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In a recent blog post, Laurie Hix explained quite clearly the difference between social media, social marketing and cause marketing. She's covered some great social marketing examples and our sister company, Ignite Social Media, has lots of examples of great social media marketing. But we haven't talked too much about cause marketing.
This past weekend, I walked the Michigan Breast Cancer 3-Day. That's right 60 miles over the course of 3 days and yes it was pushing 90 degrees on Saturday and Sunday. Since I was diagnosed with breast cancer, I always support companies that support breast cancer. I think most people touched by this disease feel the same way. BTW, I don't limit my support to breast cancer. If a company is donating to any charity that's important to me, I feel they deserve my business.
As I was walking, I thought about the impact of the recession on charities. (I had lots of time to think about all kinds of things.) The Michigan Breast Cancer 3-Day raised 4.7 million dollars this year. Seems like a lot but it's under 70% of what was raised last year. They have some great national and some local sponsors too like Superior Ambulance--the 3-Day wouldn't be the same without them.
But overall, what's happening in the cause marketing world and what does the future hold? Are companies pulling their support in tough economic times and is this a smart marketing move? I decided to do a bit more research on this topic and found an interesting blog post about the Power of Cause Marketing. I'm happy to see that consumers feel very strongly about corporate participation with charities. But I hope the companies continue to see the value. What if they don't see an immediate lift in sales? Is brand recognition and brand preference equally as importat today as it once was? These are tough questions. I'm quick to buy anything with a pink ribbon but do the masses feel the same way when money is tight? How can non profits help show for profits the value gained by their relationship? Post a comment and share your thoughts with me.