May 28, 2020
Case Study

8 Mini Case Studies of Using Marketing as a Force for Positive Change in Our World While Getting Results for Your Company and Clients


I’m not an elementary school teacher, a solar photovoltaic installer or a nurse.

I’m a marketer. Which some may say is not as altruistic of a profession.

But I’m also a human.

And so I don’t want my professional work to have a negative impact on the world. Quite the opposite.

If you feel the same way, I hope you can find inspiration from this article.

Read on for specific examples from a restaurant, an insurance agency, pre-paid cell phone carrier, radio stations, reading, writing and fanfiction site, marketing and advertising company, addiction treatment centers, and travel management company.

by Daniel Burstein, Senior Director, Content & Marketing, MarketingSherpa and MECLABS Institute

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(As seen in the MarketingSherpa newsletter. Click to get a free email subscription to the latest from MarketingSherpa.)

In this article, you’ll see a range of case studies. Some show altruistic campaigns that had significant positive impacts on people, families, companies, society or the world at large.

Some mini case studies simply show a campaign that was clearly focused on selling a product or getting a lift but did so in a positive way that benefited the customer.

This is intentional. There is probably a wide range of CMOs, marketing VPs, directors, managers and agency folk reading this article right now. You may have a vast portfolio with enormous budgets and power that can have a world-rattling positive impact while you get results for your brand. Or you may simply have the ability to create an email campaign that better serves your customer.

Either way, it’s your career. You choose how it impacts the world every hour of every day. Here are examples meant to show you how you can use the power of marketing as a force for positive change in our world while getting results for your company and growing your career.

I also wanted to note: While most of these examples have a COVID-19 element, this isn’t meant to be an article about reacting to COVID-19. We’ve already written plenty of those (like The Hidden Upside and Pivot your Value Prop). The reason you’ll see the pandemic reflected in so many of these mini case studies is that the novel coronavirus affects everything these days. You just can’t get away from it. The article is meant to help you during these current times, of course, but inspire you to think beyond them, while building the legacy of your career every single day.

Mini Case Study #1: 638% more calls to multi-carrier insurance agency by helping customers understand value of the call

Some people think that marketers can only have a positive impact if they work for a charity or nonprofit.

However, most people reading this article live in a society where capitalism plays a significant role — which means, customers are making choices every week, every day, even every hour.

For those who work in marketing, you have an impact on customers and potential customers if you help them make a well-informed choice.

An example. I interviewed Denis Mrkva, General Manager, HealthSpire. He discussed the lengths he went to creating a call center filled with teleagents dedicated to helping seniors and their families make the best Medicare choice. In the United States, when a citizen turns 65-years-old, they are eligible to receive significant healthcare benefits subsidized by the federal government. However, the choices are complex and can vary greatly based on an individual’s specific situation — what health conditions they have, what medications they take, even how much they travel.

“We're trying to find the right solution for the customer. And if there is no right solution for the customer with us, we will not sell,” Mrkva told me.

“Actually, we'll recommend either stay with what you have, or maybe you should go and call other providers that have a product because we can help them find the better product. Even though we cannot sell to them, we can tell them there is … company X [that] has this product, so you may want to go to this site,” he said. “It's human nature. Our nature is to help somebody. So we need to enable people to be people in the workplace. If you have the right people and if you make them happy and content, our customers will be happy and content.”

However, the potential customer will not watch my interview with Mrkva. The potential customer’s family has no idea what value Mrkva has created with the teleagent team he has built, and what value the potential customer can receive from a phone call.

All they see is a webpage. And based on that webpage they make a choice — to call, or not to call.

Mrkva worked with MECLABS Research Services to determine the best way to communicate the call’s value on a landing page. (MECLABS Institute is the parent organization of MarketingSherpa).

One of the treatments was long, to communicate the value of the call with a teleagent.

Creative Sample #1: Longer landing page treatment for insurance agency

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But there was also concern that potential customers wouldn’t want to read a long landing page, so a shorter page was tested as well.

