CoreMedia Tracks New Direct-Response Metric: The Philanthropic Conversions Of Agencies, Planners

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When Madison Avenue’s top direct-response marketers and agencies want to track the effectiveness of their media, many turn to Core Media Systems, the Fairfield, NJ-based technology firm that supports much of the direct-response media industry. When CoreMedia wanted to maximize the return on an ambitious philanthropic investment, it turned back to its clients, and some of its biggest suppliers.

The investment, a benefit concert featuring recording artists O.A.R. that will be held the evening of May 24 in New York City’s Hammerstein Ballroom, to raise money for The Good Tidings Foundation, is being completely underwritten by CoreMedia to celebrate the company’s 20th anniversary. The return – sponsorships from clients and suppliers, as well as personal contributions from the Millennial generation media planners and buyers expected to attend – is expected to raise as much as $300,000, or about 3% of the Los Angeles-based charity’s 2013 operating budget.

“The conversion rate,” says CoreMedia Founder-CEO Glenn DeKraker, was “90%.”

“We’re a direct-response-oriented company, so we had to come up with a metric to measure our performance,” he adds.

The 90% conversion, however, is only the direct ROI base on the clients and vendors who pledged to sponsor the event -- companies including Publicis’ ZenithOptimedia Group, Omnicom’s Omnicom Media Group, Chief Media, InterMedia, Active Media’s ActiveCares unit, Comcast’s AdDelivery and Spotlight units, and Google –- but DeKraker says the big payoff will come from directly impacting the long-term behavior of the Millennials expected to attend the event.

“If I can convert 100 of these 700 Millennials into philanthropy, that would be great,” he says, sharing a self-deprecating content strategy designed to do just that.

“Instead of a 57-year-old getting up and talking to Millennials, it will be a 32-year-old lead singer [O.A.R.] doing it,” he says, adding that the event will have only about “five or six minutes” to make that conversion, and that he figured O.A.R.’s Marc Roberge would be better than DeKraker himself in delivering it.

The cause-related campaign is not the first for CoreMedia or O.A.R. The band is known of its ongoing support of the Heard The World Fund, and CoreMedia has used its previous anniversary’s -- its 10th, 15th and 16th -- to create events around supporting important charities. Most of those previous ones were big, global charities like Bono’s Project Red, which CoreMedia’s support was only a small contributor to. For The Good Tidings Foundation, CoreMedia’s support will be a material contributor to its ability to expand beyond Los Angeles to help other underserved communities in the U.S. The charity supports academic, cultural and athletic programs in inner city communities, and DeKraker says every dollar raised goes back into the community.

While CoreMedia is absorbing the entire cost of the event itself, DeKraker concedes there will be some indirect return for the technology firm -- the intangible brand benefit of its clients associating it with its philanthropic work.

DeKraker says the idea for this event started in 2007, when he was backstage with his daughter meeting O.A.R after a performance, and while it took five years to bring to life, he says he is already planning something big to celebrate CoreMedia’s 25th anniversary.

“I have an idea,” he says.

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