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.