The Era of Rewarding Research

CMO Council Introduces Pause to Support a Cause

By Published on .

Ed Martin
Ed Martin
How do you get people to take surveys and aid in marketing research? The CMO Council is introducing Pause to Support a Cause, a new campaign that will donate to causes for people who participate in research programs. The council's Edward G. Martin of Hershey Co. explains:

There are two statements that ring very true for me -- both as a marketer and as a consumer. First, consumer insight is one of the most valuable commodities a company can obtain. Second, consumers, even in times of economic hardship and turmoil, will remain engaged participants in causes they care about and support. By combining these two statements, Pause to Support a Cause joins two concepts -- research and philanthropy -- and makes insight and donations accessible to all.

Pause to Support a Cause is a milestone campaign from the Chief Marketing Officer Council that will unite global corporations and public sector partners in a new initiative to survey the socially beneficial way by donating on behalf of those participating in funded market research programs around the world. This corporate social responsibility campaign will use a portion of the $18.9 billion spent on market research worldwide to create a global community of nonprofit champions, boosters, supporters and members willing to take part in online surveys as a way to channel funds to their designated causes, charities, foundations and nonprofit organizations of choice.

The goal of Pause to Support a Cause is to bring a larger and broader group of people into the research process while also including those groups that have been historically under-represented in market research, such as the African-American, Asian and Hispanic communities. We all know that the vast majority of people have some cause or issue that they care about, and many already donate and volunteer in support of these causes. Pause to Support a Cause is an easy way for individuals to support the cause or causes that are closest to their hearts by choosing the same cause or a different cause each time they take a survey.

As marketers, we spend an enormous amount of money trying to understand which products and services people like, as well as how to improve our own products and services in order be a more successful business. Now companies can get this crucial information at a fair price while helping fund important initiatives, such as combating global poverty and improving health care and education. And while many companies do make donations to important causes that are a good fit for their corporate culture, Pause to Support a Cause is simply a new way to facilitate additional giving that goes above and beyond a company's traditional corporate social responsibility donations.

For researchers, one of the greatest challenges we face is obtaining quality customer insight and data in an era when fewer and fewer people are willing to spend time answering phone or mail surveys. To "incentivize" this process, the typical research online panel offers 'points' to entice members to participate. A group motivated by points is a subset of the population willing to trade their time for prizes and gifts, which is also not fully representative of the total population.

We know there is no perfect sample, but we are confident that the addition of the Pause to Support a Cause panel will be highly valuable and useful for companies looking to understand how people feel about their products and services.

The Pause to Support a Cause model will work based on communities advocating and endorsing the program; and participation will grow virally with supporters telling each other about this innovative way to help fund their nonprofit organizations. Its real power lies in enabling people to do something for a cause that they specifically care about.

Edward G. Martin is campaign director and senior fellow of the CMO Council; he is also director of international insights and new methods at Hershey Co.
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