Adams & Knight Marketing Blog
POSTED BY: Reem Nouh

Is your cause marketing campaign missing key ingredients?


The stakes are high for cause marketers—and the organizations they partner with.

This year, in North America alone, cause-marketing efforts will likely reach an eye-opening $1.92 billion.

With so much potential to do so much good, the real challenge for cause marketers is to come up with a formula that doesn’t simply work, but instead, results in a significant impact—for an organization, a community and for individuals.

So what’s the formula for success?

Based on several cause-marketing campaigns that our agency has executed (and received awards for), there are three essential ingredients that must be part of any cause marketing effort.

Tug at hearts to win over minds. No matter what cause you champion, make sure it strategically aligns with a service line or focus of your organization. Then, stop and ask: What’s the emotional angle . . . the “hook” that will tug at people’s hearts and motivate them to take action, engage, advocate, donate, etc.? So if your cause is, say, to increase organ donation, you could tie that cause to the transplant program at your healthcare organization for a halo effect. What if a tie-in to a service line isn’t possible? Find a connection between your cause and something that is relevant or will resonate with your key audience.

Make your tie-in more than an accessory. Of course, once you get that emotional tie from your cause marketing effort, you want to make sure you do something with it. So it’s important to create a call-to-action that not only rallies your audiences but also gets them to do something valuable to contribute to your cause. For example, if organ donation is your cause, make an emotional connection with your audience. Then, once your audience is engaged, ask them to register to become a donor online.

Don’t just track results. Drive response! Just as with all marketing efforts, you’ll want to set up criteria for measuring results right from the beginning. But more importantly, make sure to incorporate a form of real-time tracking into your campaign. Not only will you see results for your campaign as they happen, but you’ll also be able to reach out with messaging that’s relevant to how the campaign is doing at a particular point in time, and further drive response.

For example, if your tracking reveals that you are almost 50% to your goal, you could reach out to your targets with messaging like: “We’re already halfway to our goal. Please donate/give, etc. in the next two weeks.” You can also see which tactics are performing better in real time and allow you to make some quick adjustments to help improve a tactic that may not be performing as well. And when you reach your goal? Thank your audiences for making the campaign successful, let them know the goal was reached and then consider setting an even bigger goal to continue the cause beyond the confines of the campaign.

Of course, every cause is different and no two campaigns will ever be exactly the same. But by following this three-part formula, you can launch a successful campaign. And ensure that your organization is surrounded by the halo effect of taking up an important and meaningful cause.

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Reem Nouh
Chief Strategy Officer
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