Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Marketing and Box Tops

This is a great article about women: Cause Marketing Hits the Mother Load of Support: Study. It gives a synopsis on a recent study done on by a "leading cause marketing firm" on cause marketing. It found that "95% of moms find cause marketing acceptable, 92% want to buy products that support causes, and moms purchased more cause-related products than the other demographics surveyed."

The founder of the marketing firm that conducted the study explained, "Women by their nature are keepers of the relationships in their lives, at home, at work and in their community. Because of that they are the most receptive to causes that are relevant to them." The insights supervisor at the marketing company said, "Certainly moms tend to have a strong sense of empathy for social issues and a desire to make the world a better place for their children. Buying a product attached to a cause is an easy way to make a small difference... and since moms do most of the household shopping, they are most in-tune with brand attributes and see their purchase decisions as a direct reflection of how they care for their families."

While studying for my masters in public health, I took a health marketing course. It was incredible to learn about the careful planning that goes into emotional marketing - marketing that is directly designed to convince people to make purchases based on their emotions. To me, it felt almost manipulative and deceptive at times, and made me step back and really evaluate what drives my purchase decisions. But, honestly, I have never specifically looked on a package to see if it has a box top that can be clipped for my kids' elementary school, or if the box is recyclable (as mentioned in the article). When I buy something that has a cause connected with its purchase, I figure it is a bonus, rather than the sole reason I am choosing it over its competitors. The products I purchase that are cause-related are often ones that I already use (like zip-loc bags and cereal). I wouldn't buy a product just because it was related to a cause that I supported.

Does that mean the millions of dollars invested by cause marketing firms to increase the successful marketing to moms is wasted, or am I just out of it?

Honestly though, I don't plan to ever buy a product that I won't use or don't really like, just because proceeds go to a foundation or charity that I like. I know that only a small portion of my money will even go to that charity. I think it would be better to just donate directly to the charity - then I know that all of my money is going where I want it to.


Jamie Lamb said...

I like to avoid "cause-related products" simply because they annoy me. Is that bad? I don't think so. I also avoid fund raisers. In fact, anything that asks me to spend money for one thing, while trying valiantly to accomplish something entirely different is annoying.

And also I think that cold cereal is gross, that's another reason I avoid box-tops...because you have to keep the box. :)

Lillian Angelovic said...

I have guilt over never, ever thinking to look at those "Boxtops for Education" products and buy them. I think I saved about five, once, for a friend's school - but only after she nearly fainted when she saw me toss one in the recycling without removing the boxtop. These days I mostly just buy produce and huge-box items at Costco for quick meals. Artichokes don't come with boxtops.