How To Use Cause Marketing Without Causing Chaos
Environmental Research reports that Cause Marketing can Make a Difference which is good news for social entrepreneurs. A recent survey conducted on consumer packaged goods found that, yes, consumers do prefer and purchase products associated with a charity or cause.
74% increase in actual purchase for a shampoo brand when associated with a cause
(47% of participants who saw the cause-related message chose the brand while only 27% of those who saw the generic corporate advertisement chose the brand)
28% increase in actual purchase for a toothpaste brand when associated with a cause
Triple bottom line entrepreneurs, of course, already know that, or at least have hoped that their efforts to give back will make a difference in sales. But, just giving back isn’t always enough.
Qualitative consumer responses showed that the issue, the nonprofit and the inherent nature of products were key factors in making cause-related purchasing decisions and helped explain why movement in (some) categories was not significant.
In other words, choose well and choose wisely, not only in the non-profit you plan to support, but in how you promote your connection and how you market your product.
Social entrepreneurs often start with a cause and then develop a product. Or, alternately, develop a product and go about looking for a way to give back and support a charity as an integral part of their mission plan.
As a marketer who has been involved with cause related marketing as far back as the late 80s, I’ve seen promotions involving charities provide both a big sales bump and a nonexistent one. To benefit both company and non-profit…a big one is preferred. This is where execution comes in. It’s not enough to give back. Promotions and programs associating your product with a non-profit, need to be as carefully planned out as any marketing effort.
To that end, here are a few tips:
1. Ensure that the non-profit with which you associate has some meaning to your target market. For example, supporting breast cancer generally appeals to women over 30 and is most likely to be effective when associated with personal care products.
2. Consider your growth projections. It’s great to develop a relationship with local charities, but as your company grows and expands beyond your hometown, consider how you’ll hook up with similar charities across the country and how you’ll manage the logistics involved.
3. Promote your association effectively. Developing promotions supported with POP, advertising and/or P.R. is a given, but there are standard return rates and projected sales increases associated with many different types of promotions. Make you sure you research and understand the expected return for different types of promotions in your category. It’s not rocket science, but it is research intensive.
The more strategic your cause-related marketing, the better the results you’ll achieve for both your company and your non-profit partner.