Marketing for a Better World

Fisher students and representatives from national and local nonprofits recently congregated to gain insights on how to effectively wield marketing skills for a positive impact on important social causes.

The knowledge was imparted at the third-annual “Marketing for a Better World” event, hosted by the Fisher Association of Marketing Professionals (AMP) with the support of Fisher Board Fellows.

“It’s a great opportunity for students to engage with local nonprofits, as well as larger nonprofit organizations, to learn about marketing from their perspective,” said Terry Klein Jr., a second-year MBA student and vice president of AMP.

“In class, we typically focus on for-profit companies and traditional business marketing practices. But nonprofits, and even for-profit companies with nonprofit or social responsibility initiatives, have to take a different approach or use different techniques for their marketing.”

Members of AMP, the MBA student marketing organization at the college, aligned with Fisher Board Fellows, a program that pairs MBA students with nonprofits. Students work alongside these boards on various projects, and the results are a win-win: students gain invaluable experience, and these organizations benefit from the extra help.

Dr. Robert Smith, an assistant professor in Fisher’s Department of Marketing and Logistics, helped kick off the event by speaking about research insights into charitable giving.

He summarized a variety of studies and shared an important discovery: People donate more money to single victims than multiple ones. He urged nonprofits to zero in their messaging on a particular person in crisis. This is infinitely more effective, he said, than rattling off statistics — no matter how alarming they may seem.

Vivek Iyer, a second-year MBA student, said he particularly enjoyed Smith’s session.

“This was a more holistic approach to our business education while we’re here in the school,” he said.

2017 AMP Marketing for a Better World 2; Shashi Matta
Clinical Associate Professor of Marketing Shashi Matta delivers remarks at the AMP Marketing for a Better World event.

The event also featured two keynote speakers.

The first was Emily Dimiero, a communications manager for Nestlé Corporate Affairs. She talked about how the company creates shared value, a concept where for-profit companies incorporate ways of conducting daily business that directly benefit people in need.

She said the company fundamentally believes that in order to be successful in the long term as a business they need to not only create value for shareholders, but also create value for society.

She discussed Nestlé’s five core areas of impact: nutrition, health and wellness; water; environment; responsible sourcing; and social impact. She also discussed how the company is telling that story and building brands with purpose at the core of its business.

Joe Thompson, who works in membership coordination at the Los Angeles headquarters of Team Rubicon USA, discussed the nonprofit organization’s mission of uniting the skills and experiences of military veterans with first responders in emergencies around the world.

He discussed the organization’s 2010 genesis, what marketing looked like at that time, and how word of mouth was its main form of building awareness. Thompson also illustrated the organization’s evolution in the years since its founding, including its storytelling techniques and shifting the spotlight from Team Rubicon USA’s founder to its 70,000-plus volunteers.

Additionally, this year’s event featured a panel discussion on shared value with representatives from Equality Ohio, CleanTurn, the National Hemophilia Foundation, Mid-Ohio Foodbank and BalletMet.

David Freel, a senior lecturer in Fisher’s Department of Management and Human Resources, moderated the discussion.

“We’re seeing younger generations are putting more emphasis upon community and values within the business sector as part of what they do and what they’re interested in,” Freel said. “Marketing surveys suggest that particularly millennials are much more interested in the ethical footprint of an organization.”

Klein said the Nestlé presentation highlighted shared value from a global perspective, while the panel looked at the topic from a local angle.

Michael Mahoney, also a second-year MBA student, said he enjoyed seeing faculty members pouring their time and talents into nonprofits and shared value.

“There’s all this great work that’s being done on these very important causes around Columbus, and sometimes in the day-to-day it’s easy to get myopic on our focus,” he said. “But to be reminded that there’s all these great causes out there you can support is important,” he said.

Paul Nierzwicki, president of AMP, agreed the event was a valuable educational experience.

“For business students, it’s helpful to see how marketing works for nonprofits and how the education we’re getting at Fisher can apply in a real-world setting,” he said.