Why Cause Marketing Is So Important

Stand for something or fall for anything! Okay, that’s a BS statement. I’ve known plenty of worldly, educated, and cunning people who had little to no moral “north star.” Let me take a crack at a statement clearly bent on heralding a passionate moral center as a virtue, but without criticism of other value systems or worse – the value of the person himself.

“Standing for something can bring great fulfillment.”

Nothing really profound there. Some might say we innately know this sort of thing, as if it’s baked into the human experience. Anecdotally, I feel better when my self-focus blurs a bit and someone else’s needs become clearer. I’d bet a fair majority of people feel the way I do, and enough to make this article a worthwhile read. At the very least, from the comfort of our couches, we seem to really enjoy the momentary inspiration spurred from a video in our feeds whereby someone extends their hand to another being.

But, why? Humans are social. We thrive in communities and not so much when alone. To remain a part of the community we have to work together and take care of each other. Through whichever mechanism you prefer, (evolution, creation, or maybe sumthin’ really cool I don’t even know about) most of us are inclined to help.

Some of us even after we’ve been hurt. Pretty straightforward stuff. Those who are inspired by community-centric acts stayed a part of the community, procreated, and we are their descendants with the same genetic protocols. Unhappy? Maybe try helping someone else.

It’s important to think about these things. Not just because you can instantly improve your life through small acts of kindness, but because your brand is a person to your followers. Think about the way a disgruntled customer treats a customer service rep. That customer speaks to the rep as if whatever substandard service was offered is the complete and full responsibility of the CSR. In that moment, that rep is your entire company. Same for your salespeople. Same when it’s the CEO making a public statement. Whichever face is presently presented, is the whole company. Your position socially can be thought of as one of those faces.

This is why cause marketing is so important.

What is cause marketing you ask?

No…you didn’t. You already knew either through experience or contextually, but I’m gonna tell you anyway.

Cause marketing, at its simplest, is a mutually beneficial joint marketing effort between a company and a nonprofit. Of course there are other ways to cause market, but let’s focus on this type of partnership. It has limitless benefits. While a responsible and conscientious company will donate money, time, volunteer hours, etc., with aligned causes, a company who understands marketing also integrates these partnerships in their marketing efforts.

Shall we talk bennies?

You humanize your brand – I suggest finding a cause that matters to you. The best partnerships are ones you actually care about. The best marketing efforts are genuine and foster brand loyalty. There are plenty of ways to create brand loyalty. I’m telling you though, the old school methods are fading in effectiveness. For instance, customer service doesn’t get you an edge like it used to. What works these days? Making your brand feel like a real person; one who is aligned with the things your customers care about. Every brand should be doing this, regardless as to the type of marketing effort.

You open yourself up to new customers – Partnering with the right nonprofit opens you up to their existing follower-base. Show them you care about what they care about and a portion of the portion of their following that meets your demographic will convert. Remember, you put the nonprofit in front of your following as well. Brand loyalty for you. New followers for you and the nonprofit. A well designed promotional calendar ensures cross pollination. You want that.

A fully-integratable marketing strategy – From donation matching, to portions of sales, to incentive programs for employee volunteers, your cause marketing campaign can permeate every aspect of your marketing strategy. Get your customers, potential customers, employees, er’body, get er’body involved.

I could go on. For hours really. I’m sure your wheels are turning.

What does cause marketing look like?

Tons of ways to go about this. Subaru’s “Share the Love” is a great example of how a marketing monster would do it. Not a monster? No matter. You can partner at any level.

A brief outline might look something like this:

  1. Partner with a nonprofit doing something you care about.
  2. Design a donation and/or sponsorship strategy.
  3. Tell your existing followers/customers about the nonprofit and why you’re partnering.
  4. Enlist your followers, customers, and employees by giving them a platform for participation.

Keeping it high-level for now. We’ll talk about each of these things in more depth in the future.

So, you think you’re interested but still have questions, like, “Should I be capitalizing off a nonprofit and all their hard work?”

Is cause marketing unethical?

Well, in reality the answer comes down to your personal morality. But in my opinion, I’m with Mr. President on this one. Ask a charity if they’d want to be in front of your followers, if they want a portion of your proceeds, if they need help with their marketing strategy, if they could use volunteer hours. Haha. Ask a charity if they want your help and I bet you have your answer.

Personally, I’m of the belief that you cannot take the self out of any decision…and so what? Make decisions that are equitably, mutually beneficial and you’re living a good life.

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About the author

Matthew Praetzel

Thinker / Programmer / Late night contemplator More about this guy

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