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10 Things You Need To Know About The Cause Marketing Trend

10 Things You Need To Know About The Cause Marketing Trend

You want to build a business that attracts a base of loyal customers, but you’re not sure how to differentiate yourself from your more established competitors. Perhaps they have better branding, bigger marketing budgets, and more robust distribution channels. How can you steal the attention of prospective customers long enough to show them how great your product is?

Or maybe you work for an established brand, and lately you’ve been scratching your head as trendy new businesses gobble up market share you’d started taking for granted. You’ve run a few surveys, and the results are depressing at best. Your brand, which was once considered innovative and cutting edge, is now described as “boring, lame, and outdated.” How can you show the market that you’re still relevant and transform casual purchasers into loyal brand advocates?

One opportunity that’s growing in popularity is cause marketing. For this article, we’ll define cause marketing as “Differentiating your brand by supporting a cause that’s important to the prospective customers you want to reach.”

If you’re considering a cause marketing experiment, here are 10 things you should know:

1. Cause marketing is a powerful way to connect with people.

“People don’t buy what you do; people buy why you do it.” That’s what Simon Sinek argued in his famous TED Talk “How Great Leaders Inspire Action.” Cause marketing is a great way to reveal the ‘why’ behind your company’s ‘what’. Maybe you’re passionate about assisting the homeless, so you decide to give your employees time off to volunteer at local shelters. When people with similar convictions see your company taking a stand, you can form powerful connections.

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A good cause marketing campaign also builds emotional connections by humanizing a brand. For fiction authors, a key step in developing compelling characters is deciding what each character wants. When you know what someone wants, you understand them better, and you’ll even root for them if you want the same things. A good cause marketing campaign reveals what you want as a company, and customers who identify with your cause are more likely to connect with you.

2. Cause marketing is a brilliant way to differentiate your brand from its competitors.

Historically there have been two ways to differentiate a product or service from its competitors: price and features. The problem is, when it comes to price, there’s only one winner. Also, with many products, it’s hard to truly differentiate based on features. But what if one product is simply a product, and the other is a movement that’s supporting a cause you care about? Why not buy the laundry detergent that donates 10% of its profits to disabled veterans? A good cause marketing campaign can make a brand look remarkably different than an otherwise identical competitor. It’s the perfect tie-breaker. Clever, right?

3. Cause marketing is an effective way to build brand advocates.

Some products are so unique and valuable people can’t wait to share them with their friends, but many brands don’t have this luxury. So how can you turn casual purchasers into loyal brand advocates when your product is valuable but not revolutionary? One way is to support a cause your customers care about. If they’re passionate about ending hunger in the community and you’re the company that’s doing something about it, they’ll want to share you with their friends.

4. Cause marketing can bring free publicity.

A good cause marketing campaign can rake in lots of free press, as well as online shares. Those inbound links can boost your performance in search engines and bring new traffic to your site. Plus, local news outlets loves stories about organizations giving back. They make for great bookends to all the other stories about murders and scandals. Speaking of local…

5. Cause marketing can make even global brands feel like part of the local community.

In an age where ‘locally owned’ is a key selling point, demonstrating investment in the community is crucial for all brands, whether they be small or global.

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Target is one of the many organizations to embrace this opportunity: “Each year, we’ve given 5 percent of our profit to communities, which adds up to more than $4 million each week…Our team members give hundreds of thousands of hours volunteering in their communities every year.”

6. Cause marketing is a powerful way to motivate employees.

In his book Drive, Daniel Pink contrasts the effectiveness of intrinsic motivation vs extrinsic motivation. Examples of extrinsic motivators are paychecks and health benefits. They’re rewards for doing something you don’t really want to do. Intrinsic motivators, on the other hand, are natural desires people legitimately want to act on. Supporting a cause your employees are passionate about can make them proud to come to work; and when they’re motivated by more than just a paycheck, you might see better results and even a decrease in employee turnover.

7. Cause marketing is powerful because it lends itself to storytelling.

As humans, we love a good story. Heck, we even love bad stories. As Jeff Walker explains, stories cause people to lower their B.S. detectors, pay close attention, and engage emotionally. Many cause marketing campaigns lend themselves to storytelling. For example, they may focus on the story of how a brand helped a person, neighborhood, endangered species, or rainforest. For humans, that’s pure entertainment. They’ll gladly give you their attention and grow to like you as a result.

