Academic Case Study: Cause Marketing Metrics

Every Little Thing Is Really a Big Deal

Cause-marketing differs from corporate philanthropy; the latter simply seeks to donate resources, typically in the form of capital reserves. Cause-marketing involves the inclusion of both the efforts of the firm as well as a charitable foundation, or “cause,” to promote their combined business marketing interests (Samu & Wymer, 2014).  Studies indicate positive consumer subjective response when engaging in cause-marketing promotions (Andrews, Luo, Fang, & Aspara, 2014). Yet KPI’s are needed to fully assess any marketing effort, cause-related or otherwise.

Target partnered with the Kids in Need Foundation for a campaign titled, Every Little Thing Is Really a Big Deal, in which school-supply items were donated to the charity; for every item purchased by consumers, an identical article was contributed. In determining relevant metrics for the strategy, a definition of success is needed. In this case, success is described as campaign awareness, especially conversation in social media channels. A correlation has been shown between consumer cognizance and the public relations influences of IMC (Alshurideh, Shaltoni, & Hijawi, 2014).

Quantitative metrics used to gauge campaign awareness would include hashtags, as well as retweets and shares, dependent on the social media channel being utilized. Peer-reviewed studies indicate an association between neuronal activity and the timeliness of hashtag relevance may offer prognostic Twitter recognition and attractiveness (Ceyda & Renaud, 2015). As the Every Little Thing Is Really a Big Deal campaign exists in one respect as an act of corporate social responsibility on the part of Target, communication of the stratagem leading to campaign awareness becomes highly relevant.

The Net Promoter Score (NPS) would be a choice for a qualitative metric, in which consumer experience is taken into account. The NPS has been shown to be advantageous in indications of repeat buying behavior and marketplace offering and firm recommendation by customers, and appears to be no more or less valuable than other subjective capacities (van Doorn, Leeflang, & Tijs, 2013).

Suitable equilibrium between objective and subjective KPI’s is skewed toward emphasis on quantitative metrics, i.e. hashtags, retweets and shares. While the NPS is certainly symptomatic, some suggest its use may be less than optimal, especially in patron allegiance (Schulman & Sargeant, 2013). Follow-up strategies should therefore be dependent on reliable data assessments.

Campaign success would suggest an ongoing crusade in an effort to capitalize on the positive public perceptions and the validation of corporate social responsibility endeavors of Target, as well as continued support of the Kids in Need Foundation.  Lack of accomplishment is certainly no rationale for abandonment, but rather calls for reconsideration and revision of the marketing plan, using further consumer research to determine a more efficacious approach.


Alshurideh, M. T., Shaltoni, A. M., & Hijawi, D. S. (2014). Marketing Communications Role in Shaping Consumer Awareness of Cause-Related Marketing Campaigns. International Journal of Marketing Studies, 163-168.

Andrews, M., Luo, X., Fang, Z., & Aspara, J. (2014). Cause Marketing Effectiveness and the Moderating Role of Price Discounts. Journal of Marketing, 120-142.

Ceyda, S., & Renaud, L. (2015). Local Variation of Hashtag Spike Trains and Popularity in Twitter: e0131704. PLoS One, 1-18.

Samu, S., & Wymer, W. (2014). Cause marketing communications. European Journal of Marketing, 1333-1353.

Schulman, K., & Sargeant, A. (2013). Measuring donor loyalty: key reasons why Net Promoter Score (NPS) is not the way. International Journal of Nonprofit and Voluntary Sector Marketing, 1-6.

van Doorn, J., Leeflang, P. S., & Tijs, M. (2013). Satisfaction as a predictor of future performance: A replication. International Journal of Research in Marketing, 314-318.




About Grannelle

eMarketing Scholar
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