Cause marketing

Cause marketing is defined as a type of corporate social responsibility , in which a company has the dual purpose of increasing profitability while bettering society. [1]

A similar sentence, cause-related marketing , usually refers to a subset of cause marketing that involves the cooperative efforts of a for-profit business and a non-profit organizationfor mutual benefit. A high-profile form of cause-related marketing occurs at checkout counters when customers are asked to support a charitable donation. Differs from corporate giving ( philanthropy ), as the cause of tax-deductible , while cause marketing is not necessarily based on a donation.


The first known case of marketing in America was in March, 1974 when Carr & Associates International was formed by John T. Carr as a way of “giving back” by engaging charitable causes and businesses to support each other. The organization has been promoted by John T. Carr’s focus on marketing and marketing. and having those funds redirected to the charitable cause of the buyer’s choice.

In 1976, the first citation needed ] major cause marketing campaign was executed through a partnership between the Marriott Corporation and the March of Dimes . Marriott’s world-class hotel and restaurant, 200-acre (0.81 km 2 ), Marriott’s Great America in Santa Clara, CA. The March of Dimes’ objective is to greatly increase fundraising while motivating the collection of pledges by the program’s deadline. The promotion was conducted simultaneously in 67 cities throughout the western United States. This cause marketing campaign and partnership raised year Unprecedented citation needed ] $ 2.4 million To Become The Most successful promotional citation needed ] in the history of Chapters West of the March of Dimes, while providing good Hundreds of Thousands of dollars in free publicity and stimulating a 2.2 million person attendance, a regional theme park record, for the opening year of the Marriott entertainment complex. quote needed ]

Another of the first examples of a cause-related marketing campaign was initiated in 1979 by Rosica, Mulhern & Associates for Famous Amos Cookies. [2] In this campaign, Wally Amos became the national spokesperson for the Literacy Volunteers of America. [3] According to the organization, Wally has alerted more people to the illiteracy problem than any other person in history. This strategic cause marketing tie-in Helped to tell the Famous Amoscookie story while Maintaining visibility, and is Responsible For Many new and expanded literacy programs. This case study is now used in national classrooms as an example of successful “cause-related marketing”. In 1982 Nancy Brinker, founder of Susan G. Komen for the Cure was an early pioneer of marketing cause, allowing millions to participate in the fight against breast cancer by Komen’s commitment to end the disease. [4]

The recent interest in cause-related marketing is the cause of American Express, who apparently coined the phrase in 1983. Following various pilot schemes in 1981, American Express developed a campaign that donated funds to a different non-profitorganizations as part of the San Francisco Arts Festival. Essentially every time someone used an American Express Card in the area, a 2-cent donation was triggered and each time was applied. The marketing goals that American Express had for this program were apparently exceeded. Card use has been reported to have increased significantly and American Express and their merchants also improved as a result of the promotion. From the charity’s point of view, $ 108,000 was raised, making a significant contribution to their work. The terms “cause-related marketing” and “cause marketing” have continued to grow in use since that time.[5]


According to a report published by onPhilanthropy , [6] marketing causes sponsorship by American businesses is rising at a dramatic rate. Citing an IEG, Inc. study, $ 1.11 trillion Was spent in 2005 year Estimated $ 1.34 trillion Was be spent in 2006, and the number Has Risen further Top in 2007. As an update, IEG [7] Reported That causes Grew 3.9% to reach $ 1.85 billion in 2014. For 2015 they forecast 3.7% growth for cause to reach $ 1.92 billion. [8]

Cause-related marketing is a powerful marketing tool that business and nonprofit organizations are increasingly leveraging. Selon the Cone Millennial Cause Study in 2006 [9] 89% of Americans (aged 13 to 25) Would switch from one brand to Reviews another brand of a similar product (and price) if the lathing brand Was associated with “good cause” . The same study also indicates that a major percentage surveyed would be considered to be a socially responsible. This can be linked to the increase in workplace giving programs. Earlier studies by Cone indicate an upward trend in the number of Americans who associate their own buying habits with cause marketing as well as those companies to be “good corporate citizens”. [10] These studies also show a substantial increase from just before to September 11, 2001 attacks .