8. A cause marketing campaign helps users justify indulgent purchases.

We’re constantly trying to rationalize buying things we don’t really need. We think to ourselves…

“Well, it was on sale…”

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“I’ve had a hard week, and I need to relax.”

“They had my perfect size, so it was meant to be.”

Or…

“It’s for a good cause.”

That last one is a product of cause marketing. You can nudge people into buying what they already want to buy and limit buyer’s remorse by making it easy for them to rationalize their purchase decision. Toms is company that has done this very well, by promising to give away one pair of shoes for every pair they sell. This is one reason why my wife’s closet looks like a Tom’s warehouse exploded inside it.

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9. Cause marketing has the potential to become the rule, not the exception.

As more and more companies adopt or at least experiment with cause marketing, laggards could eventually run the risk of being perceived as disengaged or greedy. I’m in no way trying to scare people into prematurely experimenting with cause marketing, but I do encourage you to keep an eye on your competitors. You don’t want to become the only pet store that isn’t raising money to save homeless pets.

10. Cause marketing can sometimes be added to your current messaging fairly simply.

With the right partnerships and a minimum effective attitude, you can probably launch a cause marketing campaign without too much pain and toil. Just start small, treat it as an experiment, and let the results guide your decision making. If your cause marketing experiment is having an impact, consider upping your game. If not, maybe your campaign needs a tune up or perhaps cause marketing isn’t a good fit for your business. When evaluating your results, just remember to look beyond the money. Cause marketing can produce intangible benefits such as employee satisfaction, and that alone might be a reason to continue a campaign even if it doesn’t immediately produce a spike in revenue.

Featured photo credit: Sailors stand in a pink ribbon formation at sea./Official U.S. Navy Page via flickr.com

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Last Updated on May 22, 2019

50 Great People To Follow On LinkedIn, No Matter Your Industry

50 Great People To Follow On LinkedIn, No Matter Your Industry

LinkedIn is an excellent platform to network with great people to help you in your career and businesses. However, with over 575 million people on the site, who should you follow? This list will steer you to the right people to follow, organized by categories of expertise.

Job Search Experts

You will likely have several jobs throughout the course of your career, and you will constantly need advice on new trends and strategies out there in the job market. Here are the LinkedIn experts who you should follow on these matters.

1. Liz Ryan is the CEO and founder of Human Workplace. Her articles on job searching are filled with creative and colorful cartoons.

2. Lou Adler is the author of The Essential Guide for Hiring and Getting Hired.

3. Dr. Marla Gottschalk will help you make an impact in a new job.

4. Hannah Morgan runs CareerSherpa.net, where she gives expert advice on job searching and how to be more visible online.

5. Alison Doyle is the CEO and Founder of CareerToolBelt.com.

Management Experts

They say that people leave managers, not jobs. These experts in LinkedIn will help you become your employees’ dream manager.

6. Jeff Weiner. How can we leave out the CEO of LinkedIn himself?

7. Nozomi Morgan is an executive coach. She can help you transition from a boss to a true leader.

8. Mickey Mikitani is the CEO of Rakuten. He constantly shares his expertise in managing a global player in e-commerce platforms.

9. Andreas von der Heydt was the head of Amazon’s Kindle Content and now the Director of Talent Acquisition. He has extensive experience in management, branding, and marketing.

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Productivity Experts

By maximizing your productivity, you can win in all aspects of life. The following LinkedIn experts will help you win big in your career.

10. Gretchen Rubin is a happiness coach and the bestselling author of the The Happiness Project.

11. Carson Tate is the founder of Working Simply. She advises us to include play in our schedules.

12. Greg Mckeown is an essentialist. Part of being an essentialist is saying no to many things so that we can focus on the things that matter.

13. Brian de Haaff, CEO of Aha! Labs Inc. provides strategies on how to be productive and happy at work at the same time.

Marketing Experts

14. Sujan Patel is VP of Marketing at When I Work, an employee scheduling software. He is an expert in content marketing and he even shares his ideas on content marketing in 2020.

15. Megan Berry is the Head of Product Development at Rebelmouse, a content marketing and AlwaysOn powerhouse.

16. Sean Gardner will help you navigate the social media landscape. This includes how to use different platforms to help accelerate your career. He is also the bestselling author of The Road to Social Media Success.

