Why cause marketing is a win-win-win

If your business isn’t already supporting one or more social causes, it’s high time you take a stand.

By SmartMarketing Communications

In an increasingly profit-driven world, savvy business owners know they must compete for customer attention on the basis of more than just price. Today’s buyers are more informed than ever about where their goods are coming from – from food to fashion accessories – and what their hard-earned money is going to support. Consumers across generations, from Baby Boomers to Gen Zs, believe in supporting companies that have a social conscience. According to 5W Public Relations’ 2022 Consumer Culture Report, 71 percent of consumers check brands’ ethical values before buying. 

The bottom line: if your business isn’t already supporting one or more social causes, it’s high time you take a stand.

Cause marketing puts humanity back into companies, allowing them to champion a cause to be a force for good – while also turning a profit. This marketing method allows businesses to align themselves with social issues or beliefs that are important to them and execute a campaign accordingly. A cause marketing campaign can be in the form of a partnership with a nonprofit, a fundraising event or an employee engagement initiative, as long as the campaign strategies support a social cause in a meaningful, measurable way.

Cause marketing is a win-win-win: it raises awareness for nonprofits, helps businesses make a positive impact in their communities and allows customers to feel good about their purchases. There’s no right way to run a cause marketing campaign, but we have a few ideas to get you started. 

It’s not about the money 

Don’t think you can fool your customers. They’ll see right through efforts if you’re shallow or focused on revenue. For a cause marketing campaign to work, raising revenue for your business should be at the back of your mind. First impressions matter, and according to a recent study from Google, it takes customers only17 to 50 milliseconds to form an opinion. Don’t waste that precious opportunity by coming off as shady or insincere. 

Be intentional

If you find a cause related to your product or service, the more deliberate your strategy will be. You need to care about the cause you’re supporting (and your staff does too). Otherwise, the campaign can fall flat when everyone lacks enthusiasm. Consider holding a focus group to learn what issues are important to your staff or leaving a suggestion box in the break room. 

Think locally

Even if you’re interested in championing a broader issue like women’s rights or mental health awareness, we recommend partnering with a related nonprofit in your community. Joining forces with a local organization can strengthen your community ties, and you’ll be able to see the direct impact your fundraising efforts have. But remember: the best partnerships are forged out of connection, not convenience. Only partner with a local organization if you have a genuine interest in their work. 

Keep it simple

As with all great campaigns, the best cause marketing campaigns are memorable. It’s been widely reported that the average buyer’s attention span has dropped from 12 to 8 seconds, so your messaging needs to be clear, simple and to the point. If you’re posting information about your campaign on your website or social media, don’t make users search for information on the organization you’re partnered with to find out how they can get involved. If you’re printing flyers, hand-outs or other materials, only include key statistics, and make your call to action clear. Simplicity and transparency are key.

See it through

No one likes a flake. Committing to a cause for an extended period of time will demonstrate your business’s reliability while cultivating a passionate, loyal consumer base. Making your first fundraiser the last – and only – fundraiser may have the opposite effect. Has a pressing social issue come to your attention, or is your current nonprofit partnership not panning out? Sponsor an additional cause, or transition into a new nonprofit partnership rather than dropping the ball on donations altogether.

SmartMarketing Communications is a Bluffton-based marketing agency that has been serving clients for over 30 years. SmartMarketingCommunications.com

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