iGive.com Focuses Campaign at City Level

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iGive.com will begin city-by-city marketing campaigns next month to draw new consumers and causes to its e-commerce site.

Through iGive.com, a portion of every shopper's purchases up to 15 percent is given to the worthy cause the shopper selects.

The iGive.com mall has more than 195 popular online merchants, including eToys, CDnow and Amazon.com.

A series of local marketing programs to promote the site will kick off in April with the "Chicago Gives a Darn" campaign. The effort is expected to include direct marketing, e-mail marketing, television and radio.

"We're going to be swarming the Chicago market. We're starting there since it's our own backyard," said Paul Bryant, chief marketing officer at iGive.com, Evanston, IL. "The approach is that everything we do is focused on getting as local as we can. We're applying every discipline that we feel is appropriate in this market."

To sell the site to the cause community in Chicago, iGive.com will send a direct mailing to 150,000 consumers and 25,000 local causes.

The offer will enable any consumer who makes a purchase from the site within a specified time frame to give $15 to the cause of their choice plus the site's percentage donation of the purchase price. Members of the site's 600,000-person database will receive a similar offer. The lists include registered site members plus lists provided from a number of charities.

At press time, the site was considering local cable buys. However, radio spots in local markets will play a large part in the campaign, which is focused on being entertaining vs. heavy-handed, said Bryant. "We're going for entertainment. We want to try to develop a following for the spots."

The site's other marketing efforts are meant to be tongue-in-check. For example, a 6-foot dandelion named Iggy makes appearances at local charity events to promote the site.

"Traditionally, this type of marketing has been very dry and serious because the causes are serious and they need your support," said Bryant.

The campaign will be adapted and improved as it moves from city to city. "We're going to take a learning approach, refine the plan and try different tools," said Bryant.

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