Understanding the Impact of Cause Marketing in Experiential
by Mike Poirier
A spirits brand for whom we have been conducting research during the past year-and-a-half has lately undertaken a unique experiential strategy: Cause Marketing. The brand is being promoted at events primarily designed to benefit a particular cause. I’d like to share an example of how pairing the brand with a cause has impacted consumers’ attitudes and intent to purchase.
As I was analyzing survey data that we collected from consumer intercepts from the spirits brand’s events, I discovered that women comprised the majority of the sample (63%). I flagged this because the brand’s target demographic is men age 25 to 34. Only 18% of consumers fit that category.
Most spirits brands we research reach their target demographic 30-50% of the time. This target consumer reach was low, because about two-thirds of individuals were women. Why were most engagements with women when the brand team should have been targeting men?
I had to dig deeper into the events where the surveys were conducted to glean some insight. Our client confirmed that the brand’s strategy had evolved into activating at Cause Marketing events.
I was able to confirm that strategy, but still could not explain why women were so prevalent in the sample.
As it turns out, secondary research suggests that women, in particular, are drawn to Cause Marketing. A 2008 study in PRWeek indicated that 46% of women have purchased a product because it benefits a cause. It’s plausible that the events at which the brand activated had a higher percentage of women than men because they benefited a particular cause.
The event selection fit the brand’s experiential strategy, but the issue of the low target demographic reach still needs to be addressed.
The survey results indicate that nearly all consumers left the events with intent to purchase the brand (93%). Men and women were equally likely to purchase (97% and 92%, respectively).
So, while the activations were not at ideal events to reach target demographic, the brand resonated with just about everyone who fit the profile, as well as women.
This was one of those cases where the brand strategy didn’t fully align with the target demographic, but the end result was positive for the brand as a whole.
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