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U.S. Corporations Embracing Cause-Related Marketing

(July 6, 2004) A recent study has found that U.S. corporations are strongly committed to cause-related marketing, with many businesses planning to increase funding for these types of programs.

The 2004 Manufacturer and Retailer Cause Marketing Attitudes and Practices Study was commissioned by PowerPact, a national marketing services firm headquartered in Richmond, Va., in partnership with Rye, N.Y.-based The Cause Marketing Forum. The study polled leading Fortune 500 consumer product manufacturers and national and regional retailers engaged in cause-related marketing.

Among the most significant findings were:

  • One-hundred percent of the respondents currently engaged in cause-related marketing indicated they plan to maintain or increase their involvement in these programs.
  • Forty-one percent said all of their programs and relationships are multi-year, and 95 percent indicated that at least one of their relationships is at least five years old.
  • Eighty-one percent stated that sales impact is a top factor when deciding whether to adopt a cause-related marketing program.

While corporations still view cause-related marketing as providing social benefits, they are increasingly expecting these types of programs to deliver profits as well. Some of the challenges and key factors identified in the study in developing effective programs are the ability to localize the causes and customize programs and the degree to which businesses can engage their employees in the cause.

Further underscoring the growth in cause-related marketing programs, a separate study, the IEG Sponsorship Report, estimates that cause-related marketing will approach $1 billion in corporate spending in 2004.

"It's stunning to see the kind of growth in and commitment to cause-related marketing from the corporate sector, given that this idea was only getting started in the 1980s," said Paulette V. Maehara, CFRE, CAE, president and CEO of AFP. "Companies seem to be very interested in developing best practices, so the good news is that the best is still yet to come. However, they're also beginning to emphasize bottom line objectives -- profits -- in their cause-related marketing programs, so charities will need to be attentive to these goals as they work to develop relationships."

For more information about the report, contact Donna Boemper of Ground Floor Media Inc. at dboemper@groundfloormedia.com.

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