Can Cause Communications Translate Into Sales? We’ll Find Out


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As the holiday season kicks into high gear, so, too, does cause-related marketing efforts. But do such efforts among PR departments and agencies translate into sales?

According to the 2012 Cone Communications Holiday Trends Tracker, just 16% of consumers plan to purchase or have already purchased cause-related gifts (a decrease from 49% in 2010) while 41% are still undecided if they’ll participate in holiday cause marketing.

But while purchase intent is unclear, companies are still on the hook for cause-related marketing efforts:  Nearly three-quarters  (71%) of consumers expect companies to support causes through the holidays, a sign that cause-related marketing is “must do” rather than a “nice to do,” the study said.

Indeed, the onus is on PR pros and communications executives to understand consumer motives for cause-related gift giving and making sure their cause-marketing programs are not half-baked.

The most important reasons consumers say they buy cause-related items include feeling good about being charitable during the holiday season (38%), believing their purchase will have a direct impact on the cause (34%) and thinking the person who receives the gift will find it more meaningful (28%).

"Consumers expect holiday cause marketing, but wrapping a cause bow around an item is no longer enough,” says Craig Bida, Cone Communications' executive VP of Social Impact, in a statement. “Before they make their purchases, shoppers are challenging companies to articulate the impacts of cause promotions,"

The online survey, which was conducted in November, took the pulse of 1,016 adults.


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