A Company with a Cause

For those of you familiar with the Navel Marketing Model, creating a cause is the pinnacle of any marketing strategy. Customers buy products but evangelists buy causes – they buy into something. Whenever anyone asks me what they should write about on a blog, we start with the cause. When a company asks me what they should promote, we step back to the cause. When a company is struggling with their brand, we create a cause and rally around it.

In the transparent marketplace in which we operate today, companies need a “higher, holier calling” that goes beyond making money. They need to stand for something. They need to “make meaning,” as Guy Kawasaki would say.

Recently I was approached by a marketing automation software company, called InfusionSoft to become a certified consultant for their software. Once I investigated the product and its capabilities, I was blown away. This was something that I wish I had known about sooner, for both my own businesses and for many of my clients.

I had the chance to spend last week in certification training trying to understand the software and the best methods for implementing. What really impressed me, however, was the company itself. It has been around for about 7 years and started as a custom software house. It launched a product based on a project for a mortgage broker. Since then, the company has grown exponentially. It has attracted venture capital as well as the attention and endorsement of several well known authors and marketing consultants.

Early on, InfusionSoft figured out its cause and has had the discipline to stick to it. The cause: “Revolutionize the way small businesses grow”. So many companies avoid focus because it is difficult, there are so many opportunities out there, and they are afraid of alienating a portion of the markeplace. As the famous saying goes, “the more you narrow your focus, the more you broaden your appeal.”

As you listen to the founders tell their story, it is amazing to hear how they felt the pain of running a small business and how they built a solution around helping small businesses grow without adding staff and helping fix the inherent issues around follow-up failures in small business marketing.

However, it doesn’t stop with pitching their product. They have been touring the country with their Marketing Revolution Tour where they are teaching companies tips and tricks for changing the way they market. They sponsored a Fix your Follow-Up Tour with noted author Dan Kennedy where they paid to have Dan teach successful marketing principles in 4 cities within 4 days. The CEO of InfusionSoft, Clate Mask, even wrote a very compelling eBook that they are distributing free of charge on their website that highlights 9 proven techniques to double your sales. This is not to mention the dozens of other webinars, seminars, and speeches they give around the country to further the cause.

Their growth is a testament to selling the cause, or the InfusionSoft Dream, as they like to call it. This is a company the is prime example of cause marketing at its finest. Build a cause and then educate, advocate, and innovate around that cause.

What other companies have you seen that are built around a cause?

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5 thoughts on “A Company with a Cause

  1. Brian,

    As you say, “companies need a “higher, holier calling” that goes beyond making money. They need to stand for something.” We share this conviction.

    Organic WOM conversations occur 3 billion times each day in the US. Our model uses our patent-pending process to allow Members to engage this organic advertising to benefit their favorite charities.

    YouGottaCall.com allows Members to affiliate with their local, trusted service providers (TSPs). They may refer their fiends and neighbors to their TSPs through the network. Additionally Members searching for a local business online may locate TSPs through their trusted friends.

    Our slogan is “Trusted local Experts. Word-of-mouth referrals. Doing good.” Our network is entirely free to join and use. However TSPs may choose to reward their network each time they gain new business through WOM referrals.

    In this way we’re “Better than free”. But Members who earn these rewards may designate them to be paid directly to their favorite not-for-profit.

    Our goals are to enable the trust established by local businesses to help them grow their business and serve their communities while benefitting worthy, trusted charitable organizations. We are operating in the test market of central Connecticut and have plans to roll out to other areas.

    http://www.yougottacall.blogspot.com/

  2. Tim,

    Thanks for the comment. What I just read is an ad for your company, not a cause. There is a cause in there somewhere, but you haven’t been able to articulate it well. A cause goes beyond what your company does.

    The best question to ask yourself is: if your company were a religion, what would it preach?

    “Funding great causes” is a cause. “Daily meaningful activities for kids” is a cause. “Bringing families together” is a cause. All of these are causes created and preached by clients of mine. There is something inherently emotional in these causes. It is something that motivates and inspires. I would encourage you to take it a step higher.

  3. Brian,
    It’s challenging to distill a “cause” from a bevy of strategies, objectives, value statements and slogans. It’s perhaps even more complicated for us since we serve several distinct audiences – none one of which are our “customers”.

    Our service is a platform. We benefit only when it works to benefit our community. Here’s what we do:

    • For consumers – “Provide more value for their household budgets while enabling them to earn money and support their favorite charitable organizations – for doing what they’re already doing.”
    • For trusted local businesses – “Enabling growth, reducing costs and strengthening customer loyalty by amplifying and voluntarily incentivizing word-of-mouth.”
    • For NFPs – “Generate self-sustaining donations and strengthen community relationships – without depleting your donors’ budgets. For free.”

    So, taking your admonition to boil these into one cause:

    “Reward the community (consumers, local businesses and not-for-profits) by empowering trusted relationships.”

    Phew! That feels better.

    How does it look to you?

    – – T

  4. Not only does it help with marketing, but having a worthy cause is a much greater motivator than just making money. Everybody wants meaning in life, and trying to succeed with a business without a cause is extremely difficult.

  5. Good point, Josh. A cause helps drive internal passion and creates a purpose for the company. Another name for this is a Mantra. There is a customer facing cause and then there is the internal cause.

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