Cause marketing is taking off, with social networks like Facebook and Twitter providing the fuel, and companies are repositioning themselves to take advantage of these new marketing dollars. Peter Jackson, A silicon Valley veteran who was the CEO of Granite Systems and Intraware in the 1990s and sits on Eventbrite’s board, is putting on his CEO hat again to take the reigns at the Experience Project. The company, which also runs Twitcause and Broadcause, is in the midst of raising $2 million from D.E. Shaw and other investors.
The Experience Project is a niche site that draws a loyal 4.5 million people a month who talk about their life experiences in 300,000 different groups. It started out as a place for MS patients to share what they are going through with each other, but soon expanded to every imaginable type of group from health and education to hobbies and relationships. Typical groups things like I Want To Be More Green or I Love Weird Movies. The site also attracts its fair share of adult content that Jackson wants to clean up.
But the core audience of the Experience Project are people who care deeply about a particular topic and want to share their experiences with others in a place where they can make emotional connections. The site feeds into Twitcause, which alerts followers about new causes, and more recently Broadcause.
Broadcause is really the future of the company. It just rolled out a redesign today (see screenshot below). Broadcause features one cause a week and tries to spread word on Twitter (through Twitcause), the Experience Project, and Facebook. It uses social channels to spread awareness of different causes, and brand marketers who want to align with those causes pay to sponsor different campaigns.
American Express recently used Broadcause to promote its Members Project, and Broadcause was able to generate nearly 5,000 retweets. While that may not sound like a lot, it is more than ten times as much as Ellen DeGeneres, who also supported the cause on Twitter, was able to generate. It was able to do this despite having only one tenth as many followers as DeGeneres, who has 5.7 million followers on Twitter versus 564,000 for Twitcause.
Jackson wants to build out better tools for cause marketers to launch and measure their campaigns. If cause marketing keeps growing, it could be a good bet. If it turns into a fad, well, I’m sure there will be a group bemoaning its loss on the Experience Project.