Creative Sample #2: Shorter landing page treatment for insurance agency

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The longer landing page attracted 638% more potential customers to call and speak to teleagents than the shorter page. Why did a longer page work? It likely took a longer landing page to communicate the value of the call with the teleagent and reduce anxiety about the call.

In the MarketingExperiments session The Marketer as Philosopher: 3 ways to achieve excellence in yourself and in your marketing, Flint McGlaughlin, CEO and Managing Director, MECLABS Institute, goes deeper into Mrkva’s story and his passion for communicating the high-quality insurance available at affordable prices to seniors through this government program. McGlaughlin also discusses how the marketer can escape the negative connotation of the role and embrace the power of marketing as a force for positive change in our world.

Mini Case Study #2: Giving away the marketing budget generates 5.5 million impressions for cell phone carrier

When you get your marketing budget, you want to be prudent with how you invest the company’s resources, especially in these difficult times.

Not Visible. The pre-paid cell phone carrier just gave the marketing budget away — like Drake filming a music video.

I’m being a little sarcastic of course. Let me explain this unique campaign. In response to the devastation wrought by COVID-19, the all-digital wireless carrier launched its #VisibleActsOfKindess campaign on Twitter and Instagram. Visible surprised 1,000 people — not just their customers — by giving them $250 Amazon gift cards. Do the math, that adds up to $250,000.

Visible partnered with several known names in various industries, like Michael Voltaggio and P.K. Subban, to roll out the campaign.

“Partnering with some of the influential folks who participated in #VisibleActsofKindness — such as Dan Levy, Padma Lakshmi, Emeril Lagasse — helped us reach more of the people who wanted to tell their stories in an authentic, powerful and speedy way. Because of our premise of wanting to extend our help when and where it mattered the most and the desire to amplify and highlight these amazing stories, many of our partners were quick to say yes,” said Minjae Ormes, CMO, Visible.

Creative Sample #3: Twitter post by actor Dan Levy as part of cell phone carrier’s social media campaign

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In addition to the $250 gift card, recipients received a letter that read, “In tough times, it’s important for us to step up for our community. Thanks for sharing your story with us, and let’s continue to spread kindness together.”

Beautiful campaign, eh? But I had to get to the bottom of it. We had just finished creating our free template to help you win approval for proposed projects, campaigns and ideas, and the most burning question I had was — how on Earth did you get approval for this?

“While it was a shift in our investment strategy, it was not a departure from how we aspire to show up as a brand throughout the year, no matter what,” Ormes told me. “So the conversation with Miguel (Miguel Quiroga, CEO, Visible) was not a difficult one. I’m very fortunate to have a strong relationship with my CEO based on trust and our alignment of vision. The opportunity as a brand to earn the right to be a part of the types of conversations and gestures happening around #VisibleActsofKindness is one that we could not pass up, and it helped us establish some new relationships in an authentic and meaningful way.”

A whole lot of new relationships in an authentic and meaningful way. So much, in fact, that Visible’s social team was briefly flagged for potentially fraudulent activities on Instagram because of the sheer volume of genuine engagement it had while monitoring its brand and influencer partner accounts.

The campaign generated more than 5.5 million impressions and nearly 2 million genuine, meaningful engagements in just a couple of weeks.

“Our goal was to simply show up as a brand that people would want to get to know more because of the way in which we help people and showcase positivity. We’ve even had people who reached out and said they switched their phone service to Visible because of this initiative,” Ormes said.

While this article is not intended to be about COVID-19 alone, the timing of this article is not coincidental. We are always affected and inspired by our times. Marketers have been challenged in this time by trying to understand exactly how hard of a sell to push.

Many have chosen a similar path as Visible — don’t sell, serve. Be a force for positive change in our world. The strategy goes like this: When the timing is right, either if they have the need now or when the customer is ready to spend again, they’ll remember your brand.

Creative Sample #4: Engagement by cell phone carrier as part of social media campaign

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The point of this story isn’t to encourage you to give your marketing budget away. But right now, you likely have a CPA (cost per acquisition) number on a spreadsheet somewhere. Are you spending that money in a way that is a force for positive change in your customer’s world? Hopefully, this story helps spark your thinking for how you can do that.

