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Use Cause Marketing for Savvy Millennials Who Prefer Word of Mouth

Are you trying to harness the power of social media? If your target demographic is in the coveted 18-34 range, then you’re marketing in the right spot, but probably not in the right way.

Turns out that 84 percent of millennials don’t notice ads on social sites, according to the Lubin School of Business. However, they do notice if your company or brand aligns itself with a relevant cause.

According to a recent survey by the Pivot Conference, nearly two thirds of the respondents agreed that green and socially conscious motivations were one of the top factors that differentiated millennials from other demographic and psychographic groups.

More on this subject comes from eMarketer from agency Cone.


While interest in cause-related marketing grew among the general population between 2008 and 2010, social and environmental causes had a significantly greater influence on the purchase decisions of millennials than other generations. If marketers are looking for 18- to 34-year-olds’ “susceptibility” to branding, social and green issues are a good place to start, with 85% saying they would switch brands because of such marketing and 73% saying they would try a new brand. According to Cone, moms are also a prime target of cause-related campaigns.

Asked about what kinds of cause marketing brands could provide that would entice them, millennials were most interested in ways they could learn about issues (86%), buy products where a portion of the sale supports a good cause (85%) or donate money to a nonprofit identified by a brand (84%). With that in mind, brands that show a deep commitment to their chosen cause and facilitate learning and changes in a community are more likely than others to succeed.

What if your company doesn’t have a cause marketing platform? Consider investing time to research which causes best align with the company or brand’s mission. There’s no use in throwing a dart to see which cause “sticks” because millenials will see right through that lack of strategy.

Best case scenario is to find a cause that’s organic to your brand. Sell building supplies? Habitat for Humanity. Have a food product? Second Harvest. These are obvious examples, but many companies miss the mark.

If you have a charitable campaign, it won’t hurt to do a gut check with your audience to make sure it’s still suitable. Or, you might have several causes. One organization or charitable type should take the lead otherwise you risk confusing your target. So if you sell kids clothes and you have multiple charities, just make sure they all focus on children.

Tell me which companies or brands do you think are best aligned with charities?


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