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10 Things You Need To Know About The Cause Marketing Trend

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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 Your brand, which was once considered innovative and cutting edge, is now described as “boring, lame, and outdated.”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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Kyle Young

Operations Manager, GoinsWriter

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Last Updated on November 15, 2021

20 Ways to Describe Yourself in a Job Interview

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20 Ways to Describe Yourself in a Job Interview

“Please describe yourself in a few words”.

It’s the job interview of your life and you need to come up with something fast. Mental pictures of words are mixing in your head and your tongue tastes like alphabet soup. You mutter words like “deterministic” or “innovativity” and you realize you’re drenched in sweat. You wish you had thought about this. You wish you had read this post before.

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    Image Credit: Career Employer

    Here are 20 sentences that you could use when you are asked to describe yourself. Choose the ones that describe you the best.

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    “I am someone who…”:

    1. “can adapt to any situation. I thrive in a fluctuating environment and I transform unexpected obstacles into stepping stones for achievements.”
    2. “consistently innovates to create value. I find opportunities where other people see none: I turn ideas into projects, and projects into serial success.”
    3. “has a very creative mind. I always have a unique perspective when approaching an issue due to my broad range of interests and hobbies. Creativity is the source of differentiation and therefore, at the root of competitive advantage.”
    4. “always has an eye on my target. I endeavour to deliver high-quality work on time, every time. Hiring me is the only real guarantee for results.”
    5. “knows this job inside and out. With many years of relevant experience, there is no question whether I will be efficient on the job. I can bring the best practices to the company.”
    6. “has a high level of motivation to work here. I have studied the entire company history and observed its business strategies. Since I am also a long-time customer, I took the opportunity to write this report with some suggestions for how to improve your services.”
    7. “has a pragmatic approach to things. I don’t waste time talking about theory or the latest buzz words of the bullshit bingo. Only one question matters to me: ‘Does it work or not?'”
    8. “takes work ethics very seriously. I do what I am paid for, and I do it well.”
    9. “can make decisions rapidly if needed. Everybody can make good decisions with sufficient time and information. The reality of our domain is different. Even with time pressure and high stakes, we need to move forward by taking charge and being decisive. I can do that.”
    10. “is considered to be ‘fun.’ I believe that we are way more productive when we are working with people with which we enjoy spending time. When the situation gets tough with a customer, a touch of humour can save the day.”
    11. “works as a real team-player. I bring the best out of the people I work with and I always do what I think is best for the company.”
    12. “is completely autonomous. I won’t need to be micromanaged. I won’t need to be trained. I understand high-level targets and I know how to achieve them.”
    13. “leads people. I can unite people around a vision and motivate a team to excellence. I expect no more from the others than what I expect from myself.”
    14. “understands the complexity of advanced project management. It’s not just pushing triangles on a GANTT chart; it’s about getting everyone to sit down together and to agree on the way forward. And that’s a lot more complicated than it sounds.”
    15. “is the absolute expert in the field. Ask anybody in the industry. My name is on their lips because I wrote THE book on the subject.”
    16. “communicates extensively. Good, bad or ugly, I believe that open communication is the most important factor to reach an efficient organization.”
    17. “works enthusiastically. I have enough motivation for myself and my department. I love what I do, and it’s contagious.”
    18. “has an eye for details because details matter the most. How many companies have failed because of just one tiny detail? Hire me and you’ll be sure I’ll find that detail.”
    19. “can see the big picture. Beginners waste time solving minor issues. I understand the purpose of our company, tackle the real subjects and the top management will eventually notice it.”
    20. “is not like anyone you know. I am the candidate you would not expect. You can hire a corporate clone, or you can hire someone who will bring something different to the company. That’s me. “

    Featured photo credit: Tim Gouw via unsplash.com

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