Social Cause Marketing


Social cause marketing is the application of the marketing discipline to social issues and causes to promote voluntary behaviours that benefit both individuals and communities for the greater social good.

This can include promoting engagement in healthier behaviours, supporting the local community, protecting the environment, increasing volunteering and donations, and many more.

Social-cause marketing principles are not dissimilar to commercial marketing, however some of the methods and goals do differ, and are important to be aware of in non-profit contexts.

Key differences between commercial and social-cause marketing are:

  • the aim of social good (i.e. improved health of people or the environment), rather than commercial gain.
  • selling a change in behaviour or attitudes, rather than a branded good/service.
  • attempts to increase/decrease the category (i.e. immunisations) and/or the frequency of a behaviour (i.e. smoking tobacco), as opposed to increasing market share.
  • outcomes measured as changes in attitudes or behaviours, not sales.
  • the competitive set includes current or alternative behaviours that consumers may engage in, compared with other brands that may be purchased from a category.