What Is Purpose Driven Marketing?

6 min

“There are two types of entrepreneurs in the community,” says Ari Kalfayan, founder of the Startup & Tech Mixer. “One, they just want to get rich… and that’s fine and we’re totally okay with that. And the other side is people who actually want to enact change in the world.” This second type of business is known as a purpose-driven business, aka a profit-earning enterprise with a conscience.

While not a new term, purpose-driven businesses have become increasingly popular these days. The reason? Customers support and recommend brands that have a purpose. In fact, 91% of Millennials would switch brands to one associated with a cause. Furthermore, 6 out of 10 Millennials said a sense of purpose is part of the reason they chose to work for their current employer.

On top of that, having a purpose-driven brand is beneficial because:

  • It aligns leaders and team members around a common purpose, mission, and culture.
  • Attracts the right type of customers, employees, partners, and investors who believe in your values.
  • Motivates you and your team to be more productive.

In short, having a purpose is an essential component of your business – even if your purpose is simply making the lives of people easier by providing a useful product or service.

What is purpose-driven marketing? We know what purpose-driven brands are. But, what exactly is purpose-driven marketing? Ann Gwynn has a clean description for the Content Marketing Institute:

Purpose-driven content marketing is a way for a business or brand to bond with a target audience based on their shared needs and interests – including interest in supporting a worthy cause. But while most organizations recognize the importance of, ‘giving back,’ they aren’t always accustomed to creating content around their efforts in a way that will both engage their audience and drive them to participate. Success in this arena is all about developing the right strategy and executing it in an authentic, organic way that brings mutual benefit to everyone involved.

Now that we have a better understanding on what purpose-driven marketing is, here are a few ideas to create a purpose-driven marketing campaign:

Identify your niche

The first part of purpose-driven marketing is being aware of your company’s strengths and weaknesses, as well as knowing your competitors. You also need to answer this important question; “Why would my customers pay a premium for my services or product, and is there a way to do it that differentiates me from others?”

Zappos, for example, has become known for outstanding customer service that consistently goes beyond expectations. That’s what sets them apart from their competitors and has built such a large and loyal following. It’s not the products they offer. It’s not the prices that they charge. It’s the fact that their purpose is delivering happiness to their customers.

Another example is Toms Shoes. Their purpose has been to donate one pair of shoes to someone in need whenever a pair is purchased by a customer. This one-for-one business model has been effective in attracting customers and even influencing companies like Warby Parker to follow a similar model. Again, Millennials are far more likely to buy from a business that’s doing something for someone else, even if they have to pay more. In my personal opinion, Millennials seem to believe in philanthropy more – by far – than any other previous generation.

Communicate your brand’s purpose

How do you share your brand’s purpose with the rest of the world? That may sound challenging, but it’s not as difficult as you may think if you try the following techniques:

  • Support causes that your audience would be interested. This is a tried and true technique where brand’s donate a portion of their proceeds to a nonprofit or charity.
  • Partner with other brands. Another popular tactic where two different organizations team-up. Uber has done this partnering several times. The company has partnered with Spotify so customers can listen to their playlists. Uber has also worked with Mothers Against Drunk Driving where riders were offered a discount code that would also make a dollar donation to MADD when redeemed.
  • Make your content valuable. No matter what industry you’re involved in or who your target is, your audience wants content that’s valuable. Home improvement stores like Home Depot and Lowes have both created instructional videos that show how to complete DIY projects or home improvement hacks, so that people can love where they live.
  • Be timely and reactive. “When news agencies reported that the GoDaddy CEO had killed an elephant on a hunt in Africa, Namecheap capitalized on it,” says Pawan Deshpande, Founder and CEO, Curata. “The company provided discount codes for anyone who wanted to switch from GoDaddy, with part of the proceeds going to an elephant conservation organization.”
  • Humanize your brand. Customers want to support people. Not a faceless, nameless organization. Humanize your brand by showing behind-the-scenes images or videos of people in your business, letting team members interact with customers by showing their personality, and by having a little self-deprecating funny stuff from time-to-time.
  • Have fun. I’m still a big fan of the “Dumb Ways To Die” campaign by Australia’s Metro Trains. It took a serious subject and made it into fun and memorable pieces of content.
  • Volunteer. Have you and your team go out into the community and make a difference. Lowe’s, for example, has employees volunteering for Habitat for Humanity. Again, that fits into the company wanting to help with making it possible for people to, “love where they live.”
  • Stay committed. It’s one thing to talk-the-talk. It’s another to actually walk-the-walk, and do what you say you will do. Once you have found your company’s purpose, make sure that you make a commitment to it. For example, Liberty Mutual has had a longstanding partnership with the U.S. Olympics and Paralympic Teams.

Measuring results and driving sales

Success will vary from business to business. But, the best way to determine how successful any of your marketing campaigns have been, is by establishing goals and analyzing the metrics. Here are some of the most popular goals and metrics for businesses:

Increase leads and sales

You’d want to track the number of visitors, subscribers, customer inquires, average conversion rates, and closed deals during a certain period of time.

Build awareness and trust

You’d track the amount of visitors, as well as the visitor-to-customer conversion rate. You also want to measure engagement for every piece of your content (shares and comments) and track your sales cycle length – how long it took from the initial contact to close the deal.

Increase loyalty and advocacy

Here you want to analyze the following:

  • The number of return visitors to your site
  • The number of customers who came from referrals
  • The amount of positive brand mentions online
  • Measure your customer satisfaction score
  • Measure your customer retention rate

You can use tools like Google Analytics and Infusionsoft to find this information out.

Back to you

What do you think about my first blog post for GetResponse? Please share your thoughts in the comment section below.