Exposure. It describes what all small businesses, want, need, and should always be on the hunt to achieve. Depending on your industry, there are various strategies available to expose your brand to the public and prospective consumers.
Typically, small businesses turn to paid advertising and social media marketing to reach audiences, but there is another effective, and often overlooked, method to gain exposure and new customers — cause marketing.
Cause marketing is simply a mutually beneficial marketing partnership between a non-profit and a for-profit business. A successful cause marketing partnership works together to meet the objectives of a specific campaign that is typically awareness and metrics based. Typical partnerships include a donation of money or resources to help benefit the cause the non-profit advocates.
Since most small businesses are limited on funds they can donate to non-profits, there are easy ways to incorporate your product or services into donations. For example, including a percentage of proceeds from sales as a donation to a non-profit organization can increase your sales, drive awareness, and inform consumers that your core values are rooted in the betterment of society.
Here are five reasons cause marketing campaigns can improve the sales and reputation of your small business:
1. Build Customer Loyalty
A 2012 Edelman Good Purpose study found that, “The power of purpose is driving consumer preference and loyalty in a world where trust in corporations is low and differentiation between brands is negligible.” Cause marketing can also supply you with an edge that consumers will prefer when choosing between you and a similar company that is not involved with non-profits. The survey also indicates that 53% of consumers believe “When quality and price are equal, social purpose ranks as most important factor in selecting a brand (Global).”
2. Connect with Generation Y Consumers
An online study conducted by Cone Inc. and AMP Insights suggests “61% of 13 to 25 year-old’s feel personally responsible for making a difference in the world. 81% have volunteered in the past year; 69% consider a company’s social and environmental commitment when deciding where to shop, and 83% will trust a company more if it is socially [or] environmentally responsible.” The study also indicates that millennial’s are “the most socially conscious consumers to date.” So if your target market is Generation Y, developing a cause marketing campaign is absolutely essential to your company’s success.
3. Create Emotional Connections with Consumers
It’s likely that consumers will want to know more about your partnership with a non-profit organization and why you have established one. This gives you a new reason to interact with consumers on a personal level. Building a relationship is essential to keep consumers coming back.
4. Expand Reach by Partnering with Non-profits
Non-profits are more likely to market your product or service on their behalf. Since you are helping another organization, they will market your product and company in a very positive way as their appreciation. For example, the nonprofit organization Keep a Child Alive features all of its corporate sponsors in their “About Us” section. This gives anyone interested in the cause direct access to companies involved.
5. Create Brand Advocates
Working with non-profits can create authentic brand advocates for your company. In addition to customer loyalty, your company’s advocates are more likely to spread your cause marketing efforts through word of mouth, which in turn creates reputable exposure for your business.
Keep in mind that all of these efforts mean nothing if they are not made known to your prospective and existing consumers. Make sure your cause marketing efforts are incorporated into your company’s overall marketing strategy for maximum effectiveness.
Emily Chalk is Senior Managing Partner at East of Ellie, an events company, a Stamford, CT based events agency. She began her career in the experiential marketing world organizing events for Fortune 500 companies and high profile clientele and now thrives on creating unique and personal experiences that help her clients build their brands. A businesswoman to the core, she has a special love and expertise for cause marketing, and has become a big player in the industry by bringing a new angle to a companies cause marketing mix. East of Ellie leverages events as a way to showcase and drive awareness of companies cause marketing efforts.
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