A small business can attract customers and also do some good locally or nationwide with cause marketing. Cause marketing is generally defined as the close alignment of a for-profit business with a non-profit entity for an altruistic or humanitarian goal. For example, General Mills donated 10 cents to the Susan G. Komen Breast Cancer Foundation every time a pink lid from its brand of Yoplait yogurt was sent in. The campaign, which ran from 1998 through 2014, raised more than $35 million.
Such mutual cooperation can impact a business in practical ways. One study on cause marketing found that 72 percent of people surveyed would recommend a brand that supported a cause.
Zimmer Radio & Marketing Group, a Columbia, Missouri-based communications company, has identified these benefits to small businesses of participating in a cause marketing campaign.
1. Boosts your brand image
A business that aligns itself with a good cause will often see their brand image elevated in the eyes of their customers and potentially to prospects outside the business's neighborhood. Consumers think favorably of businesses that take part in activities that go beyond just selling a product or service.
When your business supports a good cause, you will likely generate more media coverage—and attract more customers. Consumers are willing to demonstrate their commitment to you and your cause with their wallets. A Nielsen survey on corporate social responsibility found that 42 percent of people surveyed in North America would be "willing to pay extra for products and services from companies committed to positive social and environmental impact."
3. Recruits and retains employees
Supporting good causes makes a difference to your current employees as well as to future job seekers, leading to a deeper loyalty to your business. Millennials in the 18-to-34 age bracket are particularly drawn to businesses that demonstrate a genuine commitment to cause marketing.
4. Gives you access to new audiences
Even if the cause you align yourself with is not perfectly suited to the interests of your target audience, your business can still come out ahead. You will be able to reach new kinds of consumers who might not have been moved before through your ordinary marketing methods.
5. Supplements your sales
Studies show that consumers are highly likely to buy products and services from businesses that support good causes over those that don't, all other things being equal. The "feel good" sensation that customers get from helping you support a cause they believe in can lead to a rosier bottom line.
The evidence seems clear that cause marketing can not only contribute to a community, but can also burnish your sales, employee, and brand potential.
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