For more than 20 years we’ve believed that sponsorship is based on The Implied Debt of Gratitude. You sponsor my slo-pitch tournament with prizes and a hospitality tent and I’ll drink your beer. You help my fundraising gala and I’ll shop at your store.
A simple but effective principle: Low-resistance trial opportunities convert to regular usage following value-add inducements. The act of “thank you” is parlayed into new business.
Gratitude is a profoundly strong marketing lever. James Ceaser (visiting Fellow at Stanford’s Hoover Institution) codifies it “…[Gratitude] is an objective standard — hence such well-known phrases as ‘showing gratitude,’ or more strongly, ‘paying a debt of gratitude.’ Gratitude has a social aspect and is incomplete if it does not include the act of acknowledgment.”
But does it scale?
Social Marketing scales, but is it powerful enough to leverage the Debt?
The Turning Point Social Marketing National Excellence Collaborative thinks so. They believe that social media can influence behaviour to produce positive health outcomes on a large scale.
Turning Point’s objective is to strengthen the public health system by making it more community-based and collaborative. They report on social marketing’s ability to improve the quality of life for individuals and communities through simple, effective and inexpensive programs. They believe it works.
From a dozen case studies they advance a notion akin to our gratitude principle: “…success includes understanding the concept of EXCHANGE; you must offer your audience something very appealing in return for changing behaviour.”
There’s the rub. Social Marketing scales and taps into The Implied Debt of Gratitude, with positive outcomes as the result. How you offer your audience something very appealing is where the true marketing skill comes into play.
See Also: "Pivotal Social"