Selling great products at a reasonable price with exceptional customer service may be good enough to make any business financially successful, but it won’t necessarily make customers feel emotionally connected to the brand. For that, you need to go beyond asking them to open their wallets and instead appeal to their hearts and minds. In other words, you need purpose-driven marketing.
Think of the local 10k road race in your community. It’s probably sponsored -- perhaps even named -- after a major corporate entity. The same goes with many other non-profit organizations, charitable foundations and emergency fundraising efforts. For these companies, backing a worthy cause is a way of expressing their values and demonstrating they are (literally) invested in the things their customers care about.
It’s also worth pointing out that purpose-driven marketing isn’t just a nice-to-have but an increasing necessity. Earlier this year, for instance, consulting firm Deloitte released a study that showed 91% of Millennials would actually switch brands to one associated with a cause.
You might assume, at first, that purpose-driven marketing is best suited to large enterprises with the resources to make hefty financial contributions and the scale to make a lot of noise about it. The rise of cloud and mobile computing, and other technologies has changed all that, however, Today, even small and medium-sized businesses can use purpose-driven marketing to help define who they are in their customers’ minds, and establish a more meaningful relationship than one based solely on purchasing transactions.
Many companies already use Marketing Cloud to get a better sense of their customer’s pain points or challenges and develop the right content to nurture demand. They may discover, for instance, that many customers and prospects are struggling to complete certain tasks over the course of their work day. Their company, meanwhile, may offer products and services to help make them more productive. In fact, making people productive might be the organization’s main mission. Marketing to such people is fairly straightforward, but it becomes far more powerful when you infuse it with a greater purpose.
Go a bit deeper and ask yourself why your customers and prospects need to get more time in their day. Are they under greater amounts of stress? Do they want to invest more time in their families, their health or their own passion projects? What are they saying on social media, at events or in other channels that offer them clues? Marketing Cloud will help get at many of these answers.
Based on what you learn, certain causes might emerge as candidates to support, like a charity that focuses on boosting physical fitness or an arts program to inspire creativity among busy executives. In some cases, sponsoring or financially supporting such organizations may be the right approach, but it’s not the only one. Even an SMB with limited resources for sponsorship could speak to the purpose that it shares with customers through content. This could include:
Purpose-driven marketing requires consistency and consideration in its approach. It’s not a one-off campaign to help raise money for an NGO, for example. It’s a conscious strategy to ensure that at least part of what the company says and does relates to something greater or more powerful than itself.
On an everyday basis, this means SMBs should avoid looking as though they deserve a pat on the back for developing content related to a particular cause. Instead, use some of these guidelines to make purpose-driven marketing a more authentic part of your processes:
Connect The ‘Why’ With ‘Who’: Besides the marketing tactics mentioned in the previous section, make it clear what causes or issues the organization supports in areas tied closely to its brand identity. This could include the “About Us” page of your web site, the bios on company Twitter or LinkedIn pages, the footers of e-mail newsletters and more.
Avoid The Self-Congratulatory Pitch: A company may work hard to ensure its products are energy-efficient, and may even support environmental causes in some way. Nowhere in its marketing, however, should that same company create content that suggests that is the reason customers should choose them as a vendor. This isn’t where you’re directly selling to customers, but forming a relationship with them. Allow customers to connect the dots and decide for themselves that the company’s purpose makes it more attractive as a supplier.
Choose The Right Metrics: Purpose-driven marketing could bring more visitors to your digital presence. It might boost lead generation. It could reduce churn and increase loyalty. All this can be tracked in Marketing Cloud. Consider other measures too: how does aligning with a cause that customers care about boost the morale or engagement of your team? These metrics may evolve over time as the company’s experience with purpose-driven marketing grows.
Just as purpose-driven marketing is possible regardless of the size of your organization, it also isn’t limited to those working in a business-to-consumer environment. Remember that even those in B2B jobs have personal interests and passions they bring with them to work every day. These people are part of increasingly large account teams who make purchase decisions.
The causes a company supports may not be the the main reason it gets selected for a deal, but it can contribute to the way the company is perceived. A sense of purpose may become more powerful than you ever expected.