How Do You Reach Buyers Who Buy to Support Social Causes?
I have observed the increasing influence of social enterprises with interest over the past decade or so. These organizations operate using a variety of business models, but a major focus of their missions is to promote some type of social benefit, often tied to their main product or service.
For example, a bottled water company might contribute money and resources to support projects that provide clean water to underserved populations. Or a venture capital firm only invests in companies that develop clean energy solutions.
While the motives of companies like this often originate from the ideals and experiences of their founders, their charitable functions also serve as powerful marketing lures for the right audience. More and more people nowadays are looking toward innovative businesses as leaders in making a difference in the world.
Which raises an interesting question. How should a social enterprise brand market its products, when a large part of what they’re selling is not a product but an intangible benefit?
There’s a truism in marketing that says that the best predictor of a buyer’s future purchases is his or her past purchases. In fact, modern data-driven marketing applies this core concept to segment prospects, choose which channels will best reach their chosen audience, and guide other high-level strategic decisions.
But when a buyer is highly motivated by social considerations, we have to enhance this formula. What if buying decisions could be better predicted by including value systems, social involvement, and communities?
Obviously, widening our scope to gather these disparate forms of data is going to require some creative thought and major data processing horsepower. But we’re getting closer every day. I’m excited about businesses evolving to expand their positive influence and make the world a better place. As marketers, we need to evolve along with them and get smart about who buys from us, and why.