17. Christel Quek is an digital and marketing expert. She is the VP of South East Asia at Brandwatch. Their products help businesses utilize social media data to make better business decisions.

18. Jeff Bullas is a digital marketing expert. His blog has over 4 million readers annually.

19. Michael Stelzer is the CEO and Founder of social media powerhouse site, Social Media Examiner.

20. If you’re looking for inbound and content marketing expertise, follow Dharmesh Shah, Founder and CTO of Hubspot.

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21. David Edelman is a McKinsey partner and is at the helm of the Digital Marketing Strategy Practice Department.

22. Dave Kerpen leads the social media software company Likeable Local. He is the author of Likeable Social Media: How to delight your customers.

23. Clara Shih is the CEO of Hearsay Social and the author of The Facebook Era.

24. Aaron Lee is Grand Master of Customer Delight at Post Planner. He is an excellent resource for everything social media.

25. David Sable is the CEO of Y&R, one of the largest advertising firms in the world.

26. Content marketing trumps traditional marketing these days, and who else better to lead you in this area than Joe Pulizzi, Founder of Content Marketing Institute.

Personal Branding Experts

Part of what we market in our personal career is our brand. When people hear your name, what kind of brand comes into their mind? What traits and qualities do they associate with you?

Here are some personal branding experts from LinkedIn to improve your own brand.

27. Dorie Clark is the author of Stand Out and Reinventing You. He can help you craft the professional image you’ve always wanted.

28. Dan Schawbel is the managing partner of Millennial Branding. If you’re a millennial, Dan is the guy to help you craft your personal brand.

Other Notable Experts to Follow

29. Lisa Gates is the expert to follow if you’re negotiating for higher salaries and promotions.

30. If you’re a Baby Boomer, Marc Miller will help you navigate the continually changing landscape of the workplace.

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31. To avoid getting your resumé moved to the “No” pile, read Paul Freiberger’s excellent advice.

32. James Caan provides insightful ideas on careers in general. He is also a serial entrepreneur.

33. Jeff Haden writes on various topics, such as leadership and management. He is the owner of Blackbird Media.

34. If you’re looking for expert business advice on getting new customers and keeping them, follow Jay Baer.

35. Suzanne Lucas, aka Evil HR Lady, is a great human resources specialist.

36. If you need help in using Twitter to boost your career, Claire Diaz-Ortiz can guide you in the right direction.

37. Ryan Holmes is the CEO of Hootsuite, a social media management tool.

38. Customers are the lifeblood of a business and Colin Shaw focuses on revolutionizing this customer experience.

39. Brian Solis often reflects on the future of business and how technology can disrupt our world.

40. Nancy Lublin provides advice on more lighthearted topics, which are perfect after a long day’s work. She is the CEO behind Dosomething.org, a portal designed for social change; and the founder & CEO of Loris.ai and Crisis Text Line.

41. Katya Andresen provides advice on how to manage your career. She was the CEO of Cricket Media and now responsible for the SVP Card Customer Experience at Capital One.

42. Gallup has created a system to test what your strengths are and how to use them at work. Jim Clifton is the CEO of Gallup.

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43. Adam Grant is a Wharton Professor and the author of Give and Take, which provides advice on why being helpful at work can accelerate your career.

44. Hunter Walk is a partner at Homebrew Venture Capitalist Company and has specialty in product development and management.

45. If you’re running a nonprofit organization, follow Beth Kanter for expert advice on this area.

46. Emotional Intelligence is necessary to succeed in your career, and Daniel Goleman is your expert for that.

47. Rita J. King connects science, technology and business.

48. Tori Worthington Rose is a Creative Director at Mary Beth West Communications, LLC. She has extensive experience in sales and digital media.

49. If you’re looking for some advice on how to use writing and personal content marketing to boost your career, follow Ann Handley.

50. Tim Brown is the CEO at IDEO and shares his insights on Leadership and Creativity.

These are just some of the key thought leaders and movers in various industries. They will provide you with constant inspiration, as well as the willpower to pursue the career that you’ve always wanted. Their stream of expert ideas in their respective fields will help you become well-equipped in your professional pursuits.

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Featured photo credit: LinkedIn Sales Navigator via unsplash.com

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