I recently interviewed Talia Schwartz, the CEO of Inpex, which is a cause marketing agency based in New York about her business. Here is the interview.
1) How long has your cause marketing company been in business? What was the inspiration for starting this business?
INPEx is a family run business that was founded by my father, Mal Schwartz, over 30 years ago. We are one of the leading cause marketing companies, and essentially started this industry 30 years ago. As he was growing up, his parents owned their own printing and direct mailing business. My father learned from them the value of owning your own business, doing something that provided tremendous value to your clients, and working hard every day to support your family and make a good life for your children. Combine that with what can only be described as a good soul, and the cause marketing agency was born – way before its time.
2) Unpack cause marketing for me. How does it help brands? What is it exactly?
Cause Marketing encompasses a wide variety of commercial activity that aligns a company or brand with a cause to generate business and societal benefits. The key differentiator from “philanthropy” or “charity” is that, in cause marketing, the company works with a cause in a way creates BOTH social impact AND strategic business benefits for the brand. This can take place in many ways.
Most people are familiar with donating at the register – that is one form of cause marketing, called a “transactional campaign.” However, there are many other ways that companies and causes work together for mutual benefit. For example, our client Zoetis, created the Zoetis For Shelters Program to offer significant discounts on life-saving vaccines to thousands of local, independent animal shelters across the country.
This beloved program saves shelters about $4,500 a year, freeing up funds they can use to help more pets find loving homes. The program builds tremendous good will in the pet welfare community and with pet adopters/consumers and also creates a sustainable revenue stream for the company. INPEx is very proud to say that our Tech~Touch ® system has helped this Cause Marketing Forum Halo Award-winning program save animal shelters over $20,000,000+ to date all while creating strategic business benefits for the client.
Cause marketing partnerships and programs offer companies the opportunity to build emotional connection with consumers and employees. Studies have long proven that cause marketing can increase brand loyalty, influence purchasing decisions, create employee engagement value, and attract and retain Millennials.
Check out our blog Power of Local and sign up for our eNewsletter to receive the expert guidance you need to make cause marketing work you’re your company.
3) Tell me how you help companies?
At INPEx we are masters of the strategies and technology needed to connect brands to people’s hearts, in thousands of neighborhoods, consistently – without breaking the bank. We call it Tech~Touch and local activation at scale, and our clients call it measurable ROI, triple-digit growth, and social impact. It means something unique to every company – what sets us apart from other cause marketing agencies is that our solutions are always custom and tailored to the specific needs of a company, brand, or nonprofit cause. No two solutions are the same, but they all make the world a better place AND create return on investment for our clients.
4) What is your ideal client? Can any big brand benefit from this? Who is ideal?
With a customized, strategic approach most companies can benefit from cause marketing because, more than ever, consumers and employees are demanding that companies find ways make positive change in the community.
As you can see from our client list, we tend to work with large companies that are interested in optimizing their return on investment by scaling up the activation of their cause-related programs to thousands of neighborhoods across the country and around the globe. In the past doing so had typically been very challenging logistically and was cost prohibitive. INPEx has solved those problems with our Tech~Touch system which continues to deliver triple-digit growth for our clients.
5) Can you talk of a case study of a client who achieved great results with the help of your business?
Jockey International has a foundation called Jockey Being Family that is committed to helping strengthen adoptive families for successful futures through various cause marketing programs and philanthropic events. Jockey Being Family came to INPEx with a desire to find an affordable and feasible way to rapidly scale up their Jockey Being
Family Backpack Program from a regional pilot project to a national program with the ability to serve 50,000 adoptive families each year.
So, INPEx provided a multi-phase tactical plan and new strategic approach to overcoming the logistical and financial challenges Jockey had faced with on-boarding adoption agency partners nationwide, managing the fulfillment process and achieving national program scale.
A Tech-Touch® portal-based approach was implemented with multiple stakeholder interfaces, effective automated workflows, and reporting (the Tech) and is supported by a team of our experienced relationship managers trained in the nuances of large scale, local community focused, cause based programs (the Touch).
Within two months of launching our Tech-Touch portal we’ve achieved national program expansion, secured registration and participation from adoption agency partners (304% increase) in all 50 states (178% increase), and doubled mission delivery with a 111% increase in backpack and post-adoption resources parent tote orders.
Talk about scaling up. And this year, we are on track to double it!
6) Walk me through the process of how you work with a company to help them?
While some clients come to us knowing exactly what they want to do – whether it’s taking a headquarters-based program national, or creating a custom portal to engage their nonprofit partners or employees – most of our cause marketing clients begin by engaging INPEx to create a Strategic Action Plan (SAP). Our SAP process uncovers the unique nature of our client’s unique opportunities, needs, and goals and yields a deliverable chock full of baseline research, creative analysis, and a recommended scope of work with implementation options.
Programs of the size and nature that we specialize in, especially the ones rooted in thousands of local communities, need this essential strategic and proactive approach that illuminates how to structure and execute a realistic program that will motivate people to participate and lay a strong foundation for success and ROI. For a little more context, check out my blog post The Reality of Cause Partnership Activation: Fail to Plan, Plan to Fail.
7) How can people reach you if they want to learn more?
They can reach out to me directly at email@example.com if they want to discuss our services or chat about ways INPEx may be able to help them start cause programs or scale up existing cause programs. Our blog, Power of Local, has a ton of great content and we have 9 cause marketing case studies from our clients that can serve as inspiration and give real life examples of cause marketing and employee engagement success stories. We are
always happy to chat!by