Changes to “cause marketing”?

This week I registered for my last semester at college. Unfortunately, I have already completed all of my concentration (marketing) courses and will have to keep up to date with new developments in my spare time. I found an interesting article in the Philanthropy Journal today though that combined my interest in marketing & research along with non-profit work.

According to Wikipedia, “cause marketing refers to a type of marketing involving the cooperative efforts of a “for profit” business and a non-profit organization for mutual benefit.” An example would be all the random commercial items that are light pink in October, Breast Cancer Awareness Month (company donates proceeds go to the American Cancer Society.)

Anyway, the market has been becoming more particular with how companies use cause marketing. Recent studies have found that rather than focus on what the particular customer finds important, it is more beneficial that the company finds a cause that makes sense with their brand. Anne Erhard, senior vice president at communications company MSLGROUP (who conducted the study), says “what is most important is not that companies merely create cause programs to support the causes their consumers care most about, but that companies are strategically aligning with relevant, real causes that fit within their brands’ greater purpose and make the most sense in conjunction with their products and services.”

This could change how companies use cause marketing altogether. Maybe October won’t be nearly as pink anymore… Maybe a financial company wants to combine advertising with us. Here’s to wishful thinking!

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