B1 Cause Marketing

Part of a series of Top 10 Closing the Sale Mobile Marketing Strategies

Cause Marketing involves “the cooperative efforts of a for profit business and a non‑profit organization for mutual benefit.”[i] Cause marketing combined with mobile marketing and social media marketing can be a powerful way to achieve viral marketing results, meet business objectives and gain far more engagement and exposure from your corporate charitable donations.

Research shows that “when quality and price are equal, social purpose ranks as the most important factor in selecting a brand.” Social purpose acts as a purchase trigger for 53 percent of consumers, up significantly from 41 percent a couple of years ago.[ii] “Overall, 56 percent of consumers said they have bought a product specifically because the proceeds went to a good cause or the brand supported a particular cause.”[iii]

Let’s consider how several organizations are building a social purpose and cause marketing into their mobile social media strategy. For example, Walgreens donates a flu shot to someone in need every time a customer checks in to one of its stores on Foursquare, resulting in broad social media awareness.[iv]

Elmer’s provides free school supplies to children in need through its Kids In Need Foundation. Elmer’s makes a donation for every photo posted to its photo-sharing app. Moreover, to achieve this, people must download the app and engage with Elmer’s brand.[v]

Kraft Macaroni and Cheese donates ten noodles to Feeding America every time someone uses a digital noodle to create artwork in its Dinner, Not Art app.[vi] Donating over 100 million noodles is a great way for Kraft to support a great cause, while building its brand through social media interactions.[vii]

QR KRAFTWatch the Video: Cause Marketing Campaign – Kraft: Kraft Macaroni & Cheese has launched a Dinner, Not Art App which employs a Cause Marketing approach to engage consumer <goo.gl/yDmHN> (Duration: one minute)

Purina placed QR codes on thousands of Purina One cat food packages to encourage pet adoptions and solicit charity donations to pet shelters across the country. For each QR code scanned, Purina donates one dollar to pet charities. Purina extended this program to Facebook with the goal of donating 10,000 bowls of pet food every month.

This is consistent with its past track record of donating over two million pounds of food and feeding 200,000 pets. This strategy clearly positions Purina as a company that cares about pets, and strengthens its relationship with pet owners – a great example of cause marketing.[ix]


Cause Marketing Campaign – JC Penney: JC Penney ties its mobile marketing strategy to its JCP Cares charitable giving strategy.[x] It donates a dollar to the USO (an organization dedicated to America’s troops and their families) every time a customer checks in to one of its stores.[xi] This is a great approach for companies that want to get more customer engagement, brand visibility and brand impact from their charitable giving.[xii]

But imagine if you could more closely tie your cause marketing campaign to generating actual commerce transactions. That’s exactly what 50 Back Brewing did when they launched their Buy a Soldier a Beer campaign. They placed QR codes “on all of their promotional materials – flyers, coasters, packaging, stickers, posters and point-of-sale displays – to reach their landing page.[xiii] There, visitors are given three options: post a message on the 50 Back Facebook page, post a message on Twitter or buy a soldier a beer.

All QR Code purchases are handled through Text2Pay. The visitor’s cell phone account is charged $1.99 (Text2Pay takes $.99 of every purchase as a processing fee) and the person has bought a soldier a beer. More than 75,000 people have scanned the QR code since March, and the company has given away more than 7,400 beers – all delivered to various military bases in the Boston area.”[xiv] This is a very powerful social media marketing and cause marketing approach.

Cause Marketing Best Practices[xv]

  •       Make sure there is a suitable and genuine match between your offering and the cause you are supporting.
  •       Make sure there is an authentic fit between the objectives and principles of both organizations.
  •       Be very open and transparency about the amount of money collected, where it is going and how it is being used.
  •       Tie your donations to specific behaviors you are trying to encourage such as product purchases, Facebook likes, app downloads and Foursquare check‑ins.
  •       Get the right balance and effectively communicate your social purpose; you don’t want it to appear that you are simply buying likes, clicks and scans.
  •       Integrate your cause marketing strategy with your mobile marketing and social media marketing strategies.

QR AEROPOSTALEWatch the Video: Cause Marketing Campaign – Aeropostale: Aeropostale and DoSomething.org implemented a Cause Marketing campaign that donated a million pairs of blue jeans to homeless kids.[xvi] <goo.gl/DxW8S> (Duration: four minutes)

QR SADDLEBACK CELLERSWatch the Video: Cause Marketing Campaign – Saddleback Cellers: Cause Marketing overview plus a case study about how Saddleback Cellers has partnered with the Boy Scouts to successfully implement Cause Marketing to sell more wine.[xvii] <goo.gl/fXWgs> (Duration: five minutes)

Challenge Question

Cause Marketing Strategies: Are there opportunities for your organization to integrate your charitable giving with your mobile social media marketing strategies, and if so, what might that look like?

