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BizReport : Ecommerce archives : November 16, 2009

Internet Marketing 101: Why marketers need cause marketing

It is no secret that despite the struggling world economy, many consumers are still spending. Most are spending less than in early 2008 or 2007, but still they are spending. What may surprise many marketers is that, in addition to cutting back on spending in general consumers have changed one other aspect of their spending: they are now looking for 'good cause' companies which with to spend their dollars.

by Kristina Knight

edelman.jpgThis means marketers who partner with 'good cause' operations - a cancer research firm, a 'green' organization or educational non-profits - stand a good chance at not only meeting sales goals but surpassing them as consumers continue looking for businesses who are giving back.

The survey of 6,000 consumers worldwide found that 57% of them now shop with 'good cause' companies and two-thirds say they will switch brands if one works with 'good cause' while the other does not. Only 16% now say shopping is comforting, down from 25% in the 2008 study.

The study further found:

• 83% of respondents said they would 'change consumption habits' if the change could help the world
• Hybrid vehicles (preferred by 67%) are more popular than luxury vehicles (33% preferred)
• 70% of consumers want eco-friendly housing rather than just a 'big house'
• 69% of consumers want to support local producers - farmers, ranchers, manufacturing companies
• 33% of consumers would rather give time than money because of the economy
• 53% have increased their volunteering efforts
• Consumers (70%) want to see brands 'give back' with cause marketing rather than spend more on advertising

"People all over the world are now wearing, driving, eating, and living their social purpose as sustained engagement with good causes becomes a new criterion for social status and good social behavior," said Mitch Markson, Edelman's chief creative officer, president of its brand consulting group and founder of goodpurpose. "This gives companies and brands associated with a worthy cause an opportunity to build long-term relationships with consumers that, in turn, allow them to feel valuable within their communities. People are demanding social purpose, and brands are recognizing it as an area where they can differentiate themselves and in many parts of the world, not only meet governmental compliance requirements, but also build brand equity."

But, like other marketing efforts, cause marketing efforts should still follow best practices. In email, don't forget the welcome message and remember to only send messages according to the schedule. Whether using email or other platforms, ensure the relevancy, and timeliness of the message and keep the call to action direct and simple to follow.

"Companies that become catalysts for social change and respond to rising consumer expectations. . .will not only survive, but also thrive, in ways their competitors will not," said Markson. "Mutual social responsibility provides that opportunity, as people today are more passionately involved and supportive than ever, yet more demanding and unforgiving, as well."

The 2009 goodpurpose survey questioned the consumer habits of 6,000 people in ten countries, between ages 18-64 from July through August.

Tags: cause campaign, cause marketing, Edelman, good cause, goodpurpose, online advertising

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