Benefitting from Cause Marketing

Companies that donate money to charitable causes are often viewed more favorably by consumers, but don’t do it just for the publicity.

For many shops, hiring women is about putting forward an atmosphere of friendliness and trustworthiness, particularly to women customers, who, as we all know, account for 85 percent of all purchase decisions.

It turns out that hiring women involves more than just appearances.

Whether you’re supporting a local organization, a national charity or just a great idea, cause-related marketing is a powerful tool that can redefine the way your business is perceived in the local community.

Never heard of it? “Cause-related marketing,” also known as CRM, is a mutually beneficial collaboration between a company and a nonprofit designed to promote the former’s sales and the latter’s cause. You can help your repair shop become better-known in your community by participating in – or hosting – special events for charity causes.

It’s true that companies that donate money to charitable causes are often viewed more favorably by consumers, but don’t do it just for the publicity. Do it because you believe in it. But know this: One study found that more than 9 out of 10 consumers are likely to switch brands to one associated with a good cause, as long as both offer similar quality and pricing.

It’s even more meaningful when a small business supports a local charity, as it builds a strong sense of community and grows a loyal customer base. Choose a cause that has personal meaning, and customers will see you as a human being instead of just another repair shop.

What are some examples of successful cause-related marketing campaigns?

American Express copyrighted the term in 1983 when it debuted a marketing program to raise money for the Statue of Liberty’s restoration. AmEx donated one cent to the restoration every time someone used its charge card. The results? The Restoration Fund raised more than $1.7 million and American Express card use rose 27 percent.

Each year in October Valvoline Instant Oil Change Centers sponsors a nationwide “Pink-Out Day” that gives a portion of their sales of AutoTex PINK wiper blades to the National Breast Cancer Foundation. In the last six years, more than 220 participating Valvoline Instant Oil Change locations in 12 states have raised more than $65,000 for the NBCF.

Community Tire Pros & Auto Repair, which has 10 shops in Arizona, offers a neighborhood salsa garden on an empty lot across from their Phoenix store where they host fun kid-friendly events to educate neighboring families and school children about the joy of gardening.

“People love to help community causes, especially Millennials!” business owner Pat Fleischmann said. “And families love to help out and get their hands dirty.”

Since its inception in 2013, the company has grown and given away more than 5,000 pounds of fruits and vegetables to low-income families in the Phoenix area, thanks to contributions from customers who “round up” their store purchases with just a few pennies, and sometimes more.

These are just a few examples from national and local companies.

The following are five common cause-related events that have seen proven success among Ask Patty Certified Female Friendly Repair Shops.

  1. Go Green

    Eco-conscious living is on everyone’s mind, particularly women, and it should be in your marketing every day. As an automotive repair business, you’re already practicing green living just by recycling tires, engine oil and fluids, plastics, and metals. Extend that service to your community by organizing a recycling drive. Couple your recycling event with a “green” car checkup, inspecting all the components that govern fuel efficiency and emissions, and you’ve got a very green event.

  2. Support Local Shelters

    Every city has a women’s shelter or organization that is always in need. Find out what these groups are looking for and set yourself up as a donation hub. Whether it’s diapers, baby formula, cell phones, non-perishable food, clothing – or all of the above – supporting local causes like this is great for local visibility and helps real families in need right in your own backyard.

  3. Breast Cancer Awareness

    Every October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month, and a dedicated event for this important cause is sure to be a hit. Pink, of course, is the theme, so find innovative and eye-catching ways to make your shop pink for the month: pink lights in your signage, pink tint on the windows, and the sky’s the limit. There’s no shortage of great charities to support for this cause.

  4. Support Children in Need

    Consider setting yourself up as a Toys for Tots donation center during the winter months. This organization, run by the U.S. Marine Corps, has an impeccable reputation for doing a great amount of good for children in real need. You can collect toys through November and December, so consider a big, easily visible container for the task.

  5. Find Your Cause

    Sometimes the answer to the right charity for you is no farther than your own family. At AskPatty, the United Spinal Association, Bcureful for Tuberous Sclerosis Complex, and the Multiple Sclerosis Society are organizations that are close to our own heart. Let the public know via social media, press releases, and television just why your chosen charity is so dear to you, and something incredible will happen.

Whatever the cause, that’s on your own conscience, be a champion of it at every opportunity you have, and you’ll soon find you’re no longer just “my local repair shop,” you’re a real person helping other people, and that’s a powerful thing.