“I am every single day humbled and reminded that the role of marketers is to earn the right to be in someone’s world. Since we are a new brand, we don’t get to assume that everyone knows who we are, we don’t get to assume that everyone has a relationship with us, and we don’t get to assume that they will automatically decide that we deserve their attention, which means that it comes down to every single place that we show up at and also more importantly how we show up, become proof points to the customer that they should have a relationship with us,” Ormes said.

“I think that we all as marketers can learn something from waking up every single day and feeling that today is another day for me to do something to earn my right to be in your world.  So how does that actually change the way for you to show up, for you to prioritize your day, above and beyond what you are trying to sell? I know we are all trying to sell something but at the end of the day, if you can prove that you have the right to be in that person’s world, that will go above and beyond your product, your brand and your company,” she advised.

Mini Case Study #3: Reading, writing and fanfiction site generates hundreds of hours of watch time on video series

What the heck is this thing called marketing anyway? If you ask Google to define it, you will be told, “the action or business of promoting and selling products or services, including market research and advertising.”

Promoting and selling, eh Google? And that is probably how most people in the world, especially customers would define it.

But here is how the American Marketing Association defines the term:

“Marketing is the activity, set of institutions, and processes for creating, communicating, delivering, and exchanging offerings that have value for customers, clients, partners, and society at large.”

Offerings that have value for customers. For society at large even.

I like that definition, and not just for altruistic reasons and to make us marketers feel all warm and fuzzy about what we do. Think of it this way. Sure, you could go around just promoting and selling. Let’s see how far that gets you in the world, okay? Yeah, it may work sometimes. But the jig is pretty much up, and customers mostly know when they’re just being promoted or sold to.

Offerings that have value. Now, that is what we all want in the world, isn’t it? And it’s a pretty expansive definition of the term marketing. So much so that when I offer to take my dog for a walk — that is an offering of value. (By the way, not trying to brag, but I have a perfect streak of a 100% conversion rate for 10 years on that one). If I offer to read a book with my kids, that is an offering of value to, but my conversion rate is far, far lower. Why? They don’t always perceive the value as much as I do.

And perception is the challenge. Marketing is a loaded word.

For example, Joanna Smith, Editor and Social Manager, Wired For Youth, wrote to me and said, “I was really impressed with Commaful’s Writing Advice campaign that they released recently. With everybody stuck at home due to COVID-19, Commaful put together a free writing tutorial series for anybody to use. You don't even need to be a user. I know a lot of people have shared the campaign and many teachers, parents and others have used it and shared it. All in all, a very useful resource that led to more exposure and reach for their site.”

Sounds interesting. So I reached out to the good folks at Commaful to get the story for you. But they were hesitant. “If possible, I do want to emphasize though that this wasn't intended as a marketing campaign,” Sydney Liu, Co-Founder, Commaful told me.

Fair enough. It certainly doesn’t fit the selling and promoting definition.

But they did create an offering of value. And it did bring them a result.

The team put together resources for young writers as well as the parents and teachers that use the site. “Many professional writers, published authors and screenwriters were very generous with their time and resources to help support our community of readers and writers who were hungry to learn. We had started working on it last year because it was something our community was asking for, but accelerated the release because we felt it was more needed than ever given the COVID-19 stay-at-home situation we are all in,” Liu said.

Creative Sample #5: Writing advice campaign from writing website

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With very little promotion, the advice videos have totaled hundreds of hours of watch time already, and the team has heard very positive feedback from teachers, students and others, many who had never heard of Commaful before.

Mini Case Study #4: Lead attribution and online banner ads help radio stations donate more than 5 million meals to those in need

Listen folks, I’ve been doing this a long time. So when I started looking for stories for this article, I had my assumptions about which marketing tactics this article was going to cover:

Landing page optimization to better communicate value —that’s a given.

Content marketing — probably more than one mini case study.

Better ad targeting — of course.

But lead attribution?

Valuable tactic? Absolutely. But it’s boring, behind the scenes, and has little direct correlation to bring about positive change for people. At least, that was that my assumption.

