Shoppers today are looking for more than just a good deal. They’re looking for brands that make a difference in their community. Consumers are becoming more socially conscious, and they expect companies to help make the world a better place. In fact, in a recent study, 78% of Americans believe that companies should positively affect society, not just try to make a profit.
For brands to appeal to this large audience, offering quality goods and services isn’t enough. Businesses need to be service-oriented and support worthy causes. They need to be charitable.
If your company doesn’t support a good cause, customers may leave and go a competitor that does. Before we get into all the benefits of being charitable, let’s discuss what cause marketing actually is.
What is Cause Marketing?
Cause marketing is a specific and socially conscious marketing strategy that is beneficial to your business and to a charity or cause. There are two aspects that are important to remember when it comes to cause marketing:
- Cause marketing isn’t philanthropy. Philanthropy refers to someone or some entity writing a check and sending it directly to a charity. Conversely, cause marketing is a type of marketing in which a for-profit business promotes products or services that, when purchased, will aid a non-profit organization or a social cause in some manner.
- Cause marketing isn’t just a marketing campaign. Rather, it’s a comprehensive business strategy that is designed to benefit both the for-profit and the non-profit organizations by performing consumer research and engagement, product distinction, and effective marketing and communication. It’s a way for businesses to demonstrate their corporate values to customers in a meaningful way.
Benefits of Cause Marketing
There are various benefits that your business is likely to enjoy when you adopt a cause marketing strategy.
You strive to offer your customers unique, high-quality products. However, it’s likely that you have competitors who sell the same or similar items. Cause marketing is a way to differentiate your brand from all the others like it. According to research, when consumers find products that are equal in quality and price, they are 95% more likely to buy from the brand that is associated with a good cause.
Improves Brand Loyalty
Brand loyalty is critical to the success of your business. And, consumers have spoken when it comes to the types of brands that they want to buy from. Entrepreneur magazine recently reported that 87% of consumers would transfer loyalty from their current brand to a brand that supports a good cause.
Increases Bottom Line
Perhaps the most asked question about cause marketing is: Will it increase my business’s bottom line?
The answer is: your chances are good. Here’s why:
It’s been reported that 69% of consumers are willing to pay a higher price for products and services from businesses that are dedicated to positive social and environmental changes. Additionally, millennials are even more willing. In fact, 78% of 18- 24-year-olds are willing to pay more for products that are more ethical than cheaper options.
Creating a Cause Marketing Strategy for Your Ecommerce Business
Now you understand why it’s important to implement a good cause into your marketing strategy, let’s look at the steps to getting it executed.
- Choose something you believe in. Cause marketing works best when the cause is something that you and your team believe in. You and your team will be more passionate and productive.
- Find a relevant cause. While there are some successful cause marketing partnerships that seem random, a cause that is somehow related to the products you sell will likely be perceived as more genuine. If you’re having trouble finding a cause, you can check out sites like Charity Navigator to get some ideas. It’s a nonprofit organization that ranks charities based on their financial status and their leadership.
- Collaborate with the charity. It’s important to have a good working relationship with the non-profit organization that you decide to work with. Make sure that the cause marketing plan is truly a collaboration between your business and the charity. It’s a good idea to have a written agreement or contract, so that everyone is on the same page.
- Set a goal. If this is the first time you have worked with cause marketing, it may be difficult to determine what the goal should be. However, goal setting is essential for achieving the results you want. People tend to be more productive when there’s a target to shoot for. Here’s a great guide on creating SMART goals.
- Promote the campaign. Now you’re ready to start promoting the campaign. It’s essential to do so in a way that reaches the target audience and increases brand awareness for your business and the non-profit you’re working with. Social media is the easiest and least expensive way to get the word out about your campaign. You can start your campaign off by linking to a blog post that tells about the charity you’re partnering with. Be sure to use a hashtag on your posts and ask your followers to do the same. Here’s a great content strategy to increase brand awareness.
Online shoppers look for companies that support a cause that makes the world a better place. So, it’s important to create a strategy that demonstrates your business is socially conscious and generous in supporting worthy causes. A solid cause marketing strategy will benefit the business, the non-profit, and the customer. Not only will it bring more loyal customers and revenue, you’ll make a great impact on the world.
Editor’s Note: This blog post was originally published August 2014 and was updated in December 2019 to reflect more accurate and relevant information.