Marketing with a Cause in a Weak Economy

Cause marketing is an effective tactic because it enables a marketer to connect with consumers on an emotional level. Associating with a charity or non-profit that a brand's target market cares about has great potential for positively impacting brand image. It is a great way to convey the message that a company is caring and seeks to make a difference. On a more practical level, cause marketing can drive revenue growth. Consumers may be willing to make a purchase (often at a price premium) because a product has partnered with a cause and pledged to make a donation contingent on product sales.

Today's difficult economic times should serve as a catalyst for firms to review their utilization of cause marketing. Shoppers need a reason to buy. Low price is a compelling reason these days, but it is not the only motivation to make a purchase (nor the most profitable for marketers). Buying a product because it is tied to a cause that matters to the target market still is a persuasive tool that could nudge consumers to buy the sponsoring brand. Another benefit of being involved in cause marketing is that non-profits often are squeezed in a down economy as private donations and governmental support decline. Their partnerships with for-profit firms provide needed resources and provide a platform to keep the cause in consumers' minds.

The questions to ask pertaining to the role of cause marketing are "What cause should I align my brand with that will resonate with consumers?" and "How can we use the resources of our company to make a positive impact with our cause partner?" This approach will lead to a greater chance that a cause marketing campaign is a winner for the cause, your customers, and your brand.

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