Cause Marketing: What Is It and How Can Marketers Use It? (Hint: It’s Not Just for Nonprofits)

By Heike Young

Cause marketing is an increasingly important marketing tactic for businesses of all sizes.

That’s why we at the Marketing Cloudcast, the marketing podcast by Salesforce, became curious about it. What is cause marketing, and how can businesses use it to establish and deepen relationships with customers?

For answers, we turned to Joe Waters, co-author of Cause Marketing for Dummies, co-host of Cause Talk Radio podcast, and founder of the popular

Joe joins the Cloudcast to educate us on cause marketing — and how all marketers can use it. You can download the episode for free now.

Here are a few key learnings from our conversation with Joe.

According to Joe, “Cause marketing is a partnership between a nonprofit and a for-profit for mutual profit.” Cause marketing is not the marketing of causes, or marketing for non-profits.

Joe says, “It’s not cause marketing anymore. It’s marketing.” That’s because cause marketing has become integral to how many companies structure their marketing campaigns and product positioning to consumers. It all ties back to that key partnership with a cause.

Benefits for the nonprofit: money and branding/visibility. According to a post on Joe’s blog, “St. Jude’s raised tens of millions this fall through Thanks & Giving. Last year, Komen raised around $30 million. Cause marketing also offers causes valuable branding and visibility. There is no better example of this than Product RED, which has built a top philanthropic brand through its pacts with partners like Gap, Starbucks, Apple, and now, Nike.”

Benefit for the for-profit company: greater favorability with consumers and (hopefully) increased sales.

People prefer to buy products from companies they like and respect, so cause marketing helps earn their favor.

Want more info about cause marketing? Check out the full episode for our complete conversation with Joe and become a cause-marketing expert in no time.

We also dig this infographic about cause marketing best practices from Joe’s site.

Intrigued about how your company can get started with cause marketing? Get the full episode now on iTunes or Stitcher.

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Tweet @youngheike with marketing questions or topics you’d like to see covered next on the Marketing Cloudcast.