Friday, August 1, 2008


So much has been written about this topic but few truly know how to make it work so everyone wins.Cause Related Marketing has been defined as a situation where a company partners with a specific cause or organization, and contributes money, time or services to an organization or event in return for the right to make publicity or commercial value from that involvement. The corporate benefit is generally less overt than in a sponsorship arrangement.Embracing a cause makes good business sense. Nothing builds brand loyalty among today's increasingly hard-to-please consumers like a company's proven commitment to a local cause/non profit/charity.

Other things being equal, many consumers would rather do business with a company that stands for something beyond profits.Cause-related marketing can become a cornerstone of your marketing plan. Your cause-related marketing activities should highlight your company's reputation within your target market. Cause-related marketing can positively differentiate your company from your competitors and provide an edge that delivers other tangible benefits, including:
*Increased sales
*Increased visibility – in turn building you or your company as a “brand”
* Increased customer loyalty
*Enhanced company image
*Positive and FREE media coverage

By choosing a cause you are passionate about, cause-related marketing is incredibly fulfilling. It's a way to merge your profit center with your community commitment and build a business that mirrors your values, beliefs and integrity. If your cause also resonates with your target market, your activities will generate tremendous goodwill and media attention. Imagine getting “free advertising” just for supporting a cause you believe in. It’s the epitome of “win-win”!

There was a plastic surgeon who became a media darling with a thriving practice due in part to his high-profile pro bono work in his community, a strategy that landed him radio and TV appearances in and around the town he worked.This surgeon established partnerships with local charities, including a homeless shelter and a shelter for battered women, and offered free services to their members. Before each event, he contacted local media and let them know about his involvement. Several TV crews showed up, video-taped him, and later aired the segments on the morning, afternoon and evening news. As we all know, local television news stations love the emotional element. And it was obviously rewarding to see patients after they had been treated.

These grateful patients would go talking about how glad they were to be relieved of their pain, disfigurement, etc.This plastic surgeon’s TV appearances and news articles created name recognition which in turn led to his becoming a “brand” name. The charity benefited because their constituents were helped free of charge and as an added bonus they got more donations because their name was in the news.

So what are YOU doing for your community? One doesn’t have to be a plastic surgeon, cosmetic dentist or lawyer to provide free services and/or donations to a genuinely needy cause. That one tactic could be the very thing that gives you a leg up on your competition AND serves members of the community. If we all did it, our non-profits would never need another fundraiser.

Thanks for reading.
Mary Ann McQueen Butcher
Goddess of Marketing
Red Carpet Marketing, LLC

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