The 2008 Cone/Duke University Behavioral Cause Study, released recently by Cone and Duke University's Fuqua School of Business, confirms that cause-related marketing can exponentially increase sales, in one case as much as 74%, resulting in millions of dollars in potential revenue for brands.
182 participants evaluated a new regional magazine and were exposed to either a cause-related or generic corporate advertisement for one of four focus brands. Afterward, they entered a mock convenience store with nearly 150 SKUs and were given real money to purchase a product in each of the four categories.
In the second phase of the research, Cone and Duke validated the sales increases for shampoo and toothpaste by replicating the study online among a nationally projectable sample of more than 1,000 adults. The participants spent nearly twice as long reviewing cause-related ads versus the general corporate advertisements.
This resulted in a 19% sales increase (similar to the lab study for the target toothpaste brand.) Although the shampoo brand increased only by a modest 5 percent, sales among its target audience of women increased by nearly 14 percent.
Gavan Fitzsimons, Duke marketing professor and lead researcher on the study, observes tha "... consumers are paying more attention to cause messages, and... are more likely to purchase... "
Additionally, Cone conducted the 2008 Cause Evolution Study, to better identify what drove substantial product sales for only two of the four brands. The following factors appeared to be important when deciding to support a company's cause efforts:
Alison DaSilva, Cone executive vice president, Knowledge Leadership and Insights, said "The findings... show (that)... consumers want to feel a connection to the issue and the nonprofit while fulfilling their personal needs... "
According to the study, the leading issues that Americans want companies to address in their cause programs are consistent with growing domestic and global needs. The issues include:
For more details from the study, and additional information about Cone, please visit here.