Counselor Commentary: Pink Takeover

Non-Profits Driving The Breast Cancer Awareness Business

Andy CohenIf it's October, it means the color pink is showing up nearly everywhere. Charity walks, sporting events, school outings – they're all completely geared up with pink paraphernalia designed to raise awareness of and money to help prevent breast cancer. In fact, the American Cancer Society has labeled October as Breast Cancer Awareness Month, and many are catching on. Take a look at National Football League games on Sunday. You'll see the color pink all over the fields – player cleats, towels, hats, gloves. Last weekend, the referees during games even threw pink flags every time they called a penalty.

The real driver of pink business as far as the promotional products market is concerned, though, are the bread and butter of the non-profit sector: live events. It's those 5K runs, charity walks, festivals, and so many of the other group gatherings you see every weekend in nearly every community this month that are helping to drive huge business. The American Cancer Society estimates that it gets about a fifth of its annual revenues in October, thanks to the many live events it sponsors and benefits from.

Distributors, too, are benefiting from the rise in non-profit marketing. In fact, about 5% of overall distributor revenues come from non-profit clients – a total of about $1 billion a year. There's an extension, though, of this sector that distributors should absolutely be looking to capitalize on: Live events. Nearly every industry today – not just in the non-profit sector – is looking to connect with their customers on a more relational, one-to-one basis, and this is happening in many cases through live event marketing.

A recent survey from research firm Towers Perrin estimates that the amount spent on live event marketing has grown by about 20% in the past three years alone. Even further, the number of companies that have implemented live events into their marketing plans over the past two years has grown by 25%. Of course, most of these companies are looking to have their constituents leave these live events with reminders and ad messages, and that's where promotional products come in. It's a pretty good bet that there's not a single marketing event happening today – including the ones surrounding Breast Cancer Awareness Month – in which attendees don't leave with a promotional item of some kind. Are you tapping into the vibrant live event market and discussing potential events with each and every one of your clients? You should be. That's where marketing is headed. Just look around you this month.