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Marketing success largely depends on brand trust.

If you’re unsure how to increase sales and about what approach you need to create brand trust, consider cause-related marketing.

Cause-related marketing is one of the 10 best marketing tips.

A study showed it tremendously drives sales, according to a communications firm, Cone, and Duke University.

It was a 2008 study, but its conclusions are timeless.

The study’s respondents participated in a simulated shopping spree at a pseudo-convenience store.

In the first of two phases, the shoppers used money provided in the study and bought products in four consumer-good classifications associated with-and-without a charitable cause.

Strong sales

The cause-related products resulted in strong sales:

— 74 percent increase for a shampoo

— 28 percent increase for a toothpaste

The second phase included adults shopping online for shampoo and toothpaste.

It resulted in the respondents spending about twice as much time reading cause-related ads as they did in viewing the generic ads.

Plus, the cause-related ads generated a 19 percent sales increase for the toothpaste brand, and a five percent increase for the shampoo among the male and female participants.

Among women shoppers, the shampoo resulted in 14 percent higher sales.

“It’s much easier to make a purchase by clicking a button than it is to pick up and experience a brand in the richer store environment; the results of our study likely lie between the impulsive online shopper and the deliberate in-store shopper,” said a Duke researcher, Gavan Fitzsimons. “One thing we know for sure consumers are paying more attention to cause messages, and as a result, are more likely to purchase.”

Despite obstacles in a recession, the study also suggested 52 percent of consumers expect companies to continue their support of charitable causes. Twenty-six percent expect companies to increase their charitable support. Eighty-five percent look more favorably at a socially responsible company.

Preferred causes

The top two consumer preferences for cause-related marketing: Economic development and education.

The study also showed these consumer attitudes:

  • 89 percent want business, government and charities to partner on causes
  • 91 percent feel businesses should communicate their support of charities
  • 58 percent said companies fail to explain their good deeds

Here’s an example of how to implement cause-related marketing: If education is a hot button for you, and ­it is for me,­ consider setting up a foundation to award scholarships. Contribute a portion of every sale to deserving students to further their education or training.

Cause-related marketing should not be overlooked, particularly, at year-end in approaching the Q4 holidays. Consumers will love you. Plus, it will help you to get top results from your marketing plan.

You can help deserving organizations increase revenue and propel your business to a profitable, stronger image if you use the six best practices for your cause-related marketing program.

From the Coach’s Corner, two additional points:

Firstly, implement marketing plan essentials for best results.

Secondly, avoid being myopic, especially in the fourth quarter. Q4 is stewardship season ­and for budgeting. Many businesses find they need to cut budgets, and they’re often laying off workers, and slashing marketing and human resources training programs. That’s a short-term need, but what about the long-term?

If you’ve been using the right approaches in marketing and human resources, your employees, training and brand equity are all assets. The companies that announce layoffs, especially between October and January, find they lose brand trust. Customers are far from impressed. They’d rather do business with a company known as a good employer.

More than ever, you need to maintain top-of-the-mind awareness ­ in the marketplace with great marketing and customer service ­– whether you’re a B2B marketer or if you target consumers.

So it’s important to find a happy balance between your assets and liabilities for short-term and long-term growth. Avoid cutting muscle in your business and when the economy recovers, you’ll be well-positioned to increase your market share. That’s a promise.

“Half the money I spend on advertising is wasted, and the problem is I do not know which half.”

-Lord Leverhulme


Author Terry Corbell has written innumerable online business-enhancement articles, and is a business-performance consultant and profit professional. Click here to see his management services. For a complimentary chat about your business situation or to schedule him as a speaker, consultant or author, please contact Terry.