Dana Sullivan Kilroy is a communications professional with more than 20 years of experience delivering compelling content. Her work has appeared in national, award-winning publications and sites, including: The New York Times, The Los Angeles Times, The Wall Street Journal, USA Today, and Fast Company, Inc.
Cause marketing continues to grow as a top marketing strategy. In 2015, cause marketing has grown 3.7% over 2014.So why does cause marketing work?For one, we’re living in a world of social responsibility. According to a Cone Cause Evolution Survey, the number of consumers who say they would switch from one brand to another if the other brand were associated with a good cause has climbed to 87 percent.In addition, more than ever, people have a desire to make a difference and give back and they want their favorite brands to help them do that. Cause marketing is not for every business. A successful cause marketing Campaign is the result of the business picking a cause that is mutually beneficial for the business and the non-profit.In order for the Campaign to be successful, businesses also need to understand which non-profits their fans want to support.For brands that have a large customer base that spans across multiple countries or industries it can be difficult to choose a cause that will entice a majority of your fans.However, for some industries cause marketing is a great strategy and has proven successful time and time again.
Here are 6 tips to keep in mind to make sure you cause marketing campaign is a success.
#1. Understand what cause marketing is: Cause marketing is a partnership between a nonprofit and a for-profit for mutual profit. The most accurate definition I’ve seen is; a mutually beneficial business and nonprofit partnership that sees a company put the power of its brand and marketing behind the cause to generate profits for both. It’s not to be confused with corporate philanthropy which is simply a business donating money to a cause.It’s also not to be confused with a sponsorship in which companies provide financial contribution to a nonprofit event or program. In return, the nonprofit uses its marketing and communications tools to promote a company’s involvement and support of the cause.* Both marketing tactics are successful, however, today’s tips are geared towards cause marketing not sponsorship.
#2. Pick the right non-profit: Perhaps the most important step in cause marketing is picking the right non-profit. As I mentioned earlier it’s important for businesses to pick a non-profit that not only aligns with their business but also is attractive to their audience.This may require you to run multiple Campaigns; a Campaign where you ask your fans to suggest and/or vote on different causes to support and then your actual cause Campaign where you raise money or other valuable items for the non-profit.
#3. Consider aligning your Campaign with the holidays: The holidays are a great time for cause marketing because people are more spending conscious.In Ask Your Target Market’s latest survey, 38% of those who donate to charity said that they are more likely to do so during the holiday season.As you’ll see in today’s example, Pet Valu did a play on words with Thanksgiving for their cause marketing Campaign. It’s a simple strategy, but using Thanksgiving adds an automatic theme to their Campaign.
#4: Make it easy to enter: This tip reigns true for most Campaigns, but when it comes to cause marketing you want to be sure your fans can easily participate.Not everyone will want to directly donate money, so having some options is always helpful. In today’s example, Pet Valu requires that people simply share a hashtag. For every share that their Campaign gets, they’ll donate to their non-profit. Pretty doable!
#5: Be Transparent: When you’re asking fans to participate in a cause, they’ll want to see their donations being put towards reaching the donation goals.Whether you’re directly collecting funds or doing something like Pet Valu, continually updating your Campaign to show how close you are to reaching your goals will have your fans coming back to check in with your Campaign.In addition, being transparent gives you content to use to market your Campaign to your fans.
#6: Share far and wide: When you’re asking your fans and followers to get behind a your business and a cause the sky is the limit. Pet Valu does a great job of integrating all of their social networks by using a hashtag for means of entry. It immediately speaks to their Facebook, Twitter and Instagram audience.In addition they’re promoting the Campaign on their website to reach all of their website visitors.
Example of Cause Marketing Campaign
Pet Valu is a Canadian-based chain of locally owned and operated neighborhood pet stores. For the past four years they’ve run a Thanks for Giving Campaign where they donate food and other products to pets in need.
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