Presenter T.J. Reid, former award-winning retailer and editor of Fashion Advantage Magazine, delivered a seminar on Cause Related Marketing at the August 2012 Atlanta Apparel Market. As defined by Reid, cause-related marketing is “joint funding and promotional strategy in which a firm’s sales are linked, and a percentage of the sales revenue is donated to a charity or other public cause.”
Reid suggests retailers interested in cause-related marketing select a cause or charity they genuinely care about and one that benefits the local community. Examples she proposed included raising funds for high school trips, purchasing musical instruments for the school band and supporting a local hospital. She cautions owners to be selective when choosing a cause to support and picking one that isn’t polarizing or alienating to a segment of their current or potential customers. In addition, she says it’s best to partner with a cause that will back your fundraising efforts by encouraging their members and supporters to shop at your store or attend your event.
Reid encourages every business owner to incorporate cause-related promotions into their yearly marketing plan. It’s a win-win marketing tool benefiting not only the charity or cause but your business as well. Be it an outside event or an in-store campaign, like purchased triggered promotions, she recommends running four campaigns or less per year so as not to dilute the impact of each promotion.
However retailers choose to support local organizations, make sure to be selective and choose wisely. Whatever you do is a lasting reflection of the store.