Being Unnerved by Cause Marketing Competitors - dummies

Being Unnerved by Cause Marketing Competitors

By Joe Waters, Joanna MacDonald

The biggest obstacles keeping causes and companies from trying cause marketing are ofen their fears of intimidation by more powerful competitors. For causes, it’s the intimidation they feel from the high-profile causes that excel at cause marketing — the Product (RED)s, the St. Judes, and the Komens of the world.

Yes, these causes have done well, but they can’t stop you from trying and succeeding in cause marketing, even if one day you have to face them as competitors.

Indeed, recent research from the 2010 Cone Cause Evolution Study shows that local causes may even have an edge with consumers. Forty-six percent of Americans believe that companies should focus on issues that impact local communities. And 91 percent said that companies should support an issue in the communities where they do business.

Companies, on the other hand, are unnerved by the level of commitment that may be asked of them and what they may be getting themselves into. Their larger competitors are an example they follow. In addition to in-store programs, these larger chains and businesses donate thousands of employee hours and millions of dollars to causes via corporate giving, foundations, and volunteer programs.

That kind of commitment is just not possible for many small business owners. (According to the U.S. Small Business Administration, small businesses Represent 99.7 percent of all employer firms.)

The good news is that small businesses can give within their means and still make a difference. They can also choose cause marketing programs that tap their most valuable asset and gift, their customers, who generally can raise much, much more than any check written from the company checkbook.

The Goliaths of cause and business are big and mighty. But armed with the tools, training and right expectations, any cause or company can succeed in cause marketing.