At a time when disasters are striking close to home—in the past year we’ve seen major trauma from the Gulf Oil Spill, tornadoes across the Southeast, and snow disasters in the Northeast, among others—cause marketing is become almost a must for brands that want to show they care about what is going on in their communities.

But where do you start? By understanding what cause marketing is and how it best fits in with your small business marketing plans. I can help you with the first part. Also known as cause-related marketing, cause marketing is a strategic positioning and marketing discipline that links a company and its products and services to a social cause or issue.

A Cone/Roper study on cause marketing offers three key reasons for small businesses to get involved. First, when price and quality are equal, 76 percent of consumers say they would be likely to switch brand or retailer associated with a good cause. Next, more than 80 percent of Americans consumers say that they have a more positive opinion of a company that is doing something to make the world a better place. Finally, the primary reason companies engage in cause marketing is to build deeper relationships and trusts with consumers and to enhance the company's image.

Ventureneer is offering small businesses a leg up on launching a cause marketing campaign with a free webinar called “Cause Marketing: A Win-Win for Small Businesses and Nonprofits.” As Ventureneer sees it, the key to success is finding the right partner. That means small business owners should ask themselves three key questions:

  1. What cause meshes with your target market?

  2. What business represents the values of your organization?

  3. How can each partner ensure that the partnership will enhance its support and visibility?

You can catch the free hour-long webinar on Wednesday, May 18 at noon. You can expect to learn plenty, including:

  • The buy-in needed within an organization before undertaking a cause marketing partnership

  • How to decide if this partner represents the nonprofit's values

  • How to decide if this partner matters to the client base of the business

  • What motivates businesses to partner with a nonprofit

  • How to determine the value of a nonprofit to the small business and vice versa

  • The benefits of partnerships for small businesses and for nonprofits

  • How to insure that both the nonprofit and the small business are satisfied with the outcome of the partnership

So whether this is the first time you’ve heard the term ‘cause marketing’ or you’ve been venturing into this realm without a fully understanding how to leverage your charitable work for branding purposes, be sure to check out this free webinar for some strategic insights that can help you help more people—and help you build your brand in a light that’s even more attractive to consumers.

If you can't make the webinar, check out this YouTube video for some a unique perspective on cause marketing: