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Published on March 8th, 2016 | by Millennium Magazine Staff


The Power of Cause Marketing

By Rieva Lesonsky, Guest Blogger

Are you looking for a way to attract new customers? Social responsibility is a strong selling point when customers are considering purchases. Consider this: A Nielsen global online survey reports that two-thirds of consumers are willing to pay more for products from companies that show a commitment to having a positive impact on society and the environment. That’s an increase from 50 percent in 2013.

Interest in social responsibility is especially strong among Millennial consumers. In The 2015 Cone Communications Millennial CSR Study, more than 90 percent of Millennials say they would switch brands to one associated with a cause. However, that doesn’t mean the power of cause marketing is limited to Millennials: Customers of all ages are more willing than ever to put their money where their hearts are.

How can you incorporate social responsibility into your small business’s operations and marketing? First, decide on a cause that is authentic to your company’s core values, relevant to your business’s products and/or services and important to your customers. For example, if you own a pet products store, a cause that supports pet adoption or spaying and neutering would be a natural. If you own a women’s clothing store, you might want to support breast cancer research. You can brainstorm with your employees to come up with ideas.

Next, consider how best to support your cause. Do you want to donate money to an organization? Would you like to start your own charitable effort, such as donating a portion of your profits from a specific product line or sales event to your cause? Perhaps you would rather contribute time by volunteering, or sponsor an event held by a relevant organization. Be sure to talk to your accountant about the tax implications of any donations, monetary or otherwise, that you make.

Choose an organization to get involved with. Before lending your support to an organization, do some research to make sure the group is reputable. Also decide on whether a local, national or even global cause makes sense for your business. For example, if you own a website that sells products worldwide, it would make sense to contribute to a global charity; if you own one sporting goods store, however, it might be better to sponsor a local children’s health organization.

Encourage your customers to get involved in the cause, too. For example, you might invite customers to volunteer with your staff at a local charity event, ask if they want to donate a dollar to a cause every time they make a purchase or hold a special sale where all of the profits go to your cause. Customers feel better about spending money when they know that they’re helping others by doing so.

Promote your involvement with your chosen cause. Weave your socially responsible message into all of your marketing materials, from your business website to your social media presence, email marketing, advertising and even your product packaging, if relevant. Don’t forget about public relations — local media love hearing stories of companies that are involved in cause marketing.


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