Cause-Related Marketing in the Face of Environmental CSI: Who Donates - Firm or Customer? A quantitative study of CRM-initiatives within the transportation sector.
Abstract: Cause-related marketing (CRM), where money is donated to a cause in connection with a purchase, has become a popular marketing strategy to increase funding for a good cause while improving customer relationships. As many firms act within corporate social irresponsible (CSI) industries, an ambiguity regarding how to engage in CRM is present. The aim of this study is to examine how transportation actors should relate to the environmental CSI they produce, when engaging with CRM. Specifically, the authors elaborate on the benefits of CRM that relates to the same or other domain than the environmental CSI. In addition, whether the consumer would prefer to voluntarily pay extra for a CRM-initiative or if donations should be included in the product price is a research gap this study aims to fill. A quantitative study with 641 respondents found that it is significantly more beneficial to link a purchase of fuel, while refueling a car (i.e. utilitarian product category), to a cause than to a purchase of a flight ticket (i.e. hedonic product category). Furthermore, this study indicates statistically non-significant effects with regards to whether transportation actors should let the customer voluntarily pay extra for a cause or if it should be included in the product price. Additionally, the findings show that individuals' intention to voluntarily pay extra for the CRM-initiative as well as their willingness to return to the company is significantly higher for a same domain CRM-initiative than an other domain CRM-initiative. Lastly, practitioners stand to gain because of two reasons; Firstly, increasing funding for a good cause, thereby contributing to a more responsible transportation sector. Secondly, meeting consumer demand for responsible consumption, giving rise to an opportunity to achieve more loyal customers.
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