Since September 11 corporate America has taken strides toward protecting the greater good. For example, just after the tsunami in Asia my company matched donations employees made to the Red Cross and Habitat for Humanity. Yes, companies are concerned with making a profit but now we are thinking about the environment, people in need and causes bigger than ourselves. This brings to light a new way to jazz up the sales of your business called Cause Marketing.
Cause marketing enables you to boost your sales and give back to your community at the same time. By aligning your business with a nonprofit cause you can enjoy additional PR and exposure from contributing to the cause, your customers feel good about buying from you because of your generosity and you experience personal gratification.
Here are a few tips for getting started with a Cause Marketing Strategy:
- Pick a strategic cause that aligns with your business. A pet grooming service might align themselves with the SPCA. A new health food store might align themselves with the American Diabetes Association. It needs to be a win-win for both groups. What causes are your customers interested in supporting? One example I've heard is about a cleaning service offering to dry clean donated coats and blankets for free and donating them to the homeless during the winter months. Wouldn't you feel good about doing business with them?
- Decide up front what you want to accomplish. Do you want media exposure? Increased sales? Better name recognition? Because you will be partnering with a nonprofit organization it will be important for you to know what you want from the relationship. Keep it a business relationship - get contracts signed, work out the logistics of using the nonprofit's name and logo and how often your name and logo will appear on their publications, finalize how the partnership will be promoted on your websites, determine how many articles the nonprofit will publish in their newsletters about you, etc.
- Blab. Don't be shy about asking for acknowledgment from your strategic partnership. You should be proud of the relationship and glad to tell everyone about it. Remember, this is marketing!
- Know how to measure your success. Set metrics to determine if your partnership is paying off. There is a degree of intangibility that will occur because you can't measure how many customers you retain from this campaign - in other words, it's hard to measure the "feel good" factor your current customers will experience by doing business with you. But, the primary goal is to jazz up your sales. Be open with your nonprofit partner about your goals and progress.
Cause marketing creates a Win-Win-Win.
You WIN by jazzing up your sales (and plus it feels good to help others)!
The community or nonprofit agency WINS because it receives your support.
Your customers WIN because they feel good about supporting a good citizen of society.