Cause Marketing: When Giving Your All May Not Be Enough
Aug 26, 2009
My colleague Dan Kowitz's earlier post on cause marketing illustrated a potentially troubling trend for companies and nonprofits involved in cause marketing.
Though recent consumer research seems to encourage companies to get more involved with causes, those companies will be facing consumers with big expectations. With many companies making six-figure minimum cause marketing guarantees, the bar has been set pretty high. “Go big or go home” might be true with respect to sponsorship, but it seems like a dangerous game to play with cause marketing.
If you're trying to wow the public with your level of involvement with a cause, then the size of a donation or fundraising campaign does matter. But if I were a relatively small player, I would find it troubling if I took flak for not giving away enough—though it might actually be a much larger percentage of my budget than one of the big guys.
Certainly this is the reality of a competitive marketplace. But we—as an industry and as consumers—may be shooting ourselves in the foot by setting impossibly high standards. If we glorify a select few companies for their involvement, will the perceived cost of entry become prohibitive for small players and actually discourage them from getting involved with nonprofits? We’ve worked with several organizations facing this challenge with their cause marketing efforts, and it requires a lot of time and frank discussion to figure out how to offer unique solutions to the multi-national corporation and the local mom-and-pop.
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