A young man wearing a brown jacket holds the front open to reveal the words Find the Right People.

Drive Profit with Purpose for a Great Marketing ROI

December 29, 2022

Customers are more particular – and more savvy – these days, and they’ll pay twice as much if your values match theirs.

Key Takeaways:

    • Purpose is a key differentiator in marketing today
    • Consumers will reject companies that don’t have an authentic story they can connect with
    • You must convey the “why” – that’s what consumers look for and demand
    • The right customer will share your values and your message to attract like-minded customers
    • Authenticity is the key to sparking the connection that results in a stellar ROI

Can a great marketing ROI be achieved by organizations whose profit is driven by purpose? Yes. Between 1996 and 2011, companies that operated with a clear and driven sense of purpose beyond the goal of simply to make money outperformed the S&P 500. That might be an old stat, but the savvy marketer knows that at the core of your business and marketing strategy, authenticity and alignment with customer values are even more critical today. It influences decision-making, inspires customers, and builds trust.

The goal is not to merely attract an audience – you want to attract the right audience. The purpose of your marketing plan, and indeed your overall business plan, is to tie the outcome of your marketing to your core business outcome. When your company’s clarity and conviction about your organizational purpose drive your marketing strategy, you’ll achieve financial and societal success and attract customers motivated by your 3 Keys: your unique purpose, values, and story. Here’s how to drive profit with purpose and achieve a stellar marketing ROI.

The benefits of marketing with a focus on purpose

The purpose of marketing is multi-faceted, but no marketing is effective if you don’t build brand awareness. Focus on the purpose of your brand and the product or service you provide, and you will attract the support of customers, investors, and employees. You’ll develop a strong brand and build a thriving work environment that turns customers into brand evangelists and employees into ambassadors. Companies that focus on purpose over profits enjoy some tangible business benefits.

It’s all about the unique selling proposition – that’s what sets you apart from the competition. Consumers are bombarded from all sides with all sorts of marketing promises, and the message is usually more or less the same, no matter what they’re selling. Your purpose and how you fulfill it – your values – is unique to your organization, and this story – and your ideals – will resonate with your target audience.

Here’s a great example of how purposeful marketing can yield a great ROI. It is critical to address and solve customer pain points. Word-of-mouth, especially in the age of social media, is still incredibly powerful: 88% of consumers highly trust recommendations from people they know, and 63% of younger consumers trust social media influencers over anything you say on your social media platforms. 

Customers who are referred from people they trust listen to and act on them. When you focus on profit margins first, the yield isn’t nearly as impactful. Instead, put your focus on your purpose to build your brand. Word-of-mouth marketing is free, which gives it a greater, more meaningful ROI. But over and over again, marketers spend money on initiatives that have little long-term impact (consider the Diffusion of Innovation Theory). Word-of-mouth is just one way to attract the right customers to your business, so let’s talk about purposeful marketing and how it can yield a great ROI.

Connect your 3 Keys

Before the purposeful business launches any marketing tactic, it must be dissected – does it align with, support, and/or contribute to your overall business strategy? If not, none of those great ideas for ads, deals, promotions, events, and activities will provide value that will further your business objectives. Purposeful marketing isn’t about short-term gain over long-term impact (again, the diffusion of innovation). Smart brands:

Tell, not sell

Tell your story. Be authentic. This will lead to a lasting impression and more sales.

  • 80% of consumers say it’s important to them that a brand is authentic
  • 77% will spend money on an authentic brand over a brand that is not
  • 85% of Gen Z and millennials say authenticity in a brand is important for them to feel connected and engaged

You tell your brand story, and if done well, it has a powerful effect on ROI. According to research by headstream, if people resonate with your brand story, 55% are more inclined to purchase your product in the future, 44% will share your story (that all-important word-of-mouth), and 15% will immediately buy your product. When you share an impactful story, you forge a personal connection with the right customer, which leads to more sales. 

Communicate brand values

Consumers want to buy from companies that match their “why.” Your brand values influence the purchase decisions of 60% of consumers. This highlights the importance of alignment between your brand values and the right customer’s personal values. 

This plays out in purchasing: 82% of consumers will pay more for brands that share their values, and 43% say they would pay twice the price. The data doesn’t lie – marketing that effectively conveys your brand values (remember, tell, not sell) certainly contributes to a healthy ROI. 

Connect your purpose

When your marketing is purposeful, it connects all the dots: your reason for being, your reason for profit, and your reason for belief. This must all be combined into an overarching strategy. Purposeful marketing:

  • Leverages current customer data
  • Clearly communicates your brand purpose
  • Answers the “why should I buy from you” question
  • Causes action
  • Drives your organization’s business model

And, of course, it generates more business than you spend on marketing!

Purpose-driven companies gain more market share and, on average, grow three times faster than the competition. This makes purpose a key differentiator. A truly purpose-driven company embeds its purpose into every action – and that includes its marketing. 

Some great examples of companies that effectively convey their purpose with marketing execution include Kellogg’s ambition to “nourish families so they can flourish and thrive” to Australia’s Sumo Salad’s vision to “make Australia a healthy and happier place.” The Dove Inspiration program is also an excellent example. Your ideal customer does not merely purchase your product or service – they support what your company stands for.

To be successful, today’s marketing must go further than to simply make sales. Consumers want to be a part of something larger than themselves. Today, consumers yearn for more than just your product or service – they require engagement and emotional connection. The best marketing ROI comes from campaigns that engage through the connection between your purpose, values, and story and the hearts and minds of consumers.

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