Are You “Cause Marketing” for Your Business?

Cause Marketing

Social media has created a huge opportunity for financial advisors to develop, connect and improve relationships with prospects and clients. It’s important as a business professional that you stay on top of trends driving business in a social media-dominated world.

For example, are you cause marketing for your business? Cause marketing refers to a type of marketing involving the cooperative efforts of a for-profit business and a non-profit organization for mutual benefit. The profit in cause marketing comes in two forms: for the non-profit, the profit is money, and branding and visibility. For the for-profit, the profit is greater favorability with consumers and, potentially, increased sales. The premise is a simple one. Consumers buy from companies they like and respect. Cause marketing is a conduit to earning their favor.

Social responsibility makes consumers take notice, and cause-marketing sponsorship by American businesses is fast-becoming the norm as consumers are more socially conscious and expect the companies they do business with to be, as well.

If your business doesn’t stand for a cause, you may want to consider making a change. The number of consumers who say they would switch from one brand to another if the other brand were associated with a good cause increased to 87 percent over recent years, according to a Cone Cause Evolution Survey.

In an article she wrote for Entrepreneur, marketing expert Kim T. Gordon said, “There’s a strong connection between entrepreneurship and giving. The challenge is to make your socially responsible efforts a winning proposition for the non-profit group you support, the community and your business.”

Gordon offers five steps you can take to help master this marketing challenge:

Step 1. Give from the heart. Cause marketing works best when you and your employees feel great about the help you’re providing to a non-profit group. So work with an organization you and your team believe in, whether that means supporting the fight on behalf of a national health issue or rescuing homeless pets. What matters most to you, your team and your customers? You’ll work hard to make a difference when you give from the heart.

Step 2. Choose a related cause. A solid cause-marketing campaign often starts with the right affiliation. So as you go through the non-profit selection process, look for a cause that relates to your company or its products. For example, when Procter & Gamble’s Olay brand skincare line partnered with the American Society for Dermatologic Surgery, its campaign goal was to inspire women to protect their skin from the sun. Public relations support yielded widespread broadcast, print and online coverage, helping the program attract more than 9,000 individuals for free skin-cancer screenings.

Step 3. Contribute more than dollars. For many types of businesses, cause-marketing involves donating products or services and not simply writing a check. This can help form even stronger consumer associations between what you offer and the good work you do.

Step 4. Formalize your affiliation. To make your affiliation a win-win for everyone, work with the non-profit you choose to define how it will help your business increase its visibility, brand or company awareness. If the organization has a newsletter or other communications with its constituents, negotiate for joint promotion opportunities. Discuss how you will use the organization’s logo and name in your marketing campaigns, and how it, in turn, will use your company logo and name in its press releases, on its website and in other materials.

Step 5. Mount a marketing campaign. Success in cause marketing often means motivating an audience to take action, such as making a donation or participating in an event. Using a dedicated marketing campaign, you can reach and persuade the target group while also raising awareness for your business and its commitment to social responsibility. For example, to enhance its relationship with the African-American community, State Farm created the 50 Million Pound Challenge to educate African Americans about the risks associated with being overweight. A special Challenge website was created to provide ongoing advice and support, and has helped hundreds of thousands of people to lose weight.

For more information on Summit Brokerage Services, visit www.joinsummit.com or contact us at (800) 354-5528.

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