Cause Marketing: Definitions, Types and Benefits

Introduction to Cause Marketing

Cause marketing is a strategy in which businesses and nonprofits collaborate on campaigns to build their profit margins and bring about social change. In cause marketing, businesses collaborate with or initiate various social and charitable campaigns where they promote their business in a very contextual manner. 

Cause marketing is a type of Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) in which a company conducts promotional campaigns to increase their profits while serving the society for cause. For instance, an insurance company may conduct a walkathon for awaring individuals about road accidents, associating the theme of walkathon with its life insurance related products. Similarly, there are plenty of promotional events which can be categorized as “cause marketing”

Cause marketing in a new and effective way to promote any business or brand. It helps businesses build strong relationships with customers while giving back at the same time. This helps the company to differentiate themselves from their competitors. 

Reasons for pursuing Cause Marketing

With the rise in social media and the accessibility of information, people are more aware than ever about what companies do and don’t do. This has led to consumers being more selective about which brands they support with their money. Brands have responded by trying to create themselves as socially responsible companies and align themselves with causes that their customers care about in order to gain their support. In recent years, social media has been at the forefront of this concern. Along with the rise in public awareness, businesses have had to adapt or risk losing their customers.

One of the most common reasons for pursuing cause marketing is to generate goodwill and awareness for their company. This can be done by providing donations to a certain cause or by partnering with charities to help them reach their goals.

Another common reason for pursuing cause marketing is that it can help build credibility for the company. This will be especially true if they are partnering with charities that align with their values and beliefs.

Leading retailers like Kohl’s and Nike have started marketing themselves as “socially responsible brands.” On a similar note, companies such as Coca-Cola are now working on developing more eco -friendly products. 

Types of Cause Marketing

Cause Marketing can be done in various ways and some of the common types of cause marketing are as follows:

Point-of-sale campaigns

This is one of the common types of cause marketing where customers pay for the goods and services and the cashier encourages the customers to donate a small sum to the charity at the checkout counter. This is often used by the retailers during check-out when customers make a purchase.

 Buy one, give one

In such campaigns, businesses donate their products to a needy person when a customer purchases something from their brand. Similarly, the company donate the money that comes from customer purchase for environmental or social change. For example, they plant a tree for every product a customer purchases from them, donate a free pair of shoes for every pair sold, etc. Once customers buy their product, they are provided with a cause to support.

 Employee participation

In this type of cause marketing, the company uses its employees to volunteer services to a social cause. For example, the company creates a cleaning campaign, tree plantation campaign, awareness program, etc. with its employees to create social welfare and increase their brand awareness.

 Message-focused campaigns

Here, the business organizations deliver a strong social message through their promotional videos and articles.  Usually, business organizations focus on their core message related to a social cause and engage people in their marketing campaign.

Digital program

In this type of cause marketing, the companies increase awareness and raise funds for a social cause by campaigning on a digital platform such as social media, web services, etc.

Benefits of Cause Marketing

Cause marketing improves brand image and appears more favorable to the public. It is a low-cost marketing technique to sell products and services and at the same time increase brand awareness among people. There are various benefits of cause marketing which are as follows:

  • Cause marketing is a strategy or approach to achieving the demands of Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR).
  • This marketing fosters the  business relationship with communities.
  • Cause marketing campaign involves direct employee participation, either as a participant or as an organizer. Such involvement enhances employees and creates a good working environment. Such activities improve workplace morale.
  • This marketing campaign distinguishes and differentiates a business from rivals.
  • Marketing builds strong business morale and loyalty, increasing the sales volume.
  •  Cause marketing promotes the business and makes businesses responsible towards society. This presents the positive image of business to the customers. Such cause based association leads to  addition and retention of customers.

Famous Marketing Campaigns

Many companies have used this marketing to increase their sales revenue and contribute to society at the same time. The following are some of the real life examples of cause marketing used by the famous companies:


During the COVID-19, Nike launched a campaign called ‘Play for the World’, focusing that everyone must play a role in the world and ‘Play Inside’. It also launched a campaign called ‘You Can’t Stop Us’ which consists of several videos and photos of people doing exercise inside their home from bedrooms to kitchens and bathrooms to halls. This campaign became a motivation for many consumers in such challenging times during lockdowns and also brought people’s attention to Nike’s brand purpose. This campaign helped Nike to connect with the audience by helping them to deal with the pandemic and lockdowns.


Another example of such marketing can be seen in the campaign launched by Cadbury in the UK. The campaign was called ‘Donate Your Words to Fight Loneliness Among the Elderly.’  The company collaborated with Age UK, a charity for older people and removed all the words from its packaging in order to highlight the pain of isolated older people and increase awareness about loneliness. The public responded positively to this campaign when the company announced that it will donate 30 pence from each chocolate bar sold to charity.

 KFC India

In order to combat hunger in the nation, KFC India introduced ‘Plate of Hope’, a digital marketing campaign. Customers could design a virtual plate of food through an interactive online session when placing an order on KFC’s website. KFC would feed a hungry child for every virtual plate made on the website.


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