Following are seven ways you can use cause related marketing to benefit your company:
Pick an appropriate cause. Consider not only a cause’s appeal, but is capacity to support your effort. It may be that the best cause marketing fit for your business is a small charity.
Weigh the option of weaving cause marketing into your overall business strategy. General Mills’ Boxtops for Education campaign, which benefits tens of thousands of local schools nationwide, has gone on year-round for a dozen years. It’s a key part of their business model. Galactic Pizza in Minneapolis donates a portion of the proceeds from one of their pizzas to the local food bank. The promotion is printed right there on their menu.
Don’t ‘causewash.’ We all know what ‘greenwashing’ is. That’s when false or overstated claims are about the greenness of a product, service or company. Well you can causewash, too. But don’t do it. Your customers are savvy. And if they begin to distrust your intentions or the authenticity of your cause marketing, it will backfire on you.
Consider doing cause marketing for a small business in the developing world. You know what it’s like to finance a the startup or ongoing operations of your business. So too do millions of existing or budding entrepreneurs in the developing world. With an outfit like kiva.org or another microenterprise lender, your business and your customers would pick fellow entrepreneur(s) to support in the developing world and then follow their results.
Use the principles of world of mouth marketing. Make your cause marketing offer so compelling that people can’t help but talk about it. When you buy a pair of TOMS Shoes, the company gives away another pair to a child in the developing world. TOMS Shoes does precious little advertising. They don’t have to. Their word of mouth has been so good they’ve gotten exposure they couldn’t have purchased.
Give your cause marketing campaign a fitting amount of support. You don’t necessarily have to spend lots of money promoting your campaign. But you don have to support it with time and/or money.
Let’s say you own a fly-fishing shop and you’re offering $5 to Trout Unlimited when a customer buts $100 or more worth of gear. You could post that on your blog, website of Facebook page, put up a sign in front of the cash register, send out a press release. Remember that one of the greatest benefits of cause marketing is that it your business a new story to tell to customers, potential customers and the press. Take advantage of that.
Proceed cautiously if your business doesn’t face the consumer. The research is clear. Companies that advertise benefit the most from cause marketing. Now there is such a thing as B2B cause marketing that can benefit your B2B business. But to pull that off you probably need some help from a specialist.
These tips originally appeared on Alden Keene's Cause Related Marketing Blog.