Cause-related marketing refers to a type of marketing involving the cooperative efforts of a “for profit” business and a non-profit organization for mutual benefit. The term is sometimes used more broadly to refer to any type of marketing effort for social and other charitable causes, including in-house marketing efforts by non-profit organizations. Cause-related marketing differs from corporate giving (philanthropy) as the latter generally involves a specific donation that is tax deductible, while cause-related marketing is a marketing relationship not necessarily based on a donation.
Some well-known cause-related marketing strategies that you may have seen before is the collecting of loose change at the McDonald’s drive up window to support The Ronald McDonald House. Another organization using this this method is the Wendy’s Father’s Day Frosty campaign where they donate all the proceeds of the sale of Frosty’s on Fathers’ Day weekend to support the Dave Thomas Foundation for Adoption. Locally, the Susan G Komen Foundation partnered with several businesses for cause-related marketing campaigns that were so successful that the Susan G Komen Foundation has launched it globally!
The possible benefits of cause marketing for nonprofit organizations include an increased ability to promote the nonprofit organization’s cause via the greater financial resources of a business and an increased ability to reach possible supporters through a company’s customer base. On the other spectrum, for-profit businesses who use cause-related marketing can attract positive public relations, improved customer relations, additional marketing opportunities thereby making more money.
So, why should your business consider a cause-related marketing campaign?
Embracing a cause makes good business sense. Nothing builds brand loyalty among today’s increasingly hard-to-please consumers like a company’s commitment to a worthy cause. Other things being equal, many consumers would rather do business with a company that stands for something beyond profits.
Cause-related marketing can become a cornerstone of your marketing plan. Your cause-related marketing activities should highlight your company’s reputation within your target audience. This method can positively differentiate your company from your competitors and provide an edge that delivers other tangible benefits, including:
- Increased sales
- Improved visibility
- Greater customer loyalty
- Enhanced company image
- Positive media coverage
By choosing a cause your company is passionate about, cause-related marketing is not only image/brand boosting it is emotionally fulfilling. It’s a way to merge your profit center with your “passion center” and build a business that mirrors your personal values, beliefs and integrity. If your cause also resonates with your target market, your activities will generate tremendous goodwill and media attention can be its side effect.
Find out even more ways to enhance your company’s marketing strategy by downloading our Small Business Guide to Building an Effective Marketing Strategy.