If you’ve had similar assumptions, check out this next story.

In just three weeks, the radio industry pulled together for RadioCares, a day-long radiothon to raise money for Feeding America. 300 artists and celebrities did voice appeals, 3,400 radio stations participated, and the stations’ on-air talent broadcasted from their homes.

That was a major initiative. The small and independent radio stations had never come together like this on a national scale, and it’s rare to get two competitive radio stations together in the same city to support an initiative.

But Ron Stone, President & CEO, Adams Radio Group, was the Operations Chair for the radiothon and led the effort to pull stations together. He leveraged the stations’ competitive nature to amplify his already motivated radio industry colleagues.

He partnered with LeadsRX, which used its marketing attribution technology to create a nationwide heatmap showing where donations were coming from. This spurred a little friendly competition for stations and listeners to see which metro areas could generate the most donations.

Creative Sample #6: Lead attribution heatmap showing which metro areas were donating the most to radiothon

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Creative Sample #7: Part of infographic from lead attribution company for radiothon

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Stone’s all-volunteer team created a portal with radio assets that participating stations could use.

For example, the portal included artist liners with promotional messages from recording artists. One message said, “Hey, it’s Brian from Weezer. As the COVID-19 pandemic continues here at home, battling hunger has become harder than ever. We should all come together as a community to help our neighbors in need by donating now at”

Dave “Chachi” Denes, President, Benztown, produced promotional voice spots stations could use. And Mike McVay, President, McVay Media Consulting, wrote a content guide of how to do a radiothon.

Creative Sample #8: Portal for radio stations participating in radiothon

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Also included in the portal were online banners, branding and videos. Those online banner display ads, which are normally lower-performing mediums, out-performed all other marketing programs for this event, according to AJ Brown, CEO and co-founder, LeadsRx. Specifically, these ads were placed on the radio station websites and led to more conversions than social referrals and even organic search.

“The goal [of the banner ads] was simple, present a story that everyone could see themselves, their family, and/or friends in this tragic situation. It was a singular branding message ‘RadioCares Feeding America Emergency Radiothon,’ not just RadioCares. It was many brands — ‘RadioCares,’ ‘Feeding America,’ ‘Emergency Radiothon,’ and local radio station brands that had the deepest connections to the audience,” said Chris Peaslee, President and CEO, Vipology, who was in charge of website and digital for the radiothon.

The banner ads were animated and cycled through a message:

“12.3% of all Americans go hungry. An average person knows 600 people. Which means 74 people you know go hungry. Your kid’s schoolteacher, neighbor, teammate, barista, fellow Marine, hairstylist, friend, grandmother, uncle, sister, mother, brother, partner. It could be your child. Save them from hunger. Feeding America Emergency Radiothon. Donate Now.”

Creative Sample #9: Radiothon banner ad

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“It didn’t click at the time, but on the day of the event, money starts trickling in. At 2 p.m. there was around $300,000 in donations … it was a surprise how much money was flowing in,” said Ron Stone, President & CEO, Adams Radio Group.

All told, the radiothon raised $500,000 for Feeding America, which the nonprofit is using to serve five million meals to those in need. Since everyone who participated donated and supported the effort pro bono, the only expense was $9.67 Stone used to purchase a domain — generating one heck of a good ROI.

Mini Case Study #5: Marketing and advertising company grew website traffic 300% by helping clients manage COVID-19

One way brands can serve customers with their marketing is to help them navigate change in their industry. I’ll show you a COVID-19 example of this in just a moment, but I also wanted to link to an older case study on MarketingSherpa to show how this concept transcends our current society’s current all-encompassing focus on the novel coronavirus. For example, when healthcare reform was being implemented in the United States, Optum launched a content marketing campaign to help hospitals and healthcare systems keep up with the transformation in their industry, a campaign that generated closed contract revenue of $52 for every dollar invested.

Of course, COVID-19 is forcing transformation in every industry right at this moment.

