In alchemy, the goal is to turn stone into gold. In mar­ket­ing, the goal is to turn a cus­tomer into an advo­cate. How? Cause mar­ket­ing, the align­ment of per­sonal and cor­po­rate values.

Cause mar­ket­ing is all about “giv­ing” and the end result is a win-win rela­tion­ship between cus­tomers, causes, and the com­pa­nies involved.

Some­thing for Everyone

Cus­tomers: Cus­tomers are no longer just choos­ing a prod­uct or ser­vice; they are look­ing for an expe­ri­ence. Increas­ingly, that expe­ri­ence includes express­ing them­selves and sup­port­ing their val­ues through their brand choices.

Causes: Causes are find­ing not only finan­cial sup­port in their part­ner­ships with brands but increased advo­cacy from new ways to con­nect with cus­tomers. Good causes and good brands con­tribute to one another.

Cor­po­ra­tions: Cor­po­ra­tions are under pres­sure to dif­fer­en­ti­ate and deliver addi­tional value to their cus­tomers. A focus on causes leads to deeper rela­tion­ships with their cus­tomers, increased expo­sure to new prospects, and a way to give back to the community.

Cause mar­ket­ing allows all par­ties to get more. Cus­tomers have increased sat­is­fac­tion, know­ing their pur­chase also con­tributed to soci­ety in ways that are per­son­ally mean­ing­ful to them. Causes are able to raise aware­ness and do more with the money raised. Cor­po­ra­tions are able to impact their bot­tom line—in some cases their double-bottom line.

Here, each party influ­ences the other in a vir­tu­ous cycle.

Truth in Numbers

  • On a global scale, cus­tomers are 91 per­cent more likely to switch from their usual brands to brands that are asso­ci­ated with a good cause if the qual­ity and pric­ing is competitive.
  • Glob­ally, 50 per­cent of cus­tomers would be will­ing to pay more as a “reward” to com­pa­nies that are try­ing to con­tribute to society’s needs.
  • A total of $1.78 bil­lion dol­lars was gen­er­ated for causes in 2013, a 4.8 per­cent increase over 2012.

Com­pelling, right? So are the causes.

Empow­er­ing Consumers

Cause mar­ket­ing takes some of the luck out of hav­ing a mar­ket­ing cam­paign go viral. Pro­mo­tion can be as sim­ple as ads pro­mot­ing the com­pany that include the cause’s sym­bol, which cre­ates aware­ness about where a por­tion of the pro­ceeds is going; or as com­pre­hen­sive as a full-blown social mar­ket­ing cam­paign includ­ing Twit­ter out­reach, Face­book cam­paigns, and in-person events.

The choice for some­one to share the cam­paign doesn’t come down to whether the adver­tis­ing is clever. It is about giv­ing peo­ple a way to sup­port causes that are impor­tant to them. And social media makes it eas­ier than ever. Cause mar­ket­ing cre­ates an emo­tional con­nec­tion with cus­tomers that cir­cu­lates around their val­ues, and makes them feel like a part of some­thing that is big­ger than a sim­ple pur­chase. It empow­ers cus­tomers (and cor­po­ra­tions) to give back.