Cause Related Marketing -
Making profits while doing good.

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Cause Related Marketing (CRM) has been defined as:

“The public association of a for-profit company with a non-profit organization for the purpose of promoting the company’s product or service while raising money for the charitable organization.

CRM campaigns can range in complexity from the simple donation of a percentage of a purchase price, to complicated arrangements including special projects and long term, integrated relationships. One of the earliest examples of Cause Related Marketing is a 1979 campaign launched by Famous Amos Cookies. In that campaign, founder Wally Amos became the national Spokesman for the Literacy Volunteers of America. That campaign not only brought attention and consumer goodwill to the Famous Amos brand, but it was also responsible for the creation or expansion of many literacy programs.

Veterans Advantage, Inc.

Though the Famous Amos campaign was one of the first CRM campaigns, the term ‘Cause Related Marketing’ was actually coined four years later during a 1983 campaign by American Express. In that campaign, every time an American Express Card was used anywhere by anyone, the company donated one cent to the Statue of Liberty Restoration Project. It is worth noting that during that campaign, American Express saw a 17% increase in new users and a 28% increase in card use.

Other numbers also show the effectiveness of CRM. For example, according to one study, 89% of Americans age 13-25 would switch from one brand to a competing brand of a comparable product and price if the latter brand was associated with a “good cause.” What’s more, studies also indicate that a significant percentage of employees would rather work for a company considered socially responsible, and that those employees have corresponding higher morale.

Perhaps one of the greatest benefits to a company involved in Cause Marketing is the intangible ‘good will’ it generates among consumers.
Recent examples of CRM include Mercedes Benz donating a percentage of sales totaling a contribution of approximately $1 million to help find a cure for cancer, and Estee Lauder's donation of a percentage of sales totaling $500,000 for breast cancer research.

And then there are companies that have made Cause Marketing a central part of their business mission. Ben and Jerry’s was one of the earliest, choosing a different cause to support each year. And of course, there is the ‘Newman’s Own’ line of products. Founded by the late actor Paul Newman, proceeds from the sale of his products have raised $250 million for a variety of charities.

Cause Related Marketing can be an effective and socially responsible form of marketing for companies of any size. Any campaign that boosts company profits while helping a charitable cause is a combination that benefits everyone.

-by Andrew Sokol
Andrew Sokol is a Business and Marketing Strategist.
He is also the publisher of this website.
Andrew is available for private consulting and public speaking.
He can be reached by clicking Contact Us.

Related Articles:

1 Effective Advertising
2. Sample Marketing Plans
3. Internet Branding

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