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Matching Cause and Sponsor in Cause Marketing

Trey Watson owns a fruit tree nursery in East Texas called Legg Creek Farm and so naturally when he decided to do some cause marketing he choose congenital heart defects. During the week of Feb 7-14, 2013 Legg Creek donated 10 percent of gross sales to several congenital heart defects causes.

Wait a minute, you say, a fruit tree nursery and congenital heart defects? How does that track?

In general, research shows that customers prefer to be able to easily understand the relationship between the cause and the sponsor. But certainly that isn’t always the case.

Target, the big retailer, doesn’t have an obvious connection to St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital.

Kohl’s doesn’t sell only to children, so why is their cause called Kohl’s Cares for Kids?

IKEA is an international retailer, but that only addresses half the reason for their support of the UNHCR, the United Nation’s relief agency.

All these retailers can break the usual rule because either they support what I call the “universal cause,” or children. Or, because the cause they support has a great deal of affinity among customers.   

But none of that answers the case of Legg Creek Farm’s support for congenital heart defects causes including, the Adult Congenital Heart Disease Association and The Children's Heart Foundation.

But the second paragraph of the press release I saw does: “My daughter was born with a congenital heart defect,” Watson said. “She's three months old and she's had one heart surgery so far. She'll need two other surgeries before she's three years old.”

As long as Legg Creek does this or other cause marketing promotions, there will need to be a paragraph of explanation like that. But people will understand the connection between a nursery and two congenital heart defect charities.

And I’ll bet Legg Creek Farm’s cause marketing bears fruit.


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In other words, you’ll want to hold back some of the promotion’s budget to continue to activate the effort until the very end.

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