Numerous other studies have been led to show that cause-related marketing has helped to increase a company’s profits. For example, in the cause marketing campaign by American Express (to which the term “marketing cause” is attributed), the company has a 17% increase in new users and a 28% increase in card usage. Evidence shows that CSR voluntarily initiated by firms will result in more opportunities for CSR mandated by the government. [11]

Benefits and concerns

The potential benefits of nonprofit marketing organizations may increase their ability to promote the organization’s cause through the greater financial resources of a business, and an increased ability to reach their supporters through a company’s customer base. The potential benefits of marketing for business include positive public relations , improved customer relations , additional marketing opportunities, and making more money. These benefits occur because this marketing model gives the consumer the feeling of being a philanthropist while doing something as simple as buying a pair of shoes. [12]

With that said, there are some concerns related to cause marketing. The issue of trust has emerged as central to the potential for the impact of cause marketing. Specifically, 78% of consumers reported that they are a nonprofit and a company that they trust makes stand out (2010, Cone Nonprofit Marketing Trend Tracker). If it is a consumer who is behind the cause of marketing, it can be seen as an insincere effort to attract more loyalty from consumers. For that reason, it is important that the cause of marketing is authentic to the brand image of the products that are running the marketing campaign. Another potential issue with marketing is possible in the price of the cause-related products. In fact,[13] Consumers are also well donated, according to Eikenberry (2009). [14] In the age of social media, it is essential that the cause of the cause of the campaign is raised to the cause. [15]

Online cause marketing


Originally a marketing strategy that occurred offline, cause marketing has been conducted in the last decade. This is due in part to the increasing percentage of households with internet connections. As with other types of marketing campaigns, companies can leverage online marketing channels along with other offline channels such as print and media . (Sometimes referred to as integrated marketing ).

The advent of online marketing has helped consumers, for example, those who are loyalty program members, to take a more active role in cause marketing. This is democratized transactional giving . It means consumers, rather than companies, decide which causes to support and advocate for. An example of how it may be a company that allows its loyalty program to be converted to such a reward, such as points or miles, in the form of donations to the causes of the customers’ own choice, rather than having the company select the charities. An online platform is necessary to connect the customers to a large-enough selection of charities.

Online charity auctions

In recent years, online auctions-have-been used in cause marketing strategies using a number of different online auction platforms. Companies have created programs to help sellers and corporations donate a percentage of their sales to a nonprofit organization through the use of auctions. Businesses and nonprofit organizations can also use the program for marketing and nonprofit fundraising programs.

Companies and charities can not only raise money through online auctions, but create awareness for a specific cause or charity. Online auction bidders can view photos, descriptions and suggested bids of items online. Most online auctions use a style of bidding called proxy bidding , in which the online system makes bids for the current participant in increments up to the maximum bidding amount set by the participant. [16]

Alternatively, many online auctions are manual auctions. Sometimes, participants will call or email their bid to the online auctioneer, with the auctioneer updating the auction in real time. This type of charity auction works best for auctions with fewer items, or auctions with an expectation for less bids. [17]


Cause marketing can take on many forms, including:

Transactional Campaigns: A corporate donation triggered by a consumer action (eg sharing a social media message, making a purchase, etc.) and Non-Transactional Campaigns: A corporate donation to a cause such as in cause sponsorship is not contingent on an explicit action of the consumer.

Point of Sale Campaigns: A donation made by the consumer (eg consumers are asked to make a purchase when they check out online or in-store)

Message-Focused Campaigns: Business resources are used to share a cause-focused message. For example, a campaign that encourages behavior change, or drives awareness about an important cause, or encourages consumer action (eg signing a petition to save whales from captivity). [18]


