If you run a business, you’ve probably heard of various marketing strategies, some new and some old. There’s Traditional Marketing, Content Marketing, Social Media Marketing, and the list goes on. But there is one form of marketing that seems slightly counterintuitive to traditional business models, but that pays big dividends when done correctly, and that is Cause Marketing. You may have heard of it and wondered, “what exactly is Cause Marketing, and is it right for my business?” We’re here to explain the basics and provide some tips for starting your first Cause Marketing campaign.
Cause Marketing is a campaign (or series of campaigns) that encourages the purchase of a product or service with the promise that it will (in addition to making a profit) support a reputable cause. Cause Marketing can take many forms depending on the product or service that is being promoted. For example, a company can simply claim that a certain percentage of all profits will be donated to a specific non-profit organization. Or in the case of Tom’s Shoes and many other retail companies, the one-for-one model, which provides one of every product sold to someone in need for every product purchased. Some even go a step further by integrating the cause into their business operations, like hiring those with disabilities, prior incarceration, or victims of abuse. Cause Marketing is making the support of a cause one of the primary value propositions of your product or service and marketing it accordingly.
Traditionally, in the business world, the main objective is to lower costs and raise profits. This is considered the best path to continuous growth, so it may seem counterintuitive to purposefully give money or resources towards things that do not make a direct profit, in order to make a profit. But the reality is that consumers disagree with this model, and see a greater value in products that support a cause they care about (and therefore, are more willing to buy said product in lieu of another that doesn’t do much to make the world better). In fact, 80% of consumers think that it is the role of business to address societal and global issues (1). And over 90% of consumers say they will switch to a product that supports a cause they care about if said product is of similar price and quality (2).
If you’ve decided that a cause campaign is something you’d like to pursue, you’ll first need to select a cause that is either meaningful to you personally or one that aligns well with your customer base. For example, if you sell products geared for dogs or dog lovers, you might support local shelters or animal advocacy organizations. Once you’ve selected a cause to support, you’ll then need to establish the scope of your involvement. Will your business simply donate proceeds, or will it get to work and offer support in a more involved capacity? Whatever you decide should be possible with the logistics of your business and feasible for your bottom line.
Once your scope is defined, now is the fun part. Creating your first campaign can seem overwhelming, but there are a handful of tactics that will help you gain awareness for the cause you’re supporting, as well as give your customers an easy way to give their support. Creating a landing page for your campaign that tells the story of why you are supporting the cause with a call to action for your customers is a great first step. This page can be the go-to site for e-mail announcements, social media posts, and pay-per-click ads campaigns promoting your product or service and how supporting you is also supporting a better world. working closing with the organization your supporting is also crucial since they will know best how to communicate the need for support as well as give you assets to create graphics and collateral for your campaigns.
Creating a Cause Campaign will not only help your bottom line but will also give you and your business a greater purpose. It can also help you establish deeper brand loyalty with the customers that want to make a difference with their dollar. Start a campaign today and watch your business grow!