One of my ongoing professional goals is to move into cause marketing. I first heard about this, I thought it had something to do with nonprofits, which was a niche that did interest me long ago.
But it’s something that’s growing exponentially, and an idea your company might want to get in on soon. The program where I was introduced to cause marketing was Copywriting for a Cause, a training program by Mindy McHorse (with whom I’ve had the pleasure of meeting and working) and Megan Tyson. They define it as:
“…a partnership, usually between one or more nonprofit and for-profit organizations, that promotes a social or environmental cause. The aim of the partnership is to bring mutual benefit to each member of the marketing relationship.”
Many large corporations, like General Mills (the makers of Cheerios cereal), Target and similar companies, get on board with cause marketing to enhance their public image and encourage their audiences to associate them with social responsibility. Nonprofits participate because it essentially helps their funding and their visibility.
Think about the various types of fair trade coffee Starbucks sells. Why would you buy this coffee over their house blend or French roast?
Well, if you look at their packaging on the bag, you’ll see that sales from this coffee will benefit the populations where the beans were grown. Often the producers grew the coffee beans in shade, a technique that helps the environment. Any copy – from the descriptions on the bag to brochures or information on the company websites – counts as cause marketing.
This kind of marketing really appeals to me, because it speaks to my liberal “save the world” sensibility (nope, not getting into politics here – sorry!). While I’m still firmly entrenched in the luxury/adventure travel and tourism realm, I very much want to gravitate to this area as a sub-niche for copywriting and marketing.
So why should you care about cause marketing for your travel business?
No matter what the size of your company is, you may want to connect your company with some kind of nonprofit organization. A portion of your sales revenue can be given to their charitable efforts. Using this tactic may encourage people to choose your company over a competitor. They will get a good feeling, knowing they may be making a small difference in the world.
Environmental nonprofits would be a natural fit for most adventure travel companies. That’s because many of your customers and prospects want to enjoy nature in its undisturbed state. In general, this segment would be more inclined to support environmental causes over other travelers.
Start to brainstorm a list of how your company can align itself with an appropriately sized and associated nonprofit. Think about how you can tie some of sales revenue to a contribution to this organization. Then develop a campaign which appeals to your audience.
What kind of cause marketing ideas would be beneficial for your company? Have you developed any kind of cause marketing program and what have been the results?