What Is Cause Marketing? (With How-to, Tips, and Benefits)

By Indeed Editorial Team

Published May 6, 2022

The Indeed Editorial Team comprises a diverse and talented team of writers, researchers and subject matter experts equipped with Indeed's data and insights to deliver useful tips to help guide your career journey.

Cause marketing is a great way for businesses to contribute to their communities and increase brand awareness. The key to successful cause marketing is finding the partner and fitting cause that can resonate with a company's values, culture, and audience. Understanding, "What is cause marketing?", and the benefits it accrues to a business can help you decide whether this strategy can work for you. In this article, we define what cause marketing is, show you the steps to design an effective cause marketing campaign, share cause marketing tips and discuss the benefits of this marketing approach.

What is cause marketing?

The answer to, "What is cause marketing?", is that it's a marketing campaign in which a profit-oriented business pursues a social cause while seeking to increase profits. A cause marketing can involve a partnership between a for-profit business and a non-profit business for mutual benefit. If a nonprofit wishes to do so, it may receive a share of the company's profits. This partnership can benefit a company by increasing its sales and improving its public image.

Cause marketing is becoming a popular way for companies to market their products. This is because consumers can reward companies whose activities are benefiting society. The demand for businesses to be ethical and operate sustainably can motivate companies to focus on social causes rather than profits alone. To achieve sustainable ethical goals, collaborating with nonprofit organizations in cause marketing is becoming a viable option.

How to design an effective cause marketing campaign

Follow these steps to create an effective cause marketing campaign:

1. Identify a cause

A cause marketing campaign represents the values of a company and its customers. While there are instances of successful collaborations between firms with little in common, cause marketing is more effective when the cause connects to the business. Knowing the target audience and developing a campaign around their principles not only benefits the cause but can also boost brand loyalty. If it's a cause that employees believe in, they're more likely to participate.

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2. Identify a nonprofit to co-promote

Working together with a nonprofit partner may help you get the most out of the relationship. To increase awareness and exposure, successful cause marketing initiatives often use omnichannel marketing techniques. Marketing automation can assist you in creating a more robust campaign and removing the onerous and time-consuming tasks from employees' hands. These include tasks such as curating and posting to social media or sending emails. It's also critical to plan how you can co-promote the campaign with the chosen partner. Here are a few ideas of how a business can promote a cause marketing campaign:

  • Using social media to tag each other and respective followers

  • Announcing the partnership in newsletters

  • Sending a joint press release to news outlets

  • Producing content about the experience

  • Using each other's logos in marketing materials

3. Determine the contribution

The next step is to determine how much the business can contribute to the campaign or cause. For instance, you can do this by donating a portion of each item's sale to the non-profit partner. Keep in mind that money isn't necessarily sufficient to persuade customers. Also, small companies may not have the financial resources to make substantial contributions. In such cases, giving non-monetary contributions in the form of services is a viable option. Examples of services you can donate to the cause include:

  • Videography services for charitable events

  • Direct mail campaigns

  • Email marketing campaigns

  • Event planning

  • Photography services

  • Advertisement ideas

  • Copywriting services

  • Social media campaign support

  • Offering volunteer groups from the company

  • Donating products and services

These services may help the business develop a solid partnership between the company, its products, and the non-profit's charitable efforts.

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4. Involve customers in the process

One of the most effective ways to raise funds for a charity is by connecting with individuals who are already interested in the cause. Depending on their interests, you can foster robust relationships, which can lead to more contributions. Enabling the audience to take part in the cause marketing campaign can become a powerful motivator for the cause. Here are several ways the audience can take part:

  • Giving a donation to the cause, in-case or kind

  • Spreading awareness on their social media pages

  • Interacting with the nonprofit partners

  • Taking part in organized marketing events

You may inspire the audience to get involved through social media campaigns or by creating a bespoke website landing page. Giving people a sense of involvement helps them believe their actions can make a difference. Outreach efforts that validate these beliefs can be effective in increasing people's engagement.

5. Choose the best time for the campaign

In marketing, timing can make all the difference between a successful campaign and an unsuccessful one. You can pick a suitable moment for the campaign by researching various factors, such as the business calendar, market dynamics, and economic circumstances. For example, creating a campaign during an off-peak season can allow employees to devote enough time to the campaign.

6. Launch the campaign

After sorting all the details with the co-promoter, you can then launch the campaign. An effective campaign is likely to motivate your audience to take positive action. This engagement can also create higher brand awareness, an improved bottom line, and stronger community relationships.

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Tips for running a successful cause marketing campaign

You can follow these tips to help you create a successful cause marketing campaign:

  • Clear brand identity: Make the brand identity as clear as possible. Determine how you want to use cause marketing initiatives so that you may develop a strategy that achieves the business objectives.

  • Choose partners carefully: Choose a cause that's consistent with the company values. Some nonprofit organizations are better positioned to collaborate more effectively with the business.

  • Choose the best approach: Create a marketing strategy that's effective and sustainable, while making sure everyone understands the goal of the campaign. You may consider various approaches to cause marketing and pick the most appropriate approach for the organization.

  • Use appropriate language: It's often critical to double-check to ensure you're sensitive and polite with advertising or marketing language. Ensuring the audience is comfortable with the marketing language can enhance the campaign's success.

  • Be authentic: A savvy customer can detect a poorly constructed marketing pitch right away. To avoid this, try to ensure your brand messaging is distinctive, compassionate, and accurate.

  • Achieve loyalty: The key to an effective cause marketing campaign is to provide loyal consumers. The goal of the campaign is often to offer admirers and supporters logical reasons to become advocates for the cause.

  • Build relationships: Instead of focusing on obtaining partners to join you for a one-time campaign, it's advisable to concentrate on developing a connection with them. A great cause marketing usually aims for long-term collaborations.

  • Be patient: Cause marketing may not achieve all the desired results instantly. It can take time to establish a new brand image based on a cause, and it's important to build momentum and be patient to see the results.

  • Perform evaluation: At the end of a cause marketing campaign, it's often critical to evaluate the success of the efforts, as a company and collectively with the partners. Evaluating performance can help you discover what went well and what elements may require improvements.

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Benefits of cause marketing

There are many benefits that accrue to a business that employs a cause marketing strategy, such as increasing service and product sales and enhancing the public's perception of the company's commitment to social responsibility. Here are some more benefits of cause marketing:

Provides a long-term influence on sales

Supporting a cause can create an enormous influence on consumer psychology. Cause marketing can become another selling point for products or services and increase brand loyalty. Typically, customers are willing to spend more on goods and services that contribute to a social issue.

Strengthens customer loyalty and trust

Cause marketing usually fosters goodwill among customers by encouraging them to feel good about themselves. Typically, people get pleasant emotions from supporting a worthwhile cause. This can promote strong brand loyalty and trust.

Distinguishes you from the competition

Cause marketing can distinguish your employer from an ordinary profit-oriented business. Price and quality of goods or services are typically the most important differentiators customers use when making purchase decisions. Following the rise in social responsibility movements, consumers are more likely to spend their money on products and brands that support a worthwhile cause.

Shows responsiveness to customer demands

As brands get under pressure to support people over profits, companies that respond are likely to benefit from first-mover advantages. It can be critical to appeal to a wide range of people and their ideals, including through charitable giving. Effective cause-related marketing can allow a company to portray itself as responsive to customer concerns.

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