national television (as with a LoudSauce campaign this fall), it becomes clear that crowd funded media buying is much more powerful than simply trusting that your social media campaign is going to “go viral.” Mutchler believes the double impact of earned and bought media is one of LoudSauces greatest strengths.
How does this relate to social marketing?
While Mutchler emphasizes that LoudSauce does not push a specific political agenda, the offering inherently lends itself to a certain type of marketing – social marketing, that is. Individuals are not likely to be inclined to donate their milk money to a marketing campaign launched by Chevron or Facebook, nor are such entities likely to utilize LoudSauce as a medium for communicating their message. The offering is targeted toward individuals, artists, and organizations that have something important to say but do not have the means necessary to reach millions. The LoudSauce platform offers such a means through crowd funded media buying. In this sense, LoudSauce is an embodiment of marketing that is “of the people, for the people, and by the people,” as social marketing should be.