In this month’s engaging Best Practice Network (BPN) Webinar, Joe Waters, the author of the web’s #1 cause marketing blog and the co-author of Cause Marketing for Dummies, leads a fascinating discussion about the ins and outs of cause marketing and the many ways it can help your business. He was joined by Robert Rosenthal, our VP of Communications & Marketing here at VolunteerMatch.
What is cause marketing?
In Joe’s experience, most people see cause marketing as either corporate giving or marketing of causes. But as he explains, it has elements of both. “Cause marketing is a partnership between a nonprofit and a for-profit, for mutual profit,” says Joe. This partnership creates revenue, awareness and an overall “mutual benefit” for both players. However, cause marketing is not one sided; it requires a lot of work and dedication from both the company and the nonprofit.
This “win-win, work-work” scenario can be seen in the partnership between Starbucks and Product RED. For World AIDS Day, a percentage of each drink served at Starbucks goes towards Product RED, which translates into millions of dollars for the nonprofit. As Joe’s example demonstrates, a company can often raise more money for a nonprofit through consumers than by simply writing a check.
Higher consumer expectations
Cause marketing is one of the important drivers that gets people to buy, and it’s something that consumers are considering more. Company favorability with consumers is a major incentive for cause marketing. In the instance of the recent Boston Bombings, companies not only want to show support, consumers expect them to give back.
To further illustrate this point, Joe gives us some fascinating statistics: In a recent study, 64% of consumers would pay more for a brand because it supports a cause that is important to them.
Using the right cause effectively
Most companies gravitate towards what Joe calls a “garanimal connection” or working with a nonprofit that operates in a similar field, like a restaurant working with a food bank; but Joe introduces several other options that companies can consider.
Is your company passionate about a cause? There is a power in being able to share that passion with consumers. If your company doesn’t gravitate towards any cause in particular, joining a nonprofit that has an army of existing loyal supporters can be opportunity to reach a whole new audience. Additionally, a cause that has a strong emotional impact can also be a great partner.
Joe outlines several traditional cause marketing campaigns such as pinups, sponsored runs and walks and business-to-business employee engagement programs. Although these time-tested campaigns are effective, Joe points out that the future of cause marketing is digital.
Growing your digital profile
As Joe explains, companies are seeing spectacular results with cause marketing programs on digital platforms like Facebook, which can use the power of social media to significantly increase consumer participation. Although these programs can be just as effective as traditional cause marketing campaigns, Joe emphasizes that your company needs either an existing strong online presence or something to start with.
In the coming years, the digital arena is where cause marketing is going to happen. Joe predicts that we’re not going to see as much point-of-sale, purchase triggered or register programs — most of the programs will be driven by digital and mobile.
To learn more about this fascinating discussion with Joe Waters, view the full BPN Webinar on YouTube or the presentation on slideshare.
Stayed tuned for our next Best Practice Network Webinar!