Page 4: Research
Research shows that the most important 'causes' to consumers are in the area of medical/health, schools/education and training, and environmental issues. Whilst many effective relationships already exist between businesses and causes, it is also clear that some businesses have focused on business/cause partnerships supporting issues with which the consumer is not strongly attuned. It is essential that in developing partnerships, business and the causes clearly identify their target audiences. The partnership must understand the consumers' interests and motivations and develop programmes accordingly.
Successful marketing, therefore, involves identifying the range of benefits that most fully meet consumer requirements. Today, for example, consumers do not buy petrol simply to get them from A to B. They want to buy petrol which will get them from A to B but with limited damage to the environment. The oil company that produces the most environmentally friendly petrol will, therefore, have a considerable advantage over rivals.
The same principle can be applied to most other product categories. Consumers today are conscious of the total impact of the products that they buy, including aspects of environmental concern and wider business ethics. This is a growing trend which is likely to continue into the future. Acting in a responsible way should no longer be seen as an optional extra for businesses. Businesses that are sensitive to the attitudes of consumers are able to build competitive advantage by making appropriate changes. It is important therefore that marketing understands and responds to the attitudes of today's consumer.