We all know the warm feeling we get when tossing a few quarters in the collection bucket for a good cause. We like to help make a difference in our community. But did you know that your business can also benefit financially from supporting a good cause? In fact, if your business isn’t associated with a good cause it’s leaving money on the table for your competitors to scoop up.
Cause Marketing refers to a type of marketing involving the cooperative efforts of a for-profit business and a non-profit organization for mutual benefit. Below we'll tell you why your business should have a cause marketing strategy, and we'll give you four steps to establishing one.
Why care about cause marketing?
In order to understand the need for a cause marketing strategy, it’s important to know what American consumers expect from businesses. America’s appetite for corporate involvement in important issues is at an all-time high. Consider these key insights about cause marketing and the American consumer:
- Consumers want to see it: According to a recent social impact study from Cone Communications more than 9 out of 10 people expect companies to support social or environmental issues in some capacity, and 88 percent are eager to hear from companies about these efforts.
- They will swap companies for it: The same social impact study showed that given comparable price and quality, 89 percent of U.S. consumers would switch brands to one associated with a cause.
- They will pay more for it: A 2014 Nielsen study showed that 55 percent of respondents were willing to pay more for products and services from companies committed to positive social and environmental impact.
- Bonus! It will even help your recruiting: That same Nielsen study showed that 67 percent of people prefer to work for socially responsible companies.
So, how do you establish a cause marketing strategy for your business?
4 steps to create an effective cause marketing strategy
- Pick the cause: Choose from the heart; if you aren’t authentic and committed to the cause your marketing efforts around it will fall flat. Consider charities and causes that you or your employees already know and support. Choose something you and your team can really support and believe in. And, choose a cause related to your industry or your local area. For example, a dermatology practice could partner with the The Skin Cancer Foundation, a home builder could partner with Habitat for Humanity, and a Dallas accounting firm could partner with a local charity that renovates low income playgrounds.
- Do more than write a check: Writing a check is good, but your brand will benefit more if you donate time and services. Not only will you support the charity but you’ll showcase what your company does. Ask about events in which you can participate so you can get your brand in front of more eyes and build good will in the community. This also gives you opportunities to create social media content and build a consistent buzz about your business.
- Structure the partnership: For cause marketing efforts to work, you need to build a real relationship with your non-profit partner. Discuss shared goals, needs, and opportunities. Identify the best ways to increase the visibility, awareness, and revenue for both parties, and agree to the deliverables for which each side will be responsible. Consider the rough monetary value of what your business will be providing and come up with what's fair to get in return. Don’t expect it to be even dollar for dollar, but make sure there’s mutual benefit. For example: If we produce a fundraising video for our non-profit partner, we’d like to be included on its website and be a sponsor at one of its annual events.
- Spread the word: The final, and possibly most important step, is to spread the word and capitalize on your newfound charitable relationship by mounting a campaign. Consider the different ways to advertise this relationship, and make this plan part of your annual overall marketing strategy. The more consistently you include your cause-related marketing in all other marketing efforts, the more benefit you’ll see. Bigger companies and non-profits might use radio, television, or outdoor advertising to create awareness. For smaller companies consistent mention in blog posts and social media can do the trick. It doesn’t matter how you do it as long as you’re committed and consistent with what you do.
Hopefully, you now understand the need for a cause marketing strategy and how to create one. When you’re ready to spread the word about your company's charitable work we can help create a video that tells the story about the relationship and the impact you’re making. Such videos increase awareness and fundraising for your non-profit partner, and can be a powerful tool for increasing good will. They can also increase your revenue and the effectiveness of your recruiting campaigns.