Cause marketing is now the norm for businesses. What is cause marketing? Simply put, it’s a mutually beneficial partnership between a nonprofit and a for-profit (your business) for mutual profit. It’s also known as cause-related marketing (CRM).
American Express first used the phrase in 1983 to describe its campaign to raise money for the restoration of the Statue of Liberty. American Express donated one cent to the restoration fund every time someone used its charge card. As a result of the campaign, the number of new American Express cardholders grew by 45%, and card usage increased by 28%. And the Statue of Liberty restoration fund? In just four months, more than $2 million was raised for the project.
Your customers want to know that you share their desire to make the world a better place by supporting an important cause. Consumers now routinely turn to brands that stand for a cause. In a recent poll, 87% of consumers say they would switch from one brand to another if the other brand were associated with a good cause.
And businesses are taking notice. In 2010, companies spent $1.62 billion on cause marketing — up from 1990, when the number was just $120 million.
Where do you begin? For most companies, it’s best to start small by partnering with a local charity and working on a small campaign. If you’re ready to take on a larger cause, begin by contacting the development department at the charity you’re want to partner with. Remember, they are looking a solid ROI (just as you are), so be prepared to give them information on your platform, target audience and level of visibility. Make sure that the organization can provide you with similar solid stats on your ROI, too. After all, this is a partnership that you want to grow over time and not a one-time marketing boost. Like any good partnership, it must be nurtured and cultivated.