The Effect Of Cause…


A few months ago I was speaking with a friend who’s really on fire for her mission in life.

Not only is it a reason for getting out of bed every morning… it’s a bona fide purpose for living… a real cause.

But there was one nagging question around an integral piece that needed financing, and it was determined she should provide that seed-money herself.

So, now what?

I suggested she enlist people into her cause… allow them to support the work, by supporting her business. After all, she would only need to bring 30-40 customers on board who believed in:

1) the product line she has, and
2) the mission she is on.

Shouldn’t be too difficult… because both are worth every penny.


I spoke with her again last evening and asked how it was going. “Well,” she said, “it’s okay, but… “.

Remember that the word “but” usually erases everything that was said in front of it, like “Yeah, it’s not that I don’t appreciate you doing that for me, BUT…”, or “I know I said I would take care of that first thing this morning, BUT…” or in this case, “Well, it’s going okay, BUT…”

Meaning… it’s NOT going okay.

Since she was behind on her goals for the period, and we were right up against the end end of the month, I asked if she had communicated with her customers in the past few days.

She said she had… that she had called them all and mentioned how much she’d appreciate their business if, indeed, they had an order. She offered discounts to others as a last minute incentive… and spoke to each about a new product line coming out in the fall.

But there was no vision… no talk of the mission… no cause.


As marketers, we must always remember that people buy for reasons.

If you are Walmart, they may be buying your discount… if you are Nike, they may be buying your logo… if you are my friend, they are buying your cause.

In fact, this is such a great cause that her customers may be willing to pay a premium for it… but they must be reminded WHY they are doing it. So, rather than say, “I’d appreciate it if you’d think about ordering…”, rephrase as, “I want you to know that your order this month is going to make it possible for our shelter to…”

See the difference?

Cause marketing is very targeted… toward people who believe and feel and prioritize the same way that you believe and feel and prioritize. It allows your customer to become, in effect, a partner in the mission… to be involved emotionally in an activity or purpose of mutual importance.

So we buy “green” products, because we support sustainability… or we eat “organic”, because we believe in healthy nutrition… or we buy the chocolate bars from the school kids, because…

Wait a minute… I’ve SEEN my tax bill… why DON’T these kids have athletic equipment anyway?!!!

But I digress… I look forward to speaking with you soon.


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