New study: Cause Marketing Not A Chick Thing

The first survey of men in the six-year history of The PRWeek/Barkley Cause Survey has uncovered surprising data:

– 75% of brands now engage in cause marketing (up from 58% in 2009)
– 97% of marketing executives believe it to be a valid business strategy

So what’s the problem? The research also shows that Boomer CMOs still consider cause marketing a chick thing.

68% of corporate marketing executives say they have no plans to target men for cause-related campaigns. Yet the research shows male consumers, especially younger males, respond to cause campaigns:

– 88% of men say it’s important for a brand to support a cause
– 61% have purchased a brand because it supported a cause
– 67% would try a brand because it supported a cause
– 55% would pay more for a brand that supported a cause

“The Boomer generation has carved out the path toward looking at cause marketing as an important way to connect with consumers,” said Mike Swenson, President, Barkley Public Relations. “But even more so is Gen X and Gen Y Millennials, who view it as something that must be done. That’s why we’re seeing the numbers we do with men. It’s no longer a gender issue.”

Boomer CMOs can complain all they want to about the lack of job security, but a failure to stay relevant is like drinking poison and hoping the other person dies. A new generation is coming up. Boomers can either wake up and get on board, or hold onto outmoded attitudes with one hand and their pink slip with the other.

The reality is that gender boundaries are blurring among younger cohorts. Millennials still maintain gender roles, no question. Just not in the same ways. Now, more than ever, it pays to invest in insights to keep a brand thriving at the leading edge of cultural changes. But having the insights and acting on them means taking a risk to encourage the old guard to embrace a set of values not their own. It beats clinging to the past.

For the full survey, visit