[i] “Cause marketing.” Wikipedia. Accessed November 4, 2012. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cause_marketing.

[ii] Carol Cone. “Introducing: goodpurpose 2012.” Edelman goodpurpose. April 25, 2012. Accessed February 1, 2013. http://purpose.edelman.com/slides/introducing-goodpurpose-2012/.

[iii] Anne Pilon. “Cause Marketing Survey: Most Have Bought Products That Support Causes.” Aytm Blogs. October 4, 2012. Accessed November 4, 2012. http://aytm.com/blog/daily-survey-results/cause-marketing-survey-2/.

[iv] Rimma Kats. “Walgreens, foursquare launch mobile coupon program to reward consumers.” Mobile Commerce Daily. March 7, 2012. Accessed November 4, 2012. http://www.mobilecommercedaily.com/2012/03/07/walgreen-foursquare-launch-mobile-coupon-program-to-reward-consumers.

[v] Chantal Tode. “Elmer’s creates photo-sharing app to drive engagement beyond back-to-school shopping.” Mobile Marketer. July 5, 2012. Accessed November 4, 2012. http://www.mobilemarketer.com/cms/news/content/13243.html.

[vi] “Kraft Mac & Cheese – Dinner, Not Art – Digital Macaroni Art.” Kraft. Accessed November 4, 2012. http://www.dinnernotart.com.

[vii] Chantal Tode. “Kraft cooks up macaroni art app to drive brand engagement.” Mobile Marketer. July 16, 2012. Accessed November 4, 2012. http://www.mobilemarketer.com/cms/news/content/13307.html.

[viii] “KRAFT Macaroni & Cheese presents ‘Dinner, Not Art’.” YouTube. Uploaded by kraftmacncheese on July 9, 2012. Accessed November 4, 2012. http://goo.gl/yDmHN or http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SWgSUpkl2IQ.

[ix] Lauren Johnson. “Purina Bolsters charity donations via QR codes.” Mobile Marketer. December 7, 2011. Accessed November 4, 2012. http://www.mobilemarketer.com/cms/news/content/11635.html.

[x] “Julington Creek plantation community active residents engaged in service”JCP Cares. Accessed November 4, 2012. http://www.jcpcares.org/.

[xi] Rimma Kats. “JC Penney marries mobile, social in new 360-degree marketing campaign.” Mobile Commerce Daily. July 3, 2012. Accessed November 4, 2012. http://www.mobilecommercedaily.com/2012/07/03/jcpenney-marries-mobile-social-in-new-360-degree-marketing-campaign.

[xii] Rimma Kats. “JC Penney marries mobile, social in new 360-degree marketing campaign.” Mobile Commerce Daily. July 3, 2012. Accessed November 4, 2012. http://www.mobilecommercedaily.com/2012/07/03/jcpenney-marries-mobile-social-in-new-360-degree-marketing-campaign.

[xiii] “Buy a Soldier a Beer.” 50 Back Brewing. Accessed November 17, 2012. http://brewofthebrave.com.

[xiv] “Small Company Figures Out QR Codes, and Sells Beer.” The New York Times. November 16, 2012. Accessed November 17, 2012. http://boss.blogs.nytimes.com/2012/11/16/a-small-company-tries-to-figure-out-qr-codes/?utm_term=small+business,+social+media,+marketing.

[xv] Katya Andresen. “Why companies love causes – and 3 ways to keep the relationship happy.” February 04, 2013. Accessed February 4, 2013. http://www.linkedin.com/today/post/article/20130204034023-6200057-why-companies-love-causes-and-3-ways-to-keep-the-relationship-happy.

[xvi] “Interview with George Weiner, Chief Technology Officer, DoSomething.org.” YouTube. Uploaded by Causemarketingforum on July 19, 2012. Accessed November 4, 2012. http://goo.gl/DxW8S or http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=e6TRB81-uKA&feature=plcp.

[xvii] “Cause Marketing – What is it and how can it help?” YouTube. Uploaded by Hoganmarketing on November 10, 2011. Accessed November 4, 2012. http://goo.gl/fXWgs or http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Nhh_kfiPByE&feature=related.


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