Even if consumers aren’t familiar with the phrase “cause marketing,” it is certain that they are acquainted with the concept of spending money to support positive actions. According to a new eMarketer report, “Marketing 'Good': How Causes Can Convert Online Shoppers,” a majority of U.S. internet users have been moved to purchase because of a cause.
But while consumers prefer to put dollars behind brands focused on positive social efforts, they are skeptical about overhyped claims and potentially fatigued by the number of marketing efforts vying for their attention. AYTM Market Research found in October that only 10% of consumers thought cause campaigns were always sincere, with the largest set (41%) believing that campaigns were insincere about half of the time.
To employ cause marketing authentically and effectively, there are a number of approaches brands can take. Humanizing the company using the immediacy of photos and video, especially combined with social media, can magnify a message. Working with nonprofits that align with a brand’s customer base is also important.
Finally, transparency around the company’s goals and actions is essential. Customers want to know not only where their money is going but what good it has done.
And companies shouldn’t be afraid to show failures as well as successes. According to Craig Bida, executive vice president at Cone Communications, “We know that about 70% of consumers say ‘Don’t tell me you’re perfect about your corporate social responsibility efforts, don’t tell me you’re perfect as a company, because I know you’re not perfect … But tell me where you’re going and where you are.’”[Source: “Marketing 'Good': How Causes Can Convert Online Shoppers.” eMarketer. 8 Jan. 2013. Web. 27 Jan. 2013.]