  • One example of cause-marketing would be the partnership of Yoplait’s “Save Lids to Save Lives” campaign in support of the Susan G. Komen for the Cure . Yoplait donates 10 cents for each lid.
  • DICK’s Sports Matters was launched in 2014 to raise awareness of the issue of youthfulness and the ability to raise funds through the DICK’s Sporting Goods Foundation. [19]
  • An example of a nonprofit certification of a product (business) includes the American Heart Association’s stamp of approval on Cheerios , the popular breakfast cereal. The American Heart Food Certification program grants use of its “Heart Check” icon and name to dozens of cereals and juices meaning that product meets the associations of low-fat, low-cholesterol standards [20]
  • Launched in early 2006, Product Red is an example of one of the largest causes-related marketing campaigns as well as its participants worldwide. It is also an example of a marketing campaign that is also branded on its own. Product Red Was created to supporting The Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria (aka “The Global Fund”) and includes companies Such As Apple Computer , Motorola , Giorgio Armani , and The Gap as participants. [21]
  • PeaceKeeper Cause-Metics is a cosmetics company for which all profits, are used to support women’s health advocacy and human rights issues, while educating the mass consumer about many issues within the Human Rights field. The Company was established in 1999. [22]

See also

  • Corporate Social Responsibility
  • Corporate image
  • Foundation (charity)
  • List of marketing topics
  • marketing
  • Non-profit organization
  • Philanthropy
  • Public relations


  1. Jump up^ Organ, Michael. “Cause Marketing – Definition” . Retrieved June 7,2017 .
  2. Jump up^ The Record article, “He spreads word on literacy aid”
  3. Jump up^ Amos Wally – AEI Speakers Bureau
  4. Jump up^ Susan G. Komen® | News. Retrieved on 2013-07-29.
  5. Jump up^ Cause Related Marketing – Sue Adkins – Google Books. Retrieved on 2013-07-29.
  6. Jump up^ onPhilanthropy: Articles: SPECIAL REPORT: Consumer PhilanthropyArchived2007-10-27 at theWayback Machine.
  7. Jump up^ IEG Sponsorship Report – Forecast Slams Brakes On Sponsorship Spending Archived2012-09-12
  8. Jump up^ “Sponsorship Spending Growth Slows In North America As Newer Media Marketers Marketer And Marketing Option” . Archived from the original on 2015-12-28 . Retrieved 2015-12-30 .
  9. Jump up^ Civic-Minded Millennials Prepared to Reward or Punish
  10. Jump up^ CONE CORPORATE CITIZENSHIP Study Fact Sheet -2002permanent dead link ]
  11. Jump up^ Armstrong, J. Scott; Green, Kesten C. (1 December 2012). “Effects of Corporate Social Responsibility and Irresponsibility Policies” (PDF) . Retrieved 28 October 2014 .
  12. Jump up^
  13. Jump up^ “2010 Cone Cause Evolution Study” (PDF) . 2010.
  14. Jump up^ Eikenberry, Angela M. (2009). “The Hidden Costs of Cause Marketing”. Stanford Social Innovation Review . 7 (3): 51-56.
  15. Jump up^ Rozensher, Susan (2013-03-28). “Growth Of Cause Marketing: Past, Current, And Future Trends” . Journal of Business & Economics Research . 11 (4): 181-186. ISSN  2157-8893 .
  16. Jump up^ Quinn, Laura S. (2011-07). “Few Good Online Auction Tools”. ideal-ware. Retrieved 2014-1-16.
  17. Jump up^ Quinn, Laura S. (2011-07). “Few Good Online Auction Tools”. ideal-ware. Retrieved 2014-1-16.
  18. Jump up^ “FAQ – Cause Marketing Forum” . . Retrieved 2015-12-30 .
  19. Jump up^ “Cause Marketing Winner’s Halo Award Winners | Search Previous CM Winners’ Halo Award – Cause Marketing Forum” . . Retrieved 2015-12-30 .
  20. Jump up^ IEG’s Guide to Corporate / Nonprofit ArchivedRelationships2013-08-21 at theWayback Machine.
  21. Jump up^ Phu, Cindy N. (2010). “Save Africa: The commodification of (PRODUCT) RED campaign” (PDF) . Kaleidoscope . California State University, Los Angeles. 9 : 107-126 . Retrieved January 8, 2016 .
  22. Jump up^ “Effective partnerships key to combating gender-based violence” . Pambazuka News . Fahamu Trust. November 25, 2004 . Retrieved 26 October 2017 .