What does it mean and how critical is it for the future of your business?
The concept of philantrepreneurship and cause marketingmay sound foreign, but you may be unknowingly implementing these concepts already. Philantrepreneurship and cause marketing can both dramatically improve a business of any size, and both concepts will be even more critical in the future.
Philantrepreneurship, the combination of philanthropy with entrepreneurship, is where I would love to see marketing go, by which the philanthropy of a company becomes its marketing. This concept is often referred to as cause marketing. Cause marketing aligns a brand with a cause in the community. This can be helping kids learn to read or feeding the homeless. When managed well, cause marketing can have a measurable impact on your business and build goodwill and loyalty among your customer base. According to a national surveyby Cone Communications, 87% of consumers say they would switch from one brand to another if the other brand was associated with a good cause.
As a marketer, I can tell you that the nonprofits with which I’ve spoken often have a strong sense of purpose, ample desire, but little to no technical experience. From web development to SEO, Pay Per Click to Analytics, they often don’t have the data or expertise to manage a strategic digital marketing campaign across multiple channels. Now, they know that digital marketing is important, but would rather focus on what brought them to their nonprofit in the first place — helping. Unfortunately, the online infrastructure is in many ways a predecessor to the charity. For those of you reading this who are involved with, or are considering creating a nonprofit or a charitable foundation, here are some startup tips to get the ball rolling.
- While you are developing your website, roll out your social media platforms and begin to build them.
- Once the site is live and optimized, you are going to have to be creating a consistent stream of content through the blog. Be prepared to invest time into this.
- Take pictures and videos of everything. A behind the scenes look into a nonprofit is much more interesting than you might think.
- Identify keywords for which you’d like to appear in Google and measure them. Download software that tracks search engine rankings across keywords.
- Install Google Analytics and Google Webmaster Tools on your website.
- Experiment with small Facebook ad budgets and measure what works.
- Play with small YouTube Ad budgets and hone in on the videos that are getting the best traction.
If you find yourself in the nonprofit space, think like a business. Getting donations is much like selling. Create social media that is compelling and understand that you may have to spend money to make money. This is just part of the way the world works! Keep the entrepreneurial spirit alive, even if you find yourself in a nonprofit.
I once was invited to chat with congressmen in a roundtable as the representatives were looking for millennial minds to discuss technology. My two cents in the hour and a half conversation included the need to include cause marketing as a way for businesses of all sizes to take responsibility for their communities through engaging with nonprofits. The position of the cause marketer will also provide a new set of jobs in the Internet economy.
Automation is coming, and we’re going to need to find meaningful work for those that have lost their employment. If we can prove there is a positive return on investment for businesses with heart, those which go into the community, do good work, support charities and share their efforts via social media, we can create a huge number of jobs. Small businesses are the heart and muscle of the American economy.
According to sba.gov:
The 28 million small businesses in America account for 54% of all U.S. sales. Small businesses provide 55% of all jobs and 66% of all net new jobs since the 1970s. The 600,000 plus franchised small businesses in the U.S. account for 40% of all retail sales and provide jobs for some 8 million people. The small business sector in America occupies 30-50% of all commercial space, an estimated 20-34 billion square feet. 24
Now imagine how widespread a cause marketing focus could be when adopted by small businesses across the United States. This adoption would invigorate the economy because it would provide jobs and stimulate the nonprofit sector, potentially lowering crime and raising the standard of living for those of us who need it most. A nationwide shift in thinking from typical marketing to cause marketing could have a profound effect on the economy, number of jobs, job satisfaction, and effectiveness of grassroots nonprofits.
For all businesses and nonprofits, it is important to stay in tune with consumers and be aware of what they appreciate. People care about other people and matters affecting the world, so when a business aligns itself with a social or environmental cause, consumers are more likely to support that business versus a competitor that does not use its’ wealth and power to better society.