Why craft a cause marketing campaign?

Jan 24, 2023 | Cause Marketing, Public Relations

Be-CAUSE it works!

A cause marketing campaign is when a company works for the common good to promote a cause from which they don’t make money.

And while this may not seem like a good business strategy, it creates great brand equity and will eventually pay for itself, even if that’s not the reason a business owner embarks on that strategy.

Need Help Developing and Promoting Your Own Cause Marketing Campaign?

Consider a few statistics based on U.S. consumer habits*:


are more likely to have a positive image


are more likely to trust


are more likely to be loyal to a purpose


believe that companies can take actions that boost profits AND improve economic/social decisions


are more likely to forgive a purpose-driven company that makes a mistake


want to align with a company that shares their personal values

Here are 5 steps to building a successful cause marketing campaign.

1. Identify a cause that aligns with the consumers or clients of the company.

If you don’t know or want an objective answer, it’s best to go to the source: your clients and potential clients. This can be handled with research, interviews and focus groups. For instance, we were working on one of our first campaigns for a homebuilder who wanted to attract more Hispanic customers. We did personal interviews with Hispanics in the area and found that the top social issue was the high school graduation rate. We then created a public awareness campaign that included a college scholarship giveaway to junior high students, which they would receive upon completion. The campaign name was Fulton Homes Construyendo Futuras (Building Futures).

2. Make the name align with your brand.

When we put together cause marketing plans, we always claim the title sponsorship. So, in other words, when P.F. Chang’s sponsored the first Rock ‘N’ Roll Arizona Marathon, they bought the title sponsorship. It was called the P.F. Chang’s’ Rock ‘N’ Roll Marathon in every news account, every listing and every advertisement. Knoodle took that tactic when we pulled together a sponsorship with a local radio station, KNIX 102.5 FM, in 2000. It was called the Fulton Homes Teacher of the Week. We did this program successfully for over a decade.

3. Partner with media to maximize the message.

Putting together a cause program with media can have great benefits, if you know how to quantify a good deal. The cause needs to align with the media entity, as well. In addition, the station’s listeners should line up with a station your client or potential clients would listen to; it needs to be a station promotion rather than a sales promotion. This means the station is also contributing to the cause with resources, air time and events. We always used a three to one yardstick. This means the net value should be worth more than a ratio of three to one in value verses what we are paying for. So, if a campaign is worth $21,000 in airtime, resources, etc., we most likely negotiate it down to $7,000.

This partnership also insures that there is guaranteed media to support the message in the form of public service announcements, events, digital exposure and other types of airtime.

4. Supersize your cause with public relations.

Over the years, we have written press releases and media alerts inviting other media to support the cause. Surprisingly, if the cause is interesting to the media and has a compelling video, media will cover it. Last year, our dog bootie giveaway called Fulton Homes Cause for Paws got three different TV stations to cover the giveaways during the intense summer heat. We also received press at Fence Patrol, Books & Toys, Book in a Bag and Stuff the Bus.

It is important to write the release like a news release. Start with the most important facts first, incorporate a visual and then email to television stations, news/talk radio and community newspapers for best results.

5. Be your own news station.

We can all publish news on our websites, broadcast video on social media and write blogs that can be placed in emails. Consumers want to work with companies that show empathy for their fellow human. This is why it is compelling to flesh out questions like why your company has chosen a particular cause. Also be sure to invite your fellow team members to take part and make sure that you tag them in social media. You’ll earn the love and respect of your consumers and your employees.

Need Help Developing and Promoting Your Own Cause Marketing Campaign?

About Knoodle

Knoodle has crafted and embarked on a 23-year strategy of cause marketing campaigns for our first client, Fulton Homes. These campaigns include the areas of water safety/ child drowning prevention, education, family values, pet-love and patriotism.

About the Author

Rosaria Cain founded Knoodle 23 years ago and has never looked back. She is the former National Association of Women Business Owners president and has taught marketing for area non-profits as well at the Art Institute of Phoenix.

*Edelman study 2018