Holiday-themed cause marketing programs have long been a staple for retailers to drive differentiation, loyalty and sales during a cluttered shopping season. This year, major retailers are raising the stakes by creating programs bigger and glitzier than years past. We’ve already begun to see full-scale efforts launched by Macy’s, JCPenny and Walmart that push the needle on innovation and integration.
Recently, providing consumers with ‘value’ has been the buzz among marketers of all disciplines. Cause marketers are no exception. Without a lot of money to donate, consumers are seeking ways to ‘do good’ through their shopping. In response, smart retailers are integrating charitable giving into their product offerings and brand experiences to deliver value to consumers on several levels.
First, they are triggering donations through consumer purchases or participation. This enables consumers to feel good about their purchase, feel good about helping and offers a critical point of differentiation and reason to buy. Second, they are offering value in terms of specialized offers, such as discounts and coupons, to consumers who participate in cause programs. These incentives provide a pocketbook benefit to consumers, but also give retailers a measureable tool to gauge effectiveness of their marketing efforts. Finally, retailers are demonstrating social impact. Consumers are seeing the real, immediate value of their participation in a cause marketing effort through donation calculators and online tracking.
Remember, for this holiday season, when it comes to cause marketing programs, glitz may sparkle, but a value-centric approach will shine brighter.
-- Rich Maiore, Vice President