Cause marketing is a specific form of marketing that basically replaces the traditional and more expensive form of advertising. It is where a for-profit business and a non-profit organization form a formal alliance from which both parties benefit both financially, and by increasing their credibility in the eyes of the public. This is why it is often referred to as “Credibility Marketing”. This article explains in simple terms how such an arrangement is beneficial to both parties.
To understand cause marketing, and it’s benefit in promoting a companies credibility, it’s necessary to understand how the public’s interest in choosing products and services has changed over recent years. Since 2008, in America and the United Kingdom, buying the most expensive product is not viewed as having the same value as a status symbol that this type of purchase once offered. In many department stores, shoppers are clearly looking for what is practical, and cost efficient. They are also much more aware of the impact on the environment, their community, or the global community their purchase might have. This is the heart of cause marketing, as it offers the value of contributing to the larger goals that interest the public.
A Smaller World with Big Goals
In this day and age the drive to contribute appears to come through the ways people communicate. Since the 1950’s most families in the United States, U.K. and throughout Europe have enjoyed direct information regarding the state of their own community as well as the world at large. Seeing the news via previously filmed events gave way to an instant viewpoint through satellite news feed of video. The internet offered the world a direct and personal pathway in having the ability to directly write or text to almost anyone in the world. The result of this communication is the average person is more aware of the tragedies, wars, and natural disasters taking place thousands of miles away. This has led many in taking a financial interest in causes for the common good, whether this affects their own community or one thousands of miles away. Cause marketing philosophy allows those representing a product or service to align themselves with these shared goals. Further it gives a business increased credibility, which is why this type of marketing is often referred to as ‘credibility marketing’.
Identifying Community Needs
For the business wishing to engage the public, cause marketing is more than simply a part of public relations. Rather than simply having a drive or single event to raise public awareness of an issue or need, cause marketing aligns a brand or business with a worthwhile cause. This partnership then produces mutual profit and public relations benefits for both the for profit business and the non profit enterprise. Both the business and the cause will see an increase in public attention and in profit. Everyone in the community involved the business, including its employees will also see the benefits of social connection and community improvement.
Typically in looking at cause marketing most companies involved offered physical goods directly to customers. As markets have increasingly changed, and consumer’s preferences tend toward expecting extended value from their purchases, other types of enterprises have also tried cause marketing. This type of cause marketing works well for physical products as a company can donate a predetermined amount per sale of a product, or with the return of a proof of purchase by the customer. The companies involved have found increased sales of products with this marketing and subsequently increased profits, while still contributing more to a specific public interest issue.
Discovering a Cause
Any number of issues can affect a community at any time. Often, simply paying attention to news groups relevant to those who use a product or service will indicate which causes are important to them. However as cause marketing has evolved and companies see the benefits of increased credibility, causes are no longer always directly aligned to a company’s product or service.
Darrell Berg-Smith, CEO and founder of The Asian Regional Impact Initiative, http://asianregionalimpactinitiative.org is a professional speaker, author, consultant and social entrepreneur who specializes in advising on Cause Related Marketing programs and Corporate Social Responsibility to NGOs and companies worldwide.
Darrell is also the founder of the Doctors For Cambodia Initiative, http://asianregionalimpactinitiative.org/doctors-for-cambodia which provides scholarships and support funding to medical students through cause marketing mentors with medical professionals worldwide.
He is also the founder of The Asian Regional Cancer Initiative working to upgrade the level of cancer education, prevention and treatment in Thailand, Myanmar, Laos and Cambodia. These initiatives maintain their sustainability by arranging cause marketing campaigns with doctors, dentists, and other medical professionals worldwide.