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3 Ways Research and Cause Marketing Can Work Together

Bloggers's note: Today's post comes from guest blogger Erin Palmer, a writer and editor for University Alliance. She writes about nonprofit and public sector topics, Master of Public Administration online degree programs, analytics, metrics and other tools.

In its 2012-13 Occupational Outlook Handbook, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics projects that organizations and institutions across both public and private sectors “will … increasingly use market research to ensure that program resources are being used effectively.” And for good reason: without good data, there is no good marketing. Cause marketing, in particular, relies on sound information, strategy, and data analytics. Here are three ways effective research can help you create better cause marketing campaigns.
1. Research provides vital data about your efforts and impact. Specifically, market data about political and other external influences, macro- and socioeconomic trends, and industry or cause-related contingencies can not only help you determine the efficacy of your current marketing strategies, but also refine and adapt those strategies to any changes in industry climate.
Data about consumer behavior, such as the keywords visitors use to find your website, can also prove invaluable. Non-consumer or non-interested behavior is equally important in cause-related marketing, as non-consumers can potentiate a greater and more durable social impact.

2. Analytics can shape your social media strategy. The same data about consumer behavior that informs your cause-related marketing strategy, as a whole, can be applied to the blueprint by which you achieve the specific goals of your social media strategy.

For instance, by using Google Analytics to track your website’s visitor performance (e.g., number and frequency of visitors, number and frequency of individual donations) over a set period of time, you can decide how many new consumers you need to attract via social media in order to increase revenue.

Analytics also provide insight into how effectively your social media pages direct consumers back to your home site (and therefore, again, increase your revenue and impact).

Further, differentiating between the various types of traffic to each page—some visitors find your profile independently, some are already connected, some find you via secondary or even tertiary connections—will help you monitor ongoing social media efforts and adapt as necessary.

3. Participating in research can benefit charity. Pause to Support a Cause, one of the Chief Marketing Officer (CMO) Council’s campaigns, self-describes as “a corporate social responsibility campaign” that aims to “create a global community of non-profit champions … and members willing to take part in online surveys as a way to channel funds to their designated causes, charities, foundations, and non-profit organizations of choice.”

All consumers 18 and over are eligible to register for the research panel. Once the consumer is registered, he or she selects up to two charities to support. Corporations and market researchers allocate charitable funding in exchange for the consumer’s participation in the surveys and/or promotions he or she chooses. In turn, consumers can track exactly how much money their individual contributions have earned for the charities they support.

CMO predicts that the campaign will attract new and varied consumer demographics and increase exposure and funding for all its nonprofit partners and the associated causes. In all likelihood, yours is among them.
Effective cause marketing carries the potential of benefiting all parties involved, including the ability to increase awareness of the cause while improving the customer base of the for-profit. It can also place
both parties into a more positive consumer light. By doing solid industry research and closely studying the analytics of your current audience, you’ll be able to put your message in front of a more closely targeted
audience, resulting in better conversions and improved PR.

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