21 April 09:05

What is Cause Marketing?

If it matters to your customers, it should matter to you. Here’s why every business should embrace a cause marketing strategy.
By Jackie Lisk

You have got to give it to these young people—they care.

Nine in 10 millennials would switch from one brand to another if the other were associated with a cause, according to the 2015 Cone Communications Millennial CSR Study. They shop with their conscience, and they are not alone. Consumers of all ages are considering what a brand stands for as well as its social contributions as they make purchasing decisions. They are researching how and where a product is made and the environmental footprint of the company making it.

A global retail analysis by Nielsen showed that sales are on the rise for brands that have sustainability claims on their packaging or promoted corporate social responsibility efforts. The survey polled 30,000 consumers in 60 countries. More than half – 55 percent – were willing to pay more for products or services provided by companies that showed a commitment to having a positive environmental and social impact.

So in case your business needed an incentive to give back and think about its effect on the environment and society at large, there you have it. Consumers care! And they are more likely to buy from a business that cares, too.


What is a Good Marketing Strategy?

Cause marketing raises awareness about a specific issue, like diversity or HIV. It can aim to promote heathy habits, like a “stop smoking” campaign, or to raise awareness about an issue. Cause marketers use commercials, events, social media campaigns, and, increasingly, content marketing. It is not just for non-profits. More and more for-profit companies are investing in marketing that shines a light on social matters, often while highlighting their own socially-conscious approach to doing business.

Just look at TOMS. For every pair of shoes a customer buys, TOMS donates a pair to a child in need. TOMS markets this concept expertly, using social media marketing and user-generated content to help spread the word.

Even if your business model isn’t designed around a cause, you can still convey your commitment to social good. These three tips will get you started:   

1. Educate your customers about the socially-responsible decisions you’ve made. Do you take steps to limit your energy consumption in the office? Do you use environmentally-friendly ingredients or packaging exclusively? Make this kind of information available on your website, and use it as part of your social media and content strategy.

2. When running specific, cause-related campaigns, choose issues that matter to you, and to your audience. It makes the most sense to choose a cause that is at least tangentially related to your business.

3. Engage your employees, too. Be sure they understand what your campaign entails – what you are doing, and why. Encourage them to take part by sharing your content and by donating time and money to the cause you have identified.

A recent analysis of effective cause marketing campaigns in Harvard Business Review concluded that the best ones use inspiring messaging and visual storytelling and emphasize social sharing. We tend to agree. Mediaplanet publishes more than 60 cause marketing campaigns around the world each year. We cover education, the environment, healthy living, women’s rights, LGBTQ equality, human trafficking, the list goes on. We work with celebrities, influencers, experts, and businesses to raise awareness about these issues. For our readers, it is a chance to learn and to discover ways to get involved. For our sponsors, it’s a way to support a worthy cause, while showing their customers and prospects that they care.

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