How To Use Cause Marketing To Engage With Customers


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Businesses have a responsibility to give back to the society that they profit from. And this does not have to be entirely charitable either. According to a study published by CauseGood, cause marketing is a 2 billion dollar industry, up from just $700 million in 2000. The reason for this growth is not a mystery either – studies have shown that while choosing between two brands of equal quality and price, nearly 90 percent of US shoppers picked a product that is associated with a cause. Not just that, nearly 42% of shoppers in North America are likely to pay extra for products or services that are committed to a positive social or environmental cause.

Cause marketing is not simply about backing a cause with popular appeal. It is more about identifying a niche that your customer is passionate about and rallying behind the cause. Identifying a cause and preparing a communication strategy is a step by step process.

Finding the right cause

The right cause to associate with needs to fulfill three criteria. Firstly, it must be a cause that appeals to your customer base. For instance, a business that targets female customers could campaign for causes like workplace sexual harassment. Secondly, these causes must be at least tangentially related to your business. An automobile company, for example, could associate with organizations that fight for road safety. Similarly, a lipstick manufacturer could get behind causes that call for ban to animal testing. Finally, you must pick a cause that is not already cluttered. Take breast cancer awareness, for example. While this is a serious issue and is something that may concern your audience, it may be difficult for a new entrant in this cause campaign to be visible. More importantly, your marketing budget may be better utilized in another social cause that requires higher visibility.

Identify the right objectives

Once the cause has been established, the next step in the process is to identify an objective. In the absence of a clear objective, it becomes difficult to drive action and benchmark your progress in the campaign. The objective could either be through collection of funds, or contribution towards the cause you are backing. When the US government declared a travel ban on people traveling from certain countries, Uber announced the creation of a $3 million fund to offer compensation to drivers affected by the ban as well as to provide legal support to help them return. Your campaign may also seek donations from your customers for your cause, and in these cases, it always helps if you let the customer know your target and how much you have achieved till now. This nudges the customers towards engaging with the campaign.


Cause marketing is like every other form of marketing – it is only as successful as your outreach and communication. It is hence important to allocate a good portion of your budget for your outreach. Having said that, your business may also minimize marketing spends by introducing viral elements to your marketing efforts. For example, LiveStrong campaigns for cancer routinely involve encouraging customers to spread the word about the cause to their friends through wrist bands. With social media being omnipresent today, businesses may also look at viral elements that let customers share word about your cause campaign over platforms like Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

A big part of cause marketing is about educating customers about why the cause you have aligned is important for them. By identifying a cause that a number of customers already feel strong about, you bring down the barriers to creating a campaign that can bring a real change to the cause you address. The brand image and positioning you gain out of this are merely a positive fallout from such campaigns.


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