Why You Should Care About Cause Marketing

Cause marketing is not just a do-gooder effort that helps nonprofits — it’s also marketing that helps brands like yours cut through the noise, stay top-of-mind, and drive more business. 

Consumers want to support brands that share their desire to make the world a better place. For brands, it’s a smart and simple way to make a social impact and reap the economic benefits, too.

Let’s say you have the best prices. Perhaps surprisingly, for most consumers, this is no longer their main motivator to buy. So what can you do to stand out in this era of stern online competition?

Check this out: given similar price and quality of products, 91% of consumers said they would likely switch to purchasing to a brand that supports a cause they believe in, according to a Cone/Echo Global CSR Study.

If your brand caters to millennials or Gen Z, in particular, trends and studies (such as the surveys conducted by DoSomething Strategic) show these audiences choose to spend their hard-earned dollars on brands with purpose, time after time — especially when those brands focus on connecting with their audience through a genuine, deep commitment to a cause as opposed to an individual, one-off, short-lived campaign (although the latter can also prove successful).

How to leverage cause marketing in 3 steps

Here’s what you need to know:

1. Select a cause or charity you truly believe in that’s relevant to the brand

Consumers are savvy these days and easily pick up on cognitive dissonance (a.k.a. if you’re just paying lip service to a cause to make sales, they’ll know it). 

When selecting a charity or cause to support, consider what makes your brand unique and what it stands for; bring your core values to mind. This will help you pick a cause that’s unique to your company and less likely to be duplicated by your competitors. 

In this light, what cause matters most to you and your team? Is this a cause your customers can fervently support as well? 

When employees believe in the cause, it’ll show in your copy and in your customer service and echo throughout your work and offerings. And consumers love to support a genuine brand that’s not just raising funds but awareness too!

2. Keep it simple …or get more involved 

Cause marketing can be as easy as donating a % of your monthly sales from specific products or allowing your customers to round up their purchase to the nearest dollar and donate the change to your selected charity (or up to 20 nonprofits if you’re using the Shop for Good app on Shopify!). 

For a deeper involvement, many charities offer specific perks for their business partners ranging from specific cross-promotion to organized volunteer dates.

Just like with personal giving, your brands giving should be customized to what works best for you. Our advice is: Start small and grow.

3. Put a ring on it: Market your commitment to a cause so it causes profits

Wham bam, thank you, [buyer] isn’t a profitable strategy: brands now need to build long-term relationships with their customers to keep profits growing. 

Use your cause marketing as a bountiful opportunity to continually touch base with and engage your customers throughout their journey with your brand. It’s wonderful to make giving a part of your customer journey, and it’s even more impactful if more of your customers learn about it! 

Shop for Good has multiple features, like Round-Up, % of Sales, and Donate for Discount that are displayed on your product or cart pages and can be interchanged all year long to keep your cause marketing fresh.

Speaking of which, everyone is busy, so expect that you’ll get a bolder response if you employ several touchpoints with your audience motivating them to take action via a donation. 

In addition to that, be loud and proud promoting your collaboration with nonprofits via:

  • Social media (maybe even create a unique hashtag to engage followers!)
  • A banner on your homepage
  • A landing page
  • Your newsletter 
  • Etc.

…To get more people jazzed about your products, your brand, and your far-reaching efforts. Even consider creating a video or other marketing collateral for ongoing efforts to maximize the effectiveness of your giving. 

Cause marketing FTW

All this is nice and good, but what do the hard numbers look like? Glad you asked!

At Shop for Good, we’ve seen our brand partners enjoy big successes even in a short amount of time.

Consider artisanal dog bakery Bubba Rose, which increased its average order value (AOV) by a generous 16% merely by linking its purchases to giving by using Shop for Good’s Donate for Discount campaign on an ongoing basis. 

In Q3 2019, Bubba Rose saw its AOV jump from $50 (orders that excluded a donation) to $88.25 (orders linked to a donation) in its retail store and from $246.39 to $361.87 in its wholesale store. 

Socially conscious brand Charged Jewelry has been using Shop for Good to support different nonprofits each month and gauge alignment with their customers. The result? More than 40% of all orders included a donation and the brand experienced a wonderful 29.76% increase in average order value for orders in October, compared to orders not linked to a donation.

Do you care about cause marketing yet?

In an era when 80% of consumers care about societal issues and believe that businesses should play a role in addressing them, according to the 2016 Edelman TRUST BAROMETER, leveraging cause marketing is more powerful than ever. 

And it’s easy to implement as well, allowing you to set it and forget it as you focus on your business and gear up for the holiday season.

Ready to make cause marketing work for you?

Go beyond product & price with purpose & impact.

Turn the social causes you care about most, into engaging ecommerce experiences that deliver meaningful impact and measurable business results.

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