Can’t Buy Me Love: a Lesson in Relationship Marketing
Shared by admin Monday, November 22, 2010

The days of a company throwing money at a social cause to win over the hearts of its consumers, never mind the tax benefits, are over. Consumers have gotten wise to this marketing strategy. Now it takes a lot more than a monetary endowment for a business to position itself as the “company who cares” in the eyes of its consumers.

An article in AdWeek was particularly interesting, which explained the results of the recent Edelman Goodpurpose study. According to the study 87 percent of respondents believe “business needs to place at least equal weight on society’s interests” as they do their own. In fact, 62 percent said, “[It is] no longer enough for corporations to give money; they must integrate good causes into their everyday business.” It seems that if a business wants to be seen as a valued member of society, its day-to-day operations have to show it – not just its wallet.

Although it may be easier to just write a check, there are some valuable bottom-line implications for doing it the hard way. Interestingly, 72 percent of the respondents said they’re “more likely to purchase a product from a company that supports good causes and has fair prices than a company that simply offers deep discounts.” Additionally, 34 percent of the respondents said within the past six months they have “purchased a brand that supports a good cause even if it wasn’t the cheapest.” For example, Dawn dishwashing soap successfully connected with the International Bird Rescue Research Center (IBRRC) and the Marine Mammal Center (MMC) to build sales and promote wildlife’s goodwill. At a dollar donated for every bottle purchased, they’ currently just shy of their $500,000 goal.

Although price is a strong consideration when purchasing almost any good, the key here is the consumer’s overall feeling toward their purchase decision. Consumers gain a sense of self-fulfillment in forgoing the cheaper brand if they believe they’re helping a greater cause. For the marketer, making people feel good while charging a higher price is not such a bad thing.

As Paul McCartney said, even in marketing relationships, you “Can’t Buy Me Love.”

Related Article:
“Consumers Expect Better From Marketers” – AdWeek