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Cause And Effect

Have you ever heard of cause-related marketing? Maybe it's time you looked into it.

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This story appears in the November 2000 issue of Entrepreneurs Start-Ups magazine.

Now, I fully concede that I am a marketing geek. I love how I make my living, so much so that I can single-handedly induce narcolepsy when I get going about the latest, greatest campaign I've seen or participated in. And my top "pet" marketing discipline is cause-related marketing, or CRM.

CRM is the mutually beneficial convergence of a business's ideals and objectives with a charity: The charity receives money, promotion and/or in-kind donations from a business, and the business associates itself with a cause that resonates with its customers, builds brand awareness and contributes in a socially responsible way. American Express started the CRM movement in 1984 when it donated a portion of customer purchases to restore the Statue of Liberty. The campaign earned $1.7 million in just a few months, and a new facet of marketing was born. More recently, Maxwell House worked with Habitat for Humanity in the "Build a Home America" program. Maxwell House made cash contributions and provided volunteer labor to build 100 homes nationwide in 100 weeks.

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