Marketing to Moms: A Just Cause

August 11, 2009 § 4 Comments

Moms love a just cause. In fact, they are many times the arms and legs of many of America’s largest non-profit organizations.

But even more important for marketers is mom’s predilection to support causes with their household purchases.  Moms channel their purchasing decisions towards companies that support a cause they deem important.

The 2008 PR Week/Barkley Cause survey revealed that moms demand companies use their power for good, with 85.6 percent saying it’s important for companies to support a cause.

With regard to our purchasing decisions,

  • 58% say they would pay more for a brand that supports a cause
  • 69.2% say they would try a brand because it supports a cause
  • 76.8% say they would recommend a brand that supports a cause
  • 66% of moms say they have purchased a brand because it supports a cause.

And companies are responding. The survey, which also interviewed CMOs, found that companies are responding to consumer demand for cause marketing. Sixty-seven percent of companies today have a cause program.

You don’t have to look far to find really targeted cause related marketing programs that have become integral to brands.

YOPLAIT SAVE LIDS TO SAVE LIVESYoplait, its parent company General Mills and its foundation have contributed more than $18 million to the breast cancer cause in the past nine years.  It’s Save Lids to Save Lives program is well-known among women who have collected lids for years.

Every Mom also knows the General Mills Boxtops for Education program and the contributions that go back to their local schools.  And Campbell Soup may have the granddaddy of all programs with their Label for Education program which has existed for more than 36 years.

StarbucksStarbucks has long been associated with free trade coffee and has recently expanded their Project Red involvement. CEO Howard Schultz often talks up “responsible capitalism” in interviews, announcing expansion of its partnership with the (Red) organization via the creation of value cards that can be used for purchases throughout next year. Every time a customer uses a card, the retailer has pledged to donate five cents to the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis, and Malaria.

Pampers 1 Pack = 1 VaccinePampers recently introduced a “1 Pack=1 Vaccine” program.  For every pack of specially marked Pampers diapers and wipes purchased in the U.S. and Canada, Pampers donated the cost of one tetanus vaccine to the U.S. Fund for UNICEF. In its inaugural year, the brand donated funding for over 45 million vaccines.

Key to any brand is their brand associations.  And for cause marketing to be effective, their cause marketing needs to relate to their core brand identity.  Certainly the brands that have tapped into causes that directly relate to their mission and that of their consumers have been the most successful.  Ronald McDonald House Charities are celebrating their 35th year by asking participants to tell their story of help and sharing.  That’s a relationship with a brand that means more than any Happy Meal advertising.

And while many companies have cut their overall marketing budgets, a number of companies have recognized the importance of maintaining their cause marketing efforts.

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