3 Ways Giving Tuesday Puts a Twist on Traditional Holiday Marketing

November 9th, 2012 by

Want an alternative to waking up at 4:00AM to stand in line on Black Friday?

Giving Tuesday, a day dedicated to giving back and creating awareness for philanthropic activities supporting nonprofit organizations, will celebrate its inauguration on Tuesday, November 27, 2012.  Created by 92nd Street Y,  a nonprofit community and cultural center in New York City, Giving Tuesday will signal the opening day of the giving season and aspires to be an annual, national day.  The genesis of Giving Tuesday hatched from a simple idea – there’s a day for giving thanks and two days for shopping, so why not a day for giving?

Molded in the likeness of Black Friday and Cyber Monday, Giving Tuesday puts a twist on traditional holiday marketing in three ways – by creating a new call to action, by marketing with a unified voice, and by focusing on social media marketing.

A New Call to Action

Black Friday and Cyber Monday share the same call to action – Spend.  These “shopping holidays” are focused on commerce and consumerism, and retail marketers create a sense of urgency leading up to these one-day-only events in order to ignite a spending frenzy amongst consumers.

Giving Tuesday’s call to action – Give – is the antithesis of Spend.  By encouraging individuals, families, businesses and nonprofits to volunteer, raise funds, and create awareness for philanthropy on a global level, Giving Tuesday’s call to action is unique because amongst all of the consumerist marketing saturating the media, a refreshing alternative is provided – an enriched life opportunity.  Following the massive marketing campaigns surrounding Black Friday and Cyber Monday, Giving Tuesday is a great reminder that the holiday season should be about giving back and not just consumerism.

Marketing With A Unified Voice

Traditional holiday marketing is competitive.  Retailers compete to offer the lowest pricing or longest store hours.  Walmart battles Best Buy, Best Buy battles Amazon, and so on throughout the market.  Competition results in a tougher decision making process, because one wants to be sure to make the “right choice” about the TV they buy, and not a regretful one. 

Giving Tuesday has a singular goal – to give back – and thus, all participants share the same marketing objective – to spread the message.  Unified support of a single cause leads to clearer messaging – participating in Giving Tuesday is good no matter how one participates.  This unified marketing message creates an overall sense of solidarity but gives the participants freedom of choice on how to give back – there is no right or wrong decision, and there is no regret for choosing this charity over that one.  By making it clear that any form of participation is the right choice, Giving Tuesday should be able to attract a large and wide range of participants. 

Social Media Focus

Due to the urgency of the one-day-only Black Friday and Cyber Monday, retail marketers must spend big budgets to saturate every conceivable medium – from pint to TV.  Social media is the sole force behind Giving Tuesday’s marketing, and the capacity for sharing and spreading messages at low cost are the key benefits.

Giving Tuesday’s website, http://givingtuesday.org, is a powerful, centralized, tool, providing participants with ways to get involved, and resources to build support and awareness.  One can sign up to be a Social Media Ambassador and receive special messages to tweet and share, research chartities, or view the growing list of influential partners, see how they are contributing, and share their message on Facebook or Twitter.  The transparency of Giving Tuesday’s message on social media is encouraging because it allows for deep and direct interaction between partnering organizations, donors, and those receiving donations.

A singular hashtag - #GivingTuesday – is being promoted on Twitter to focus the sharing efforts, and bloggers are promoting the movement on high-profile sites like Forbes and Mashable.  As a result of the flourishing social media campaign, 200 organizations have joined the cause only two weeks after Giving Tuesday’s public launch.

So far, Giving Tuesday is making a lot of noise across the internet; following in the wake of Black Friday and Cyber Monday, it will be interesting to see if that noise translates into action.