Cause marketing—one of the fastest-growing retail marketing strategies in North America—enables jewelers to do well by doing good.
That was the advice of David Rocha, executive director of Jewelers for Children, the jewelry industry’s own charity, which has raised $30 million in the past 10 years to aid six children’s charities.
Rocha discussed “Cause Marketing: Maximize Your Charitable Giving Efforts,” on Thursday during The JCK Show Education Conference.
“Cause marketing,” Rocha explained, “is a commercial activity, a strategic position, and a marketing tool that links a retailer to a relevant social cause or charity for their mutual benefit.”
Doing so, Rocha told his audience of retailers, “helps your business evolve from just checkbook philanthropy into a good corporate citizen, which is important to your customers.”
He noted that a new national survey found that 80 percent of Americans have a more positive image of companies that support a cause they care about. Two-thirds will likely switch to a retailer associated with a good cause, and more than half said they would pay more for a cause marketer’s products or services.
The survey also found that 87 percent of employees working for companies with cause marketing programs feel a strong sense of loyalty.
An important advantage of a cause-marketing program is that it “differentiates your business, in a positive way, from other local jewelers and competitors and provides an edge that delivers other tangible benefits,” said Rocha. Those benefits include increased sales, increased visibility and standing in the community, increased customer and employee loyalty, and positive media coverage.
Rocha advised jewelers who want to develop a cause-marketing strategy to identify causes that fit their business; that are supported by their customers, community, and employees; and that involve employees in the planning and decision processes. “For maximum benefit, partner with both well-known local charities and high-profile national charities,” he advised. To check on which national charities are worthy of support, he suggested that jewelers go to www.charitynavigator.org, which rates them based on IRS information.
Tactical approaches to cause marketing, said Rocha, include market promotions, licensing/charity product promotions (which foster awareness and donations), and transaction promotions. Examples of market promotions include displaying a canister or charity signage or having store employees wear charity lapel pins. Licensing/charity product promotions include selling a charity’s or your own products with the charity’s name, image, or logo. Transaction promotions include encouraging purchases with a promised donation to a charity of a percentage of a sale or profits.
Opportunities for community involvement and cause marketing are abundant, Rocha said. They include, but aren’t limited to, donating merchandise to local fund raisers, sponsoring an event, sponsoring a Little League team, advertising on a local charity’s Web site, and volunteering the store (both the jeweler and staff) for local events such as charity auctions or walks.
“Cause marketing open doors to increased sales,” said Rocha. “It can build strong customer relationships and employee dedication and forge lasting community relationships. Most important, cause marketing helps make the world, and your store, a better place to be.”