By Hannah Tomlinson | DEPUTY COUNSEL
There is a certain store that I love to visit. The store’s products are high quality and always beautifully packaged with shimmery accents and fine papers. I love how the warm glow of recessed lights bathe the colorful displays and make it fun to wander the aisles and soak in the beauty. I usually come with a plan to get my freebie and maybe purchase an item or two. Inevitably, I leave with more than I came for! I laugh because the context is bath soap and home décor, but I’m no fool. A very talented, thoughtful group of marketing professionals had guided me to that store with a monthly mailing, welcomed me in with a free sample, and then offered me piles of products that I hadn’t known existed, much less needed, until I was already in the store.
What does the nation’s largest abortion provider have in common with a successful high-end soap peddler? They both know their market, and they are both marketing effectively.
Here are two examples of how Planned Parenthood uses effective marketing strategies to build its client base and boost sales.
Planned Parenthood is pink and proud on the streets, yet the main color of its website is that clean and welcoming health-care blue. The people in its pictures look happy and healthy, both men and women. The brand’s official slogan is “Care. No Matter What.” The statement is a challenge to others at the same time as an expression of how Planned Parenthood views what it does. The brand encompasses strength, compassion, and humanity. It gives off a positive energy!
Based on the most prominent features of the organization’s website, the target market of Planned Parenthood is sexually active young people, especially young women, and by association their parents and educators. The homepage offers birth control, testing for STDs, information about insurance, and “medically accurate” information to help young people understand their “sexual health.” The site also has links to vendors whose sales (of condoms and branded apparel) support Planned Parenthood. High up in the site organization are opportunities to “get involved” and “donate,” both offering an opportunity to take ownership in this brand and community. People are more likely to support a product when they are personally invested.
Follow this link for examples of Planned Parenthood Marketing Campaigns:
The Fruits of Effective Marketing
Most people don’t realize the effect of good marketing on their choices, they just know THAT THING is what they need for THAT PURPOSE. In fact, the reason a woman visits Planned Parenthood the first time may be different from the products she ultimately leaves with. She may have contacted a women’s center simply for a health checkup before her wedding. She may have flipped channels looking for a fun show. She may have clicked a link to get some dating tips. What she ended up with was tailored product placement, offered by smart professionals and recommended by someone who could be their best friend.
For that matter, her best friend may have been the first to tell her about it. When a person believes in a product, she will talk about it – you have heard of word of mouth advertising! Believing in a product could mean the product proponent has used it for years with great success, or she just saw a catchy ad last week, or she got a free T-shirt for promising to tell a friend. Recently one girl made a video about her abortion to win a contest in Cosmopolitan magazine. It’s marketing, plain and simple – and effective.
The truth is, women don’t need abortion. Abortion is an expensive product (adoption alternatives can be free!) that is brilliantly marketed and sold as freedom, health, empowerment, safety, and community. Many believe it, and advocate for the brand they love because of those things it represents. Few pause to ask themselves if the actual product measures up to the ads. The stuff they don’t tell you may change your mind, and you can read more about that here: http://www.humanlife.org/publications/PP_Final.pdf
The good news for women is that the Choice Market does offer alternatives to buying an abortion. Healthier alternatives! Perhaps these other options just aren’t marketed as well. We should fix that.
If you know someone who wants some other options, tell her to go shopping! Here are several organizations that offer complete care for a pregnant woman and her unborn child:
Hannah Tomlinson is a North Carolina attorney currently serving as Deputy Counsel of the Amistad Journey. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.