Sponsorship marketing is a big business. It includes naming rights on buildings and events at one end, and sponsorship of the local chess club at the other. It can involve presenting or title status, signage, or product sampling. It may also interact through cause marketing. Many companies include cause marketing within their sponsorship marketing plans.
When I say cause marketing, I don’t just mean aligning with a “cause” such as the MS Society, or prostate cancer, or an arts organization through signage, sampling, and presenting status. I mean true cause marketing where the sponsors markets their alignment and affinity with the cause and offer a percentage of sales of their products back to cause. This is cause marketing… buy my product and I will give money to the cause. If you don’t buy my product, I don’t support the cause with money!
As published in Marketing Magazine late last year, the Ipsos-Reid /Cause Marketing Forum study revealed some interesting information. When Canadians were offered the opportunity to purchase a $25 product with 10% of the sale ($2.50) going to a cause, the message was critical in getting optimal responses. When noted that the $2.50 would go to a “national anti-hunger” agency, only 3% responded that they would buy the product. When it was noted that the $2.50 would go to a “food bank in your province” or to your charity of choice, 23% of consumers indicated they would purchase the product. But the big winner was when the consumer was presented with the fact that the $2.50 would pay for a food bank to provide 22 meals. Then a whopping 36% of Canadians would buy the product. It is also important to note that 15% of Canadians were not moved to purchase the product at all!
The study also showed that 84% of Canadians would switch brands to one affiliated with a good cause, if price and quality were comparable.
As with all sponsorship investments, engagement is critical. Stories are an important part of the message and the message must be emotional. When Canadians could see that their purchasing of this product would provide 22 meals through a food bank, they were engaged. Our sponsorships need to ensure there is an emotional engagement; they need to stand out from the clutter and deliver a tangible return to the consumer. That is how success is achieved. If you want to create a successful cause marketing program within your sponsorship portfolio, remember it needs to be engaging and creative. It needs to tell your story, and the impact or outcomes.
If you have a great cause marketing story, or even a bad one, let’s share so others can learn from it. I welcome your stories.
These are just one person’s thoughts. Yours are welcomed as well. Please add your thoughts or comments below. Thank you for reading and your feedback.