Is Cause Marketing Right for My Business?

When you have a tight marketing budget, you have to focus on tactics and strategies that work for broad swathes of your audience. Cause marketing might fall neatly into that category: according to a 2018 Edelman Earned Brand report, 64% of consumers gauge companies based on their social or political opinions and will buy or boycott accordingly.  

If your target market falls into that 64% and you have opportunities for a collaborative campaign with a non-profit organization, cause marketing is the obvious solution.  

But for many companies, the decision is less clear. After all, cause marketing can be expensive, hard work. It can also be divisive if your brand, the cause, and your shoppers don't align. Answering this quick series of questions can determine whether or not cause marketing has a place in your marketing strategy for 2023. 

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5 Questions That Will Help You Decide If Cause Marketing Is the Right Fit for Your Next Campaign 

These five questions will determine if cause marketing is a good fit based on your business goals, company mission, target market, and available resources. Let's get started:

1. What are your business goals?

Before you start investing in complex campaigns, know your business goals for the year: 

  • Do you want to increase brand recognition?
  • Do you need to shore up corporate governance and your company's internal organization? 
  • Is increased customer loyalty the top priority for the year?  
  • Do you need to focus on understanding your core market and developing buyer personas? 
  • Are increased sales at the top of your to-do list? 
  • Are you trying to expand into new product markets? 

Depending on your goals, cause marketing may or may not be a good fit. If you're stabilizing your brand or focusing on internal changes, leave cause marketing for next year. But if one of your top business goals is bolded in the list above, cause marketing may be a fit.

2. What causes align with your business values?

Every organization needs to have business values. Yours may be providing eco-friendly and sustainable services, reaching underserved audiences, or prioritizing ethical supply chains and fair trade.  

No matter what your company’s values are, identify potential causes that align with them. A green company pairs naturally with environmental causes. Companies that prioritize equity can speak out on a range of social issues. If you can't think of causes that tie to your business values or your organization doesn't have concrete values yet, put cause marketing on the back burner for now.

3. Who is your target audience?

This is another critical question that decides if cause marketing is a good fit: Will your target audience care about your cause marketing initiatives? Sometimes, that's not the case: your audience might care about product quality, budget-friendly pricing, or how delicious your menu is, all without prioritizing potentially related causes.  

Most of your market might be that remaining 36% who doesn't buy, or boycotts based on social and political stances. If that's the case, cross any cause marketing strategies off the list and focus on campaigns that highlight how your products and services address customer needs. 

4. Can you make a meaningful impact?

The answers to the first three questions determined whether cause marketing might benefit your brand strategy. If you think it could be, consider whether that success is likely.  

Is there a non-profit organization in your geographic area or area of interest that you can create a partnership with? Do you have the budget and time to create an authentic cause marketing campaign that will resonate with your audience? Above all else, will your cause marketing campaign create real impact for the cause you want to serve? Whether it's a corporate sponsorship, a donation campaign, or other events, gauge your potential impact. 

If the answers to these questions aren't a resounding 'yes,' wait until you have those resources and partnerships ready. Acting too soon might produce poor results, with low levels of impact. This can result in customers feeling cheated out of making an impact, make your campaign seem inauthentic, or make the campaign sputter out before it reaches the finish line.

5. How will you measure success?

Did the first four questions make you realize cause marketing is the perfect fit for your business's objectives and current position in your market? If so, ask yourself how you want to measure success. Far from just helping you determine if you can succeed in cause marketing, this question is the first step to putting your campaign in motion. 

Decide what your goals for the campaign will be. Make those goals as specific as possible. Then decide what tools you will use to measure progress, and the milestones and thresholds you want to have.  

Take the Next Step with Mid-West Family Springfield 

Now that you've decided what role cause marketing should have in your marketing strategy, it's time to plan out the specifics. At Mid-West Family Springfield, we partner with local businesses to help them plan, execute, and assess marketing campaigns. Contact us today to start strategizing your cause marketing plan. 

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