“When the COVID-19 situation hit, our core audience, property managers of apartment buildings, found themselves on the front lines of managing both a transition to working from home but also managing buildings undergoing potential outbreaks. The responsibility of managing an apartment tower during this time suddenly shot up in complexity,” said Andrew Williams, Product Marketing Manager, Vertical City.

The company doesn’t manage apartment buildings, it sells advertising in elevators. But it saw an opportunity to use its content marketing to help its core audience while getting out its brand message. Vertical City was 50% remote before the outbreak, so it was very comfortable sharing knowledge on how to manage a remote team. The team created a webpage called “The ultimate guide to property management during COVID-19” that included tips for getting the job done with minimal human contact, tips for keeping the building safe, along with mentions of how its product can help.

Creative Sample #10: Content marketing from marketing and advertising company

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The team also created public health message designs for property managers to use in their buildings to promote healthy practices. The designs were made to be used on any screens, including the free lobby and elevator screens Vertical City gives to buildings in exchange for selling advertising on them.

Creative Sample #11: COVID-19 message for display on screens in buildings

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The content marketing campaign led to a 300% increase in website traffic over the previous quarter.

“We wanted to step up and make their lives easier. When it comes down to it, that should be what every organization is focused on doing for their clients at this time,” Williams said.

Mini Case Study #6: Business travel management company gains 200 subscribers by focusing content marketing campaign on human needs

When an industry goes through a transformation, it’s not just businesses going through the change, even in B2B.

It’s people.

Let’s not forget when we’re planning our B2B strategies that businesses are just a collection of people. And those people have greater concerns than just what business changes they need to make. These changes can affect them on a deeply personal level.

For example, as the COVID-19 pandemic spread, the travel industry was hit hard. Yes, there is a dollars-and-cents balance sheet effect from this, but there is also a very human impact. The danger, rapid changes, and uncertainty of this far-reaching international pandemic have been especially stressful for travel managers at large multinational companies — the ideal customer for travel management company Travel and Transport.

So the company decided to launch Boost TV, a video series with a wellbeing psychologist featuring videos on breathing, positive thinking and stretching to brighten up people’s lives.

Creative Sample #12: Landing page for travel management company content marketing campaign

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 “Faced with no travel demand and employees, customers and partners all struggling to adjust to lockdowns, social distancing and WFH (working from home), we partnered with Dr. Lucy Rattrie, a leading psychologist and traveler wellbeing expert, to create a video series specifically to help people survive and then begin to thrive during the Covid-19 pandemic. The video series is free for anyone to watch and doesn’t contain or reference any services or products we offer. It’s helped our customers, our own people, and feels good to be doing something positive right now,” said Josh Gunn, Head of Global Product and Digital Marketing, Travel and Transport.

After signing up for the video series on the landing page, subscribers receive a triggered email from Gunn with the subject line “You’re all set to join Boost TV by T&T!” The email reads …

Hi there,

Thanks so much for signing up.

Travel and Transport Boost TV is live and you can watch here!


While you're here, I have a quick favor to ask.

I know life is tough right now for most of us, but everyone's situation is different. That's why I'd truly love to know what personal and traveler wellbeing resources you're looking for right now.

Yes, this is an automated email, but I read absolutely every response and they get shared with Dr Rattrie as we create new videos and content to help you. Just hit reply and let me know.

If you're not sure what it is that you're looking for but would just like to share how you're feeling or grab a virtual coffee (black, two sugars, in case you're wondering) just say hello. I'm quite literally not going anywhere!

Stay safe, stay healthy, stay strong.

Talk soon,


The triggered email has seen a response rate of eight percent which is high for the company’s subscription confirmations.

While there is clearly a positive impact on the world with this effort, I asked Gunn for the business justification. After all, most marketers reading this article don’t have the luxury of doing good for the sake of doing good with their marketing budgets — they still have a business to support.

“In the past 18 months, the growing focus on personal wellbeing has focused attention on this area for our customers and prospects — business travel managers. We’ve already been making product and service updates to support this so extending that to video with [a] well-known figure in the industry was a logical step. We’ve also seen from ad industry data [from Unruly, a News Corp. Company] that after content that informs customers, the next thing they are looking for from brands is warm or funny content,” Gunn said.

