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Trends in Marketing: Cause Marketing

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Recently, the marketing industry has focused on social media, search engine optimization and internet marketing, but there is another marketing trend that is very popular right now, especially in this economy: cause marketing. Cause marketing involves a “for-profit” business and nonprofit organization marketing together for mutual benefit. These days, many for-profit companies are pioneering their own nonprofit efforts.

With the economy in a recession, and the new administration’s emphasis on community service, cause marketing can be very effective. During a recession, consumers want to spend money wisely and feel good about it, and when it is also associated with a good cause, all the better. According to a Cone Millennial Cause Study in 2006, 89% of consumers would switch from one brand to another comparable brand, if the latter was associated with a “good cause.”

You are probably already familiar with my two favorite current examples of cause marketing: Tide and AT&T.  Tide has expanded their cause marketing into lead packaging and branding as well.  If you haven’t seen them, you can check them out here:
AT&T    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4v6lRv5xZYk
Tide:     http://www.tide.com/en-US/index.jspx

So, what does this all mean for you? As with any good marketing plan, there should be room for many different tactics, and right now, cause marketing is one tactic that can make an impact, and you can do it without spending millions.

To be effective, choose a cause that is relevant to your core business value, like Tide.  For example, if your niche is healthcare staffing, partner with a healthcare related cause by sponsoring or volunteering for an event. Or, an IT staffing company could collect old computers, monitors and printers to donate.  Is one of your clients or customers involved in a cause? Join them to promote it, like AT&T and Toms Shoes.

Make your efforts known through press releases, direct mail, and e-newsletters. Better yet, ask your clients and prospects to get involved as well. It may be just that little extra “something” that sets you apart.

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