The Cause Marketing Triangle: A New Approach To Cause Marketing
The past 40 years of cause marketing has taught us to believe that a cause marketing campaign, by definition, is a mutually beneficial relationship between a company or brand and a nonprofit organization or cause for the purpose of raising money, awareness and/or stakeholder engagement. Our friends at the Cause Marketing Forum define cause marketing in this way: “Cause marketing encompasses a wide variety of commercial activity that aligns a company or brand with a cause to generate business and societal benefits.”
| Posted in Marketing on Jan 23, 2013 by
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While my colleagues at Incite and I believe the above definition to be true, we suggest truly sustainable cause marketing campaigns that have significant, lasting impact, must include a third component: an equally committed, highly-targeted media partner.
Each partner in the Cause Marketing Triangle is equally important. In the traditional cause marketing partnership, the nonprofit lends the identity of its cause to the corporation’s brand in hopes of expanding their stakeholder base through new donors, volunteers or cause champions. The corporation lends its brand to the nonprofit in hopes that cause alignment will drive brand loyalty and increased sales.
The Cause Marketing Triangle recommends a third apex, a targeted-media partner. All three partners bring a shared desire to engage with the same “who,” a target audience. The nonprofit or cause brings the purpose or “why” to the campaign, the corporate partner brings its brand and products or services telling consumers “what,” and the targeted media partner brings the “how”, “when” and “where” to reach and engage their audience, mobilizing this community around the cause and the brand.
Working together to reach and engage the same audience, a cause marketing partnership that includes the right media partner can dramatically increase the campaign’s impact.
As you begin to use the Cause Marketing Triangle for your cause marketing efforts, remember that a shared audience is the single most critical variable that must be consistent between the cause, brand and media partner. Selecting your media partners strategically will increase your campaign’s credibility, heighten the level of engagement your campaign will have with your target audience and responsibly maximize your cause marketing budget.
Prepare yourself for the spotlight by having conversations with each partner in advance of implementing your campaign to ensure you are ready to handle the influx of traction that your campaign will receive. Gather buy-in from each partner to determine the assets each will bring to your partnership and how each partner will handle their part of the commitment. Here are a few simple check list questions for each party to discuss:
- Do you have a shared objective? (Tip: Your objective must be greater than “raise awareness.”)
- What will success look like? How will you know when your shared mission is accomplished?
- Is each partner prepared to track and report statistics toward your objective?
- Does your corporate partner have enough funding to implement the campaign that your media partners recommend? If not, does the nonprofit partner have access to funding through their donors, board, grants or community partners?
- Does the nonprofit partner have enough volunteers, staff and infrastructure to handle the additional exposure and audience that will be drawn to your cause due to the large audiences media can bring to bear?
- Is your media partner prepared to deliver your desired results?
Adapting the Cause Marketing Triangle is a shift from the former school of thought about cause marketing, and it works! To read more about the cause marketing triangle, download your complimentary copy of our full white paper The Cause Marketing Triangle: A New Approach to Cause Marketing here, or call 314-494-3166.
Nonprofit Media Cause Marketing Cause Marketing Triangle Incite Libby Nolan
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