Shawn Nesaw

Marketing strategy abounds today as brands, family-owned small business and even the PTO from the elementary school down the street compete for attention. If you’re marketing budget doesn’t allow for promoted tweets or primetime TV spots during election night, there is hope for breaking through the clutter.
People pay attention to issues that matter to them. They also have good intuition about truly genuine motives. As we hear many cause-related messages during Breast Cancer Awareness Month, as championed by one of the pioneers in cause marketing – Susan G. Komen for the Cure – consider the following related to cause marketing:

Make a natural connection

Your cause should make sense to your business or to your audience. For example, Scott’s current campaign plants trees for every box of tissues sold, and Pepsi promotes “refreshing” ideas for community programs and projects. These causes are extensions of the brands and natural connections for customers. The more obscure and complicated the issue or cause, the more difficult to effectively make the connection for the audience.

Make community sponsorships charitable, not marketing

First, recognize the difference between being a good neighbor and cause marketing. Supporting your local school district or fire department through charitable donations is a good way to give back to your community. It is not a form of marketing or a cause that your customers can get behind and use to spread the word about your brand.

Make it easy

Even the most passionate supporters need to know what you want them to do. Tell them! Plan the promotion so the call-to-action (pledge, awareness message, event) is at the forefront of all messaging and is easy for the audience to do and to share. Providing discounts for wearing a pink ribbon, pledging a donation for each sale, etc. will make the cause and what you plan to give back clear.

Make it social

When customers feel good about supporting a cause, they tell others. Provide them with an easy way to do it, while controlling the message through social media pages and promotions specific to the cause marketing campaign. Promote social media on all communications and actively maintain by providing updates and building excitement about the progress as goals are reached.

Use cause marketing to build a stronger relationship between your customers and your brand. Overall, just make sure the cause matches your own goals as an organization and it’s not just the next big thing in effort to generate a buzz.