I can’t wait for March 27th and my Vocus webinar: Cause Marketing: Give Until You Get. I’ll be sharing my experiences and best advice on cause marketing and how businesses and nonprofits can create win-win partnerships that can change the world and drive sales.
The biggest challenge with cause marketing is convincing businesses of the value of supporting a cause. Sure, it’s good for society, and that reason is as good as any. But businesses of all sizes need marketing to deliver a bottom-line benefit. They can’t make an exception for cause marketing.
Businesses are smart to set the bar high for cause marketing. That’s why I’m sharing five reasons why they should support a cause – and join me on March 27th.
1. Customers expect it.
The numbers are in and 90 percent of consumers want companies to tell them the ways they are supporting causes. Supporting a cause is no longer a nice-to-have option for businesses. It’s a must-have, and it extends to businesses of all types and sizes. Even B2B companies are recognizing the value of cause marketing.
In 2012, SCA Tork, a maker hygiene products for the food service industry, launched a fundraiser for Share Our Strength’s No Kid Hungry. The fundraiser involved SCA Tork’s Xpressnap Dispensers – a cool name for a napkin dispenser. For the last four months of 2012 the dispensers were discounted from $8 to $2 and $1 per dispenser was donated to No Kid Hungry.
The company promoted the campaign through a trade press release targeting the food service industry, e-blast to its distributor network and direct sales conversations – all with information on No Kid Hungry.The fundraiser surpassed SCA Tork’s goal by $3,000. It also doubled the average monthly sales of Tork’s napkin dispensers!
If you think your business isn’t the right fit or “cool” enough for cause marketing, think again. If Tork can do it with its napkin dispenser so can you!
2. It will give you an edge.
Given the choice between two similarly priced products or services, consumers will buy the one that supports a cause. One in two of those consumers is willing to take their support one step further. In a 2013 Nielsen study, 50 percent of global consumers said they would be willing to pay more for goods and services from companies that give back to society.
Smart businesses of all sizes leverage their support of causes to strengthen the bond between company and customer. Higher favorability among customers can enhance loyalty and interest and lead to increased sales. Are you tired of being shopped solely on product and price? Give yourself an edge with a cause marketing campaign.
3. It’s about three M’s: Moms, Millennials…and Money.
The key target audience for cause marketing are Millennials (men and women 18 to 30) and moms. Their support for cause marketing is over 90 percent. If you count these two groups as customers, or want to, supporting a cause is a powerful way to earn their business. Moms alone account for more than $2 trillion in annual spending, and 95 percent think cause marketing is acceptable. That’s an opportunity you don’t want to miss.
4. It’s easy.
Your support for a cause doesn’t have to be complicated, and you certainly don’t need to create something “new.” Good cause marketing is about identifying the things you already have that can be monetized for a cause. I call them assets.
If you’re a retailer with multiple stores with lots of foot traffic your cashiers can easily ask shoppers to donate a dollar or two. That’s your asset. If you are an accounting firm with 50 employees that’s an asset you can put to work for a food pantry or Rebuilding Together site that needs people-power. If you’re a car dealership test drives happen every day. Let customers Drive for a Cause and reward them with a donation to their favorite nonprofit.
5. Cause is the future of…well…everything.
Martin Luther King said, “The arc of the moral universe is long, but it bends towards justice.” It also bends toward good and a world that’s committed to helping others and solving society’s problems. And people are counting on businesses to be part of the solution, not the problem. Consumers will reward the ones that do, and ignore or punish the ones that don’t.
Two years ago I spoke to Carol Cone, the “Mother of Cause Marketing,” about this very issue. What she said stuck with me:
“When we asked the question should business place at least equal emphasis on social interests as business interests, the numbers have remained consistently high for five years. And it’s 86 percent around the globe. So that’s a very telling indicator to business and to brands that you just can’t make and manufacture and sell something. That you need to be much more engaged with where it’s sourced, how it’s manufactured, how you treat your employees, everything to how you offer it to the consumer, how the consumer uses it and then disposes of it. It’s the life cycle of products and services.”
The arc bends toward good. Don’t mistake the glow of cause marketing for a shooting star that will soon fizzle. It’s not a a fad. It’s a rocket ship that’s just lifting off. This is one mission you don’t want to miss.