While Gunn can’t attribute revenue to the campaign yet since the company’s average sales cycle is six to 12 months, in the three weeks since launching, the team has added more than 200 subscribers. Most subscribers are in its core target audience — business travel managers responsible for their company’s travel budgets. So far, the team has received 14 newly qualified leads via the Boost TV campaign.

They’ve also received positive feedback from the signup email like, “Thank you! This is an interesting approach to help your clients. I think it's possible we all may be dealing with some things we don't even realize!” and “This is a great thing you and the team and TandT are doing. I appreciate the commitment to focusing on things that matter and look forward to watching some of the content.”

Mini Case Study #7: Refining Google Ads match types helps addiction treatment centers advertise more ethically and profitably

In marketing, we use the word “lead.” I know it’s a convenient term I throw about without giving it much thought. I suppose the term originates from the fact that we hope a contact from this person leads to a sale.

But what is a “lead” really? Behind that form fill, behind that contact info in a database, is a person. A person who seeks to overcome a pain point or reach a goal.

In the addiction and mental health industry, a “lead” is a person who needs help, either for him- or herself or for a family member or other loved one.

“Because of the somewhat taboo nature of addiction and mental health treatment, the internet [is] the go-to source of information,” said John McGhee, Managing Partner, Webconsuls, who works with several companies in the industry.

When people searched for treatment or other answers, they also received Google Ads, of course. Some of these ads were deceptive — or at least, not as transparent as they could be.

“While some of this was intentional, a large portion of it wasn't. Many addiction and mental health treatment centers were using broad match keywords in Google Ads. As the name implies, a broad array of searches could trigger your ad if you use these types of keywords. For example, if your treatment center in Florida had a broad match keyword ‘rehab’ and someone searched ‘rehab in Michigan,’ your ad would show,” McGhee said.

To further fuel the issue, most centers didn't look at their search terms report and add negative keywords to prevent their ads from showing for irrelevant searches in the future.

In case you may be unknowingly doing the same thing with your ads, McGhee provided a few specific tips for how to use Google Ads. This applies to any industry.

Broad Match

  • No special symbol — can trigger ad for keyword, misspellings of keywords, synonyms, or related searches.

For example, if your keyword is Drug Rehab, a search for Rehabs Near Me will trigger the ad, but a search for Plumbers Near Me will not trigger the ad.

Broad Match Modifier

  • If you put a + sign in front of a keyword, Google Ads will only trigger your ad if all keywords with the + in front are included in a user’s search.

For example, if your keyword is +Drug +Rehab, a search for Drug Rehab in Texas will trigger your ad, but Alcohol Rehab in Texas will not.

Phrase Match

  • When you put quotes around a keyword or keywords, your ad will only trigger if the user’s search matches the phrase (although there can be additional words before or after).

For example, if your keyword is “Drug Rehab,” a search for Drug Rehab Center will trigger your ad, but Rehab for Drugs will not trigger your ad.

Exact Match

  • If you use brackets around a keyword or keywords, your ad will only be served up if a user searches for that exact term.

For example, if your keyword is [Drug Rehab], a search for Drug Rehab will trigger your ad, but a search for Texas Drug Rehab will not.

Negative Match

  • Using the same special symbols as previously mentioned, adding a term in the Negative Keyword Lists field will prevent your ad from showing for a search containing that term.

For example, if your keyword is +Drug +Rehab but you added “free” as a negative keyword, Drug Rehab in Texas will trigger your ad, but Free Drug Rehab In Texas will not.

Here’s an example of what using these match types would look like in your Google Ads account.

Creative sample #13: Example of match types usage in Google Ads account

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“The issue arose because most centers running Google Ads weren't aware of match types. Without knowledge of these, the logical thing to do in the keyword section is to just type in terms. Typing in the terms without symbols automatically enters them as broad match. Many centers entered a broad match keyword “drug rehab” — which meant a search for anything related to rehab could trigger their ad. This led to several instances of centers showing for searches for services they didn't provide, locations they weren't located, and even locations where no one is located,” McGhee said.

