Positioning Cause Marketing as Win-Win-Win - dummies

Positioning Cause Marketing as Win-Win-Win

By Joe Waters, Joanna MacDonald

When communicating by phone or e-mail, it’s critical that you position cause marketing as win-win-win. A win for the company. A win for the customer. A win for the cause. Here are some suggestions for things to say about the positive impact of cause marketing for company, customer, and cause.

A win for the company

You’ll notice in the following list that how great your cause is isn’t mentioned. No, you should focus on the client and his needs. This is a language many causes don’t speak. It may sound foreign, but it’s just what you need to say:

  • “Other forms of marketing increase your visibility. Cause marketing enhances your favorability.” When you advertise on radio, TV, or print, the sales representatives in those industries will tell you all about the number of eyeballs you’ll get by running your ad in the Sunday newspaper or airing your commercial during primetime. Cause marketing is different in that it actually enhances your favorability, not just your visibility, with your target audience.

    According to the 2010 Cone Cause Evolution Study, 85 percent of Americans believe that when a company supports a cause they care about, they have a more positive image of the company. That is something you’ll never get from advertising in your local newspaper.


  • “Cause marketing gives you a competitive edge that goes beyond product and price.” Again, according to Cone, 1 in 5 consumers will pay more for a cause-related product. A cause will prompt 61 percent to try a product they’ve never heard of. And a whopping 80 percent of consumers would switch to a brand that supports a cause when price and quality are equal.

A win for the consumer

Businesses really like two things: getting customers and keeping customers. Here’s how cause marketing does both:

  • “Consumers overwhelmingly think that cause marketing is acceptable (88 percent; Cone) and more (83 percent; Cone) wish the products, services, and retailers they used would support causes.” Consumers want and expect companies and causes to work together on cause marketing.

    If nearly 100 percent of your shoppers were clamoring for you to carry a new product in your store, would you stock it? Of course you would. That’s why every business should stock cause marketing!

  • “Women are the natural target audience for cause marketing, but so are Millennials and men.” Millennials, Americans between ages 18 and 24, respond very positively to cause messages. Causes are not just important when they shop, they’re important to their lives. That’s why these people represent a significant growth opportunity for companies that care and aren’t shy about showing it.

    Research by Kansas City-based Barkley Public Relations in 2010 shows that cause marketing is no longer gender based. Eighty-eight percent of men said that it was important for brands to support a cause, while 55 percent said that they would pay more for a brand or product that supported a cause they cared about. Two-thirds said they would try a new brand because of a cause.

A win for the cause

Causes are big winners as cause marketing does something that other types of fundraising can’t do:

  • “Cause marketing raises money and awareness for the cause.” Cause marketing is a new way to raise money that’s different from traditional fundraising (foundations, major gifts, special events, and so on) and corporate fundraising (employee and corporate giving, sponsorships, corporate grants). The new revenue cause marketing can generate is surpassed only by its potential to build visibility and awareness for the cause.

  • “Cause marketing can build something that causes could never afford to buy.” While St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital opened in 1962 and was a well-known cause for many years, it wasn’t until 2004 that it launched its Thanks and Giving cause marketing program with national retailers.

    Just six years after launching Thanks and Giving, consumers chose St. Jude third among causes they planned to support over the holiday season. That’s impressive, considering the top two causes, The Salvation Army and Toys for Tots, have together been serving the needy for more than 180 years.