Some FAQ's about
Marketing and Unions

WHO Might YOU Choose to Reach With a Prudent Marketing- Inspired Approach?


This would entail the clear identification of the target (from a single bargaining unit to a broad economic sector) and extensive research on their distinctive characteristics. Based on this insight, I would prepare with the union an itemized written organization plan for the elected officials' approval which would include advice on the implementation, follow-up and evaluation of the outcome. (More detailed information appears in an organizing example.)


YOU may decide that in a given unit or units, more members should be signed up, participation increased, or loyalty and satisfaction with the union reinforced. Various research methods and marketing techniques could provide YOU with the information necessary to draft a strategic plan to advise YOU on appropriate strategies to accomplish these goals.


Faced with a difficult conflict, YOU may be considering a boycott of an employer's product(s), service(s) or outlet(s). A thorough inventory of the target employer's marketing position and strategies is essential. From this would flow the elaboration of a counter-marketing plan aimed at diminishing the target employer's market share. YOU could then authorize a clearly focused boycott.

WHEN might YOU consider a marketing-based campaign?

When the circumstances, nature, size and consequences of the organizing campaign, boycott or consolidation operation that YOU are preparing justifies the extra time, further planning and manifestly additional monies involved.

WHERE might YOU apply such a marketing plan?

A city, a county, a province or right across Canada or the United States.

HOW could YOU determine whether a marketing approach is beneficial and relevant for your labour organization?

Contact Allen Gottheil. I will gladly meet with YOU to examine the situation (organization drive, consolidation project, boycott or other campaign). I will then submit to YOU, in writing, at absolutely no charge, a three to five page blueprint of what relevant services I could offer (and their benefits), a time frame for their performance and an estimate of the direct costs.

WHY should YOU consider hiring an "outsider"?

As an "outside" marketing consultant, I believe that I would be able to recommend innovative and imaginative approaches in many situations. Often, it can be a very distinct advantage to have someone with an uncommitted and unconventional perspective, who is "not" involved in the daily internal union routine, to suggest some novel and hopefully appropriate strategies.

When a labour union or federation contemplates committing resources to a major campaign I believe that I could be very helpful in the planning, the mechanics, the execution and the follow up of such a drive (or perhaps even in counselling against embarking on the proposed campaign). Independent marketing consultants are often brought in by profit-seeking companies to recommend innovative approaches to problems in which the "outsider" is viewed as someone who may not be able to see the trees but can have a constructive view of the forest.

It is important to point out that as someone who has already spent many years on the staff of a union, I am fully aware that unions already possess numerous resources that could be used to integrate many "marketing" considerations and techniques into their strategies and campaigns. I am also sensitive to the significant constraints on union budgets and should emphasize that the marketing approaches being suggested should not necessarily be equated with hundred thousand dollar budgets.

WHY Allen Gottheil?

My extensive union background and strong commitment to union values would enable me, I believe, to make worthwhile and economical suggestions towards the appropriate adaptation of marketing techniques to enhance union campaigns.

I am first and foremost motivated by and interested in advancing labour's goals and I do not seek marketing consulting work and indeed do no marketing consulting work for any for-profit organizations.

WHAT are some examples of the marketing services that could benefit YOUR labour organization ?

Please continue reading on about Marketing and boycotts, as well as union organization or membership participation campaigns; or Allen Gottheil's detailed explanation of marketing's relevancy to unions, his answers to some  FAQ's; and union clients in the marketing domain, other union clients; and finally his work experience and education, or return to the introduction on the first page.

If you have any comments, suggestions, brickbats or bouquets ...
Or, If your union organization is planning a major campaign ...
Please do drop a line to: Allen Gottheil:

copyright © Allen Gottheil, 1999
Montreal, Canada
Tel: (514) 481-7270