Tickled Pink: The Personal Meaning of Cause Related Marketing for Customers

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There has been significant growth and interest in Cause Related Marketing over the past few years. (See Fellman 1999; Polonsky and McDonald 2002; Dupree 2002), An important element of cause related marketing is the level of customer awareness and involvement. However, in a review of previous studies conducted, it is clear that a limited amount of research has been conducted with regard to the role and involvement of consumers within Cause Related Marketing programmes. This paper reports on a qualitative research study of customers' perceptions and levels of involvement in Cause Related Marketing activities. Focusing on a case study of Breast Cancer Awareness campaigns involving one retail and one product-based organization (ASDA and AVON), now running for several years, respondents offered some revealing and insightful commentary on their perceptions of the campaign. Among respondents in the study, the emotional level of individual involvement was found to be a key differentiating factor in customers' awareness, perception and response to cause-related marketing campaigns. Findings also highlight the importance to customers of the credibility of the partner organization and their overall more positive view of business organizations that get involved in appropriate causer-elated marketing.
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