Addressing Common Partner Complaints about Cause Marketing - dummies

Addressing Common Partner Complaints about Cause Marketing

By Joe Waters, Joanna MacDonald

After hearing every partner complaint and comment under the sun about cause marketing here are some responses to have ready the next time someone claims you dropped the ball, you can catch it before it falls.

  • I feel like cause marketing only reached my existing customers. How does this help me? In-store cause marketing programs do target existing customers, but they target them in a different way. Other forms of in-store promotion are meant to build attention to drive sales. Cause marketing enhances your favorability with customers by drawing attention to your corporate values. There’s nothing else in your marketing program that’s serves that purpose.

  • Maybe I should have just donated money to you and focused my efforts on advertising? Advertising is great, but it doesn’t do what cause marketing does. Advertising is about visibility and promotion. Because cause marketing increases your favorability with existing and potential customers, it gives you a competitive edge that goes beyond product and price. Advertising should be part of your marketing mix, but so should cause marketing.

  • I’m not sure I want to bug my customers again by asking them to give to your cause at the register. Customers don’t have a problem with cause marketing. As a matter of fact, the support of moms for cause marketing — a key customer for you — is over 90 percent.

    What consumers don’t like are programs that are ill-conceived, inauthentic, poorly executed, or overdone. You can iron out the problems with this program through training, communication, and better timing. Don’t throw the baby out with the bath water.

  • The program we chose didn’t work for my cashiers who already have many responsibilities at checkout. You’re not the first business to say that a particular cause marketing program didn’t work for them. It happens. The good news is that there are other types of cause marketing programs.

    You can also take a better look at the actions of your cashiers to see whether you can streamline the program and make it work with their other responsibilities.

  • How do I know the cause marketing program worked? The program raised a lot of money so that says something about the response from consumers and employee support for the program. Another thing to do is to dig a little deeper to find out what customers thought about the program. This is a good question to ask your employees as they’re the ones who talked to the customers.

    Finally, it’s important to remember that the benefits of cause marketing don’t occur overnight. Building loyalty, trust, and admiration with your customers takes time. What cause marketing does for a business is nothing short of incredible. The dividends cause marketing pay are worth waiting for.

  • Now that I’ve done a cause marketing program for you, every nonprofit in my area is calling me! What should I do? There’s nothing wrong with focusing your efforts on one or two key charities and saying no to the rest. Of course, saying no is easier when you don’t have to keep saying it to people by phone or in person, which can be uncomfortable, if not annoying.

    Some partners have created areas on their websites that explain their charitable giving program. Then when they get questions about giving, they can just refer people to their site. What seems to work best for most businesses is to make a real commitment to one or two charities and then offer smaller giving opportunities to the rest. Perhaps all nonprofits can apply for a small grant from your company’s foundation.

  • My customers had lots of questions about the program and the nonprofit it supported. It was time consuming and confusing for employees. Is there a better way to communicate this information to customers? Three things: First, you can ensure that your next cause marketing promotion has a takeaway that will give consumers the information they need.

    Second, you can put a QR code on the promotion so that shoppers with smartphones can just scan the code and bring up all sorts of additional information about the program.

    Third, you can devote some more time to training your employees so that they can answer questions quickly and accurately. Questions from shoppers are a good thing. It shows interest and gives employees a chance to reinforce the company’s commitment to the nonprofit’s mission so the company can earn its halo with consumers.

  • Most of the other cause marketing programs I see my competitors doing are for large, national nonprofits like Komen, St. Jude, and UNICEF. Why should I continue working with a local partner like you? Showing your commitment to a local nonprofit really demonstrates your commitment to the community.

    A study (2010 Cone Cause Evolution Study) last year showed that over 90 percent of consumers think companies should support an issue in the community where they do business. Supporting a local nonprofit is good for the community and good for you.