Cause marketing speaks to a new generation
One of the first things you learn about Naperville Animal Hospital on their website is their long history of service in aiding homeless animals:
“Since 1989 Naperville Animal Hospital has helped over 20,000 orphaned animals find their forever homes by providing discounted veterinary services and surgeries to local rescue groups and humane societies. This is something that Naperville Animal Hospital continues to do every day of the year!”
In the marketing world, this is referred to as ‘cause marketing.’ While it may generate goodwill, Naperville Animal Hospital does not see this as a marketing ploy—it is a part of how they see their business operating in their community. But it happens to be very good for business these days.
Millennials and cause marketing
“Millennials will seek out and support brands that align with their own personal values.”
One of the many things that Naperville couldn’t have foreseen in 1989 was the importance of the Millennial generation to modern practices. There are now more members of this generation, born between 1982 and 2002, than there are living Baby Boomers (born between 1946 and 1966). Its sheer size makes the Millennial generation a potentially powerful demographic for your business.
Research confirms that this generation, more than past generations, gets excited about supporting businesses that in turn effectively support a good cause they care about.
The research into social purpose and brands by Edelman, a well known and respected PR firm, found:
- 89% of global consumers take part in activities that address social issues
- 72% of consumers would recommend a brand that supports a good cause, over one that does not
- 72% of consumers would switch to a similar quality brand if they supported a good cause
“Partnerships between for-profit and non-profit organizations can achieve great results that benefit the brand, the non-profit organization, and leave the customer feeling good about themselves for supporting a bigger cause.”
That’s a powerful force that you could unleash for your own business.
This is not to suggest that benefiting a good cause isn’t important to the other generations. The difference is that the Millennial generation seeks out organizations and businesses that “stand for something.”
Naperville Animal Hospital and cause marketing
Naperville Animal Hospital (NAH) was ahead of its time in finding this ‘sweet spot’ over 25 years ago when the oldest Millennials were just 7 years old! Today, you can win a Millennial’s heart (and business) by supporting a good cause. But beware—you can equally inspire their wrath if they learn that your good works are purely in your own self interest. NAH’s longtime commitment to helping both orphaned animals, and local shelters that are sanctuary for them, leave no doubt that this cause is authentic and from the heart.
Harnessing the power of cause marketing on Facebook
While NAH’s service to homeless animals and local shelters is not out of self interest, it doesn’t mean that the practice doesn’t benefit from it. One way that Beyond Indigo has helped NAH build their Facebook community is through a monthly donation to one of the local shelter or rescue organizations. The more ‘Likes’ the shelter attracts, the larger the donation NAH makes to them for the month. It’s not surprising that NAH has almost 11,000 ‘Likes’ and has built a strong Facebook community of animal lovers.
These campaigns ‘do good’ in at least two ways. NAH raises money for the monthly rotating shelter, and the shelter promotes NAH through campaigns to their mailing lists and social media followers. NAH notifies the shelter in advance so they can rally their troops to increase their NAH donation! These campaigns also ‘do good’ by allowing the folks who ‘Like’ the page to feel good about helping the shelter, which in turn helps them feel good about NAH! Dollars that may have otherwise been spent on self promotion are now helping area shelters and producing community goodwill, especially with Millennials.
NAH also partners with local shelters and rescue groups to host frequent adoption events in the hospital. As they promote the event on Facebook, it not only draws people into the hospital and creates new pet parents, it gains visibility for NAH’s cause and increases goodwill for the business. Beyond Indigo understands the favorable impact NAH’s good work can have on NAH’s brand and business by harnessing the power of social media.
Promotions that resonate with Millennials
Many veterinary practices either don’t use promotions at all or don’t target them to younger adults. They know that their best clients are probably 30+ females who have money to spend on their pets.
Naperville Animal Hospital uses strategic try-us-love-us type promotions to attract new clients. The promotions are extremely generous, making them especially attractive to 20-something Millennials. Recent specials included 50% off a 1st grooming, a free 1st night of boarding, and a free 1st exam.
NAH has a few specials running at all times and target people 21 and over. They believe in winning over not only those who have higher incomes but young adults who will bond with their practice early on and continue bringing their pets to NAH through the years. Beyond Indigo created a promotions page on their website and we help draw traffic to it through targeted advertising.
NAH also sees a lot of traffic to their website and promotions page via Google search. We all know that traffic from Google search has great potential value for the practice. Beyond Indigo works with NAH to optimize their site for Google search and traffic to their special promotions. An extra bonus from all of this Google visibility—even if the user doesn’t take advantage of the specials, the brand is highly placed in the Google search results. Everyone benefits—the heart of cause marketing!