While nonprofit campaigners like to debate the merits of cause related marketing, according to the 2010 Cone Cause Evolution Study, American consumers are huge supporters of cause marketing campaigns. In fact, these types of campaigns even inspire a new group of supporters. According to the study, high-touch engagement, such as volunteerism is up 11%, advocacy is up 8% and philanthropy is up 9% since Cone’s last study in 2008. Check out the comparison chart below.
The past two years have been tough on the American economy and 31% of Americans have even higher expectations of companies to support causes during a recession because it's a time of need.
Check out some more statistics from the Cone study:
- 41% of Americans say they have bought a product because it was associated with a cause or issue in the last year – doubling since they first began measuring this in 1993 (20%).
- 90% of consumers want companies to tell them the ways they are supporting causes. Another words, 278+ million people in the U.S. want to know what a company is doing to benefit a cause.
- 83% of Americans wish more of the products, services and retailers they use would support causes.
- 61% of consumers are more likely to buy from the company who has made a long-term commitment to a focused issue. Consumer-choice campaigns (aka, inviting consumers to vote for their favorite causes) may be the cause marketing tactic du jour, but at the end of the day – or month, year or decade – consumers still want to know what a company stands for.
- 53% say they like when businesses allow them to impact the donation by tying it to a purchase (e.g., Every time they purchase this product, $1 will be donated to the cause, up to $1 million)
The study also highlighted the important role and influence moms and Millennials play in consumer marketing. As Frogloop has written about before, moms have become the chief purchasing officers and college-aged Millennials have near $40 billion in discretionary income to spend. Both demographics feel strongly about wanting to purchase products that support causes.
Moms and Consumer Marketing Statistics
- 95% find cause marketing acceptable
- 93% are likely to switch brands
- 92% want to buy a product that supports a cause
Millennials and Consumer Marketing Statistics
- 85% buy a product in which a portion of the sales goes to the support of the cause or issue
- 86% want to learn about a social or environmental issue
- 82% Serve as an advocate for an issue they care about, such as signing a petition or engaging their community
While some nonprofits don’t feel that cause marketing is ethical because it gives some corporations an opportunity to do PR white washing in exchange for donations, it’s hard to deny that consumers want more companies to support causes. Will nonprofits be more open to cause marketing relationships? And more importantly, can nonprofits exert some of their influence over these companies to not only donate money but to become more socially responsible in their everyday business?