Cause Related Marketing or CRM is a strong tactic or probably one of the strongest for companies seeking to build a brand connection with customers. CRM is also an extremely effective way to sell services or products. The usual CRM campaign usually earmarks a donation for a charity that has been pre-selected to receive a portion of each product sale during the promotional period. Many consumers buy these products with an added bonus knowing that a good cause will receive a donation due to their purchase. Even though this marketing method is hugely effective, the public has recently demanded more reform in future campaigns.

Cause Related Marketing seems to be everywhere nowadays and always present making it hard to realize that the idea is fairly new. American Express dubbed the term “cause related marketing” in the eighties during a campaign that they created to support the Statue of Liberty renovation. This was the first CRM campaign to be officially considered cause related marketing. Amex donated one cent towards the renovation each time a card member used their card. Americans absolutely loved this campaign and went spending crazy. In fact, American Express had a 45% increase in card holders and an overall increase of 28% in card usage.

Many companies, especially large corporations have adapted CRM into their marketing mix and has come to be a part overall of the majority of the marketing mix. CRM is so effective because it taps into the emotional connection that a consumer makes. This is especially important in an era where consumers are even more demanding with regards to higher quality products and lower prices. This connection has become a much more important factor in the purchasing decision of the consumer. This connection is what helps to form the bond with the consumer and creates the sense of shared values.

There are critics that object to businesses using CRM as a standard business practice. Many of these critics find fault in these corporations capitalizing on a charity and reaping the benefits of huge profits while only giving a small amount of the money earned to the actual charity. There are reported cases of companies spending more to promote their CRM campaign that the final contribution to the charity at the end of the campaign.

Critics want to eliminate or severely curtail the use of cause related marketing campaigns. While that is unlikely, there may be reforms and heavy disclosure called for in the future.