As an example, he showed the results for the following search on Google: drug rehab on mars

Creative sample #14: Example of irrelevant Google Ads because match types were not used correctly

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This meant many treatment centers' advertising was accidentally inaccurate.

“Broad match terms can be used, assuming the correct maintenance is being performed. Correct maintenance involves going through previous search terms and adding negative keywords to prevent irrelevant searches in the future,” he said.

You can access search terms by going to the Keywords section in Google ads and selecting Search terms in the right-hand column.

Creative Sample #15: Example from an addiction center’s account, also showing where to find your search terms in Google Ads

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The above example is from an addiction treatment center's account during the time period this issue was occurring. McGhee says the center should have added “rheumatoid arthritis” and “HIV” as negative keywords to prevent its ads from showing for these searches.

“The combination of lack of understanding of keyword match types and not adding negative keywords resulted in many centers accidentally misrepresenting themselves in their advertising. Shining light on this issue and how to remedy it helped those centers advertise more ethically and profitably, and helped get users more accurate information,” he said.

It helped the centers advertise more profitably because by using broad keywords each center was encroaching on the other’s territory. “Google Ads is an auction-based system, so accidentally advertising your Ohio center for ‘treatment in Florida’ drives up the price of a click for treatment centers that are actually in Florida,” McGhee said.

“We actually are getting better matches, therefore we [are] not wasting our ad dollars. We tend to advertise within driving distance to our campuses. If someone is looking for treatment in Oregon for example, we would not advertise there,” said Jay Crosson, CEO, Cumberland Heights Foundation.

And it was more ethical because it helped people find the treatment that they and their loved ones needed. “There was, and still is, a stigma associated with mental health or addiction. It's hard to seek help for something like that. If someone finally gets the courage to seek help, only to be confused by misinformation online, it's easy for them to back out of seeking help. [These efforts] make it easier for users to find the help they need, therefore making it more likely that they'll receive that help,” McGhee said.

“Recovery is based on principles of honesty. Misleading folks sets a bad example,” Crosson said.

Mini Case Study #8: Branded sushi roll gets 500 sales in eight months for restaurant, supports tree planting

People want to affect positive change in the world. You see it every day — through their volunteer work, their activism and their monetary choices.

At the same time, friction slows down and even stops our best intentions.

What if customers can do (at least some) good when purchasing products and services as they go through their day-to-day lives? Smart brands are tapping into this trend.

But you don’t have to work for a megabrand.

“As a sushi delivery service, we are damned to use a lot of plastic. I feel bad about it so I’m very open to compensate for that,” said is Karin Büttner, co-founder, I LOVE SUSHI.

“I read an article about the ETH Zürich Study about reforestation and the major impact we can have on climate change if we just plant enough trees,” Büttner said.

So the restaurant added a sushi roll called the TreeRoll to its menu. When a customer orders the TreeRoll, the complete profit goes to tree planting services that plant trees.

“With Treemer in Germany and with Click a Tree abroad, we have somebody very ambitious to plant lots of trees for our customers. Planting trees is a hard job and even if somebody realizes that it makes a real difference to plant a tree, it doesn’t mean this person will grab a shovel and start to plant trees. With the TreeRoll, we want to make planting trees super easy with no possible excuse not to plant trees,” she said.

So far the restaurant has sold 500 TreeRolls in eight months. “The majority of people want to change the world, but they are lazy. You always need to make it easy for them to change the world. Afterward, they will feel good about it. And isn’t that the main goal of marketing?” Büttner said.

And maybe that’s what the world needs more of — a little more marketing from people like you, seeking to be a positive force in the world.

“In my opinion, saving our planet is a marketing exercise in the end,” said Chris Kaiser, CEO & Founder, Click a Tree.

Related Resources

Customer-First Marketing Strategy: The highest of the five levels of marketing maturity

The Difference Between Marketing and Advertising (and Why It Matters)

The Marketer’s (Abbreviated) Guide to Love: How to overcome your own self-interest and become a better marketer

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