Cone Study to Local Nonprofits: Now is the Time for Cause Marketing

One of the conclusions that can be drawn from the 2010 Cause Evolution Study is that at no point in the history of cause marketing has there been a better time than now for local causes and companies to work together on point-of-sale and cause-related products. Here are the reasons why.

Americans want MORE cause marketing

83%. That's the number of Americans that wish more of the products, services and retailers they used would support causes.

Americans also think that company support for causes is acceptable (88%) and they reward those companies with a positive image (85%) .

Cause  Marketing Differentiates Brands and Drives Sales

The number of Americans that have said they bought a product because it was associated with a cause has doubled since 1993 (41%).

Cause adds value at every turn. 1 in 5 consumers will pay more for a cause-related product. A cause will prompt 61% to try a product they've never heard of. And a whopping 80% of consumers would switch to a brand that supports a cause when price and quality are equal.

Moms & Millennials Rule Cause Marketing, and Are Ruled By It

Moms are the household shoppers and Millennials are the hipster shoppers of the moment and the household consumers of tomorrow. Both are heavily drawn to cause marketing and are fans of the practice. They are the key consumers for many businesses and the donors of today and tomorrow.

Consumers Want Companies to Act Locally

46% of Americans believe that companies should focus on issues that impact local communities. While this is down from 55% in 1993, it still represents the largest area of interest for Americans. National is 37% and global is 17%. I suspect that the declining percentages in local may just reflect what consumers are seeing in the marketplace, which is lots of national (e.g. Komen) and global (e.g. Product RED) cause marketing.

But it's clear from the Cone Study that consumers prefer local cause marketing. 91% said that companies should support an issue in the communities where they do business.

Consumers Prefer Transactional Cause Marketing

Shoppers prefer point-of-sale (81%) and cause-related products (75%). This is great news for local nonprofits and businesses as they both have an easy point of entry for causes and businesses of all sizes.

Frontline Employees are the Key to Cause Marketing Success

70% of Americans said they are more likely to make a donation if an employee recommends it, which makes employees critical to the success of point-of-sale and cause-related products. Employee education and training in causes is key and causes with a local presence have the edge, if they will only take advantage of it.

Hyper-Local is the Future of Cause Marketing

As Cone reports, CauseWorld, Foursquare, Facebook Places and QR codes (ahem, thanks for reading guys) will change the in-store cause marketing experience for consumers. More importantly, the tools and opportunity they offer will be as much available to local nonprofits and businesses as they are to national causes and retailers.

IF YOU'RE A NONPROFIT THIS IS WHAT YOU NEED TO DO NOW

Focus on building your brand. Nothing will be more critical in distinguishing your cause from other causes, both local and national, and building your connection with consumers.

Learn how to do transactional cause marketing. Shoppers prefer point-of-sale and cause-related products, which is great news because these are the two most lucrative tactics for raising money for your nonprofit through cause marketing.

Here's an example of our last transactional cause marketing program.

Here's how you can learn to do transactional cause marketing for a very reasonable price.

Frontline employees are key. Focus on educating and motivating your partner's employees. You might also want to consider using incentives

Check-in with location-based marketing. Not only will LBM be a huge part of cause marketing moving forward, but knowing it will give you an edge over other causes, again both local and national, who are stuck in an offline world.

Start by reading these posts. If I could recommend one location-based service it would be Foursquare. If you have time for a second, Facebook Places. I've written on both.

IF YOU'RE A COMPANY THIS IS WHAT YOU NEED TO DO NOW

Choose a cause. One that you really care about and want to share with your customers. Some companies make the mistake of starting with a cause their customers care about. But if your management team and frontline employees don't connect with the cause they won't promote it to customers. Work inside out.

Choose a cause marketing program. Will it be point-of-sale or a cause-related product? Do some research and email me your questions.

Learn how to do transactional cause marketing. Shoppers prefer point-of-sale and cause-related products, which is great news because these are the two most lucrative tactics for raising money for causes.

Here's an example of my last transactional cause marketing program.

Here's how you can learn to do transactional cause marketing for a very reasonable price.

Frontline employees are key. Focus on educating and motivating your employees. Working with your cause partner, you might also want to consider using incentives

Join the location-based marketing bandwagon. It will be worth it. You'll find lots of ways to use LBM in addition to cause marketing. LBM will be a big part of small business marketing moving forward and knowing how to use it will give you an edge in business.

Start by reading these posts. If I could recommend one location-based service it would be Foursquare. If you have time for a second, Facebook Places. I've written on both.

A simple cause marketing promotion for Foursquare is to set up an offer so when customers check-in they get a notice that the sale of a product will benefit a cause.

Cone's newest study is exciting news. The Evolution Study will hopefully spawn a new generation of cause marketing partnerships between local causes and businesses. Their success will be a test of the survival of the fittest. Will you be one of the winners?