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6 Benefits of Mission-Driven Marketing -- And How to Do It Right

By buying from a company that's actively doing something praiseworthy, affluent consumers feel they're helping out as well-without having to do anything other than make a purchase they were going to make anyway. Find out how you can align your company with a cause they'd like to support.

Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.

The following excerpt is from Dan S. Kennedy's book No B.S. Marketing to the Affluent. Buy it now from Amazon | Barnes & Noble | IndieBound

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The advantages of mission-driven marketing to the average business owner are large and ongoing. We'd like to cover just a few of those substantial benefits, especially when it comes to connecting with the affluent.

1. Increased profits. When properly done, mission-driven marketing drives well-to-do customers to your door. Here's a good example: Conde Nast Traveler magazine polled its roughly 810,000 affluent subscribers on travel companies and their social responsibility. The outcome?

Some 58 percent said their choice of hotel was influenced by the support it gives to the local community; 86 percent said they'd like hotels to explain how they're contributing to their communities and the environment, while 80 percent said the same thing of airlines.

The above numbers indicate that the affluent have a very strong preference for choosing companies that are about more than "business as usual." It makes them feel good to contribute to the success of a company that also demonstrates a commitment to the common good.

2. Increased loyalty. "If marketers don't have a real handle on the emotional side of the purchase and engagement process, they end up with a "placeholder,' one whose name people know but don't know for anything in particular, and have absolutely no [brand] advantage. You might as well spend your entire marketing budget on coupons, deals, and promotions," says Robert Passikoff, president of Brand Keys.

We agree. And research shows that mission-driven marketing supplies this elevated and emotional level of engagement. It gives affluent customers a reason to come back to the same business again and again.

3. More new clients. In addition to being very good at keeping old customers, mission-driven marketing also excels at bringing in new ones. Fully 91 percent of global consumers said they'd switch to a brand associated with a good cause, according to a recent study. All things being equal, mission-driven marketing is magnetic to affluent consumers who want to do good things with their purchases.

4. Stronger awareness/positive image. When you align your business interests with a higher mission, you're seen to be operating for a greater good, rather than your own good. In an era where businesses are routinely seen as selfish and uncaring, mission-driven marketing differentiates you in an incredibly significant way. According to a recent survey, 93 percent of consumers have a more positive image of a company that supports a cause.

5. Attraction and retention of quality employees. When you engage in mission-driven marketing, you have a much better shot at building a great team to help you run your business at a higher level. Here are the facts: 77 percent of Americans look at the corporate citizenship of a company before deciding whether they want to work there, while a whopping 85 percent of employees say they'd quit if it came to light that their employer had negative social responsibility practices.

6. Heightened investor interest. If you're interested in attracting affluent investors, mission-driven marketing gives you a big advantage. A recent study determined that as many as 66 percent of investors consider a company's dedication to social causes before investing their money. Maybe that's why socially responsible investments in the United States actually grew 4 percent faster than any other sector of U.S. stocks in the past few years.

If you're interested in pursuing your own cause, here are a few tips on how to do it right:

Make your mission one you believe in. If you don't have some passion for the cause you've chosen, you'll find you won't be engaging with it on the level you need to be. Your cause can be almost anything as long as it's intended to produce a positive outcome for all concerned.

Share your story. Whenever you do something for your cause, don't be shy about talking about it or posting about it on social media. This isn't just about publicizing your business; it's also about publicizing your cause and getting more and more people involved in it. Sharing your story is the first step toward connecting with others who may want to get involved in what you're doing and make your mission part of their own.

Team up with a major player. When you team up with a nonprofit organization to tackle your cause, that organization naturally will want to promote your business to its membership and supporters. If the cause you're helping to champion is a local one, you'll find yourself quickly being seen as a positive force in the community. As the affluent have the time and money to involve themselves in these kinds of efforts, you'll form strong connections to that group and also be seen in an extremely favorable light by them. You also build the all-important element of trusta critically important element when it comes to marketing to the affluent. Finally, you can also team up with noncompeting businesses who are also interested in your cause. You gain access to their client base, and they get access to yours: win-win.

Have a plan. Imagine if you started your business with no endgame in mind. You'd end up flailing around and finally going under, which is why business goals are important. That goes for the cause you're championing as well. If you don't set up specific projects, fundraising efforts, or events that have realistic objectives, you won't advance your mission or your own interests. And your mission-driven marketing won't be as impressive to your prospects.

Don't be divisive. When your business decides to back a political rally for one group or another, you may be insulting a good portion of your audience, especially in these polarizing times. That's why it's best to pick a cause almost everybody can get behind. There are certainly exceptions to every ruleat times you may find it advantageous to be divisive, but in general, this isn't a wise practice. The affluent are as opinionated than the average consumer, so why drive them away when you're actually trying to get them in the door?

Do your homework. If you're pursuing the affluent marketplace, the best endgame possible is to find a cause you're excited about—and they are as well. When you tap into a cause that the upscale side of your community supports enthusiastically, they'll also end up supporting you enthusiastically. Again, you establish an invaluable trust—as well as a deeper kind of relationship that can't be built within a business framework, where money always ends up raising a suspicious eyebrow.

When you make mission-driven marketing your mission, you open the door to reaching your affluent prospects on a whole different level than a strictly business approach can manage. Do good and do good for your business. It's an undeniably awesome combination that has great upside to it.

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