Why Franchises Should Take Cause Marketing Seriously


Cause marketing is another buzzword that’s floating around today, but it’s more than just a “buzzword.” In fact, it’s becoming one of the most valuable marketing efforts that companies can undertake. Today’s consumer wants to do business with companies that care. They want to work with brands that have a purpose and are doing more than just selling products or services. Enter the world of cause marketing. 

What is cause marketing, though, and why is it becoming so popular? There are a lot of different reasons that brands are finding success, but it all comes back to the fact that it makes a social impact on the prospective customer base. People like working with people that do good things. 

What is cause marketing?

Put simply, cause marketing is a type of program where a business will partner with a specific nonprofit organization to help drive donations. This promotes their brand, as well, and helps them encourage others to do good. It shows people that your business is out for more than just another sale and that you pay attention to the world around you. 

There are tons of examples of cause marketing out there in the world. All it takes is a quick look and you’ll see top campaigns and efforts like:

  • Walgreens Red Nose Day
  • Dove’s Campaign for Real Beauty 
  • 100% for the Planet 
  • Spirit of Children (Spirit Halloween) 

The last one is a great campaign—unlike a lot of percentage-based programs, Spirit of Children gives 100% of all donations to local children’s hospitals, based on where the donations were made. Why would you shop anywhere else for Halloween décor and costumes with an incentive like that?

Why is cause marketing so effective?

Cause marketing works because it lets businesses do good and brag about it. People love a good cause and they love to help out when they can. However, it’s tedious and time-consuming for them to find their own campaigns and causes. When franchises and big brands take the reins, cause marketing efforts are blasted across the media space, helping people find ways to give back and feel good about their consumerism. 

93% of consumers say that companies supporting a cause are viewed as more positive than those that skip the philanthropic efforts. Americans are also more likely to trust companies that back social and other causes. People are going to make purchases anyway—they want to know they’re buying with the best. 

Tips for success

Of course, you can’t just add a donation to your marketing efforts and call it a day. You have to take the time to choose an effort that aligns with your brand, mission, and values. Make sure that you choose something that you are passionate about or that your people believe in. You can’t donate to everyone, all the time. 

Choose a single charity or theme to stick with that helps you provide a streamlined effort. Then, do more than just start throwing money their way. You will also want to build networks and connections so that you can truly support your cause. Encourage your employees to get engaged, too. 

Use social media to raise awareness and make sure that you are actually putting forth your best effort. The fastest way to fail with cause marketing is to get into it for the conversions alone—those will come as you build your reputation and social status, so don’t rush them. 

Perhaps one of the most important tips for cause marketing success: 

Don’t just donate during the holidays. 

Plenty of people and companies get involved from November to January, and that’s great, but true philanthropy is a year-round effort. Make sure that you develop and integrate a strategy that allows you to incorporate your efforts into all seasonal campaigns. Awareness months and popular seasons are great times to get more attention, but they’re not the only place you need to be focusing your efforts. 

Make your intentions clear

This is another big part of success with cause marketing efforts. People want to know what you’re doing and why you’re doing it. If you’re giving half your sales to a charity for a weekend, explain that to people. If you are donating 10% for each specific item purchased, let them know. And make sure that your efforts are true and serious. 

Consumers make impressions based on how much you’re giving. For example, if a multi-billion dollar enterprise is giving five percent of total sales, that’s not a very valiant effort. However, campaigns like the Spirit of Children fund mentioned above draw a lot of attention because 100% of all donations go to local children’s hospitals. 

If someone donates $20, the hospital gets $20. If they donate $1, it goes to the hospital. There’s no middleman, no fine print, and certainly no frustration with big-name franchises that are donating a fraction of their profits for the sake of getting noticed. People want authenticity in all of your marketing and especially with cause marketing. 

Time is running out 

People feel like the clock is ticking and the effects of things like climate change are getting to a point where they can’t be reversed. There are several things in the world that people cannot impact or affect, no matter how much they want to. Cause marketing works because it gives people more power. When your franchise is the one presenting them with that power, they will remember it and come back to you in the future. 

Remember, you have to be authentic and truly committed to your cause. If you’re doing this just for publicity, people will notice and that won’t end well. Take advantage of cause marketing for your business and watch your leads and conversions soar. 

Is your cause leading to a lack of resources?

When you start new marketing efforts, you’re going to need to be prepared for the influx of leads. Partner with the virtual receptionists at Smith.ai for a 24/7 answering service, along with support for lead intake and appointment scheduling, too. Learn more when you schedule a consultation or reach out to hello@smith.ai

Business Education
Elizabeth Lockwood is the content marketing associate at Smith.ai. She focuses specifically on writing and editing engaging articles, blog posts, and other forms of publication.

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