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Purpose-Driven Digital Advertising

Consumers of B2B digital marketing are inundated with thousands of ad messages on a daily basis. This means that your marketing is fighting for the attention of people whose focus is being pulled in numerous directions. How can you make your digital marketing efforts stand out from the competition? Increasingly, marketers need to produce purpose-driven digital advertising with a specific goal and conversion in mind. And whether or not users are on desktops or mobile devices, your marketing efforts need to reach customers where they are in the buying process.

The State of Purpose-Driven Brand Ads

Purpose-driven ads have exploded in the last five years. Pixability, a video ad tech firm, reported that cause-related, purpose-driven advertising among the top 100 global brands grew fourfold since 2012. Social, moral, and political causes like gender empowerment were prominent, and other topics included overcoming adversity, achieving sustainability, providing community aid, and building equity. Pixability also found that purpose-driven ads attracted almost one million more views than ads without a specified moral or social purpose. Engagement rates were also higher (0.31% as compared to 0.29%).

Just because one cause attracts most purpose-driven ad views does not mean another cause cannot generate the highest engagement rates. When marketers execute purpose-driven ads well, your brand stands for something in which it believes and connects on an intimate level with your target audience. As people increasingly choose to engage with brands that align with their personal values, selecting your cause or purpose becomes increasingly important.

Who Does Purpose-Driven Ads?

Brands like Google, 3M, and Chobani plan purpose-driven ad campaigns. Especially with today’s millennials, the best way to increase revenue is to not prioritize profits. Having something, a higher purpose perhaps, that is unaffected by external forces is the only way to sustain success. In other words, you need a purpose.

Patagonia is a company with a popular purpose-driven marketing strategy. Since its founding, the company has stood strongly for social and environmental responsibility. After the company’s employees got headaches from exposure to formaldehyde in their cotton clothing, Patagonia went completely organic. They have also been measuring their environmental footprint for years and donated 1% of their sales across the board to mitigate their own negative environmental impact.

Patagonia started a negative consumption campaign that asked customers to “don’t buy this jacket.” Their marketers used messages on the website, in email marketing, and across their social media channels to discourage the consumption cycle. And their sales skyrocketed by 27%. A Black Friday ad touting their “anti-buy” mentality led to a 30% increase in sales alone. Note, however, that bold marketing initiatives like this only work if you have the company culture and core values to sustain it.

How to Create Your Purpose

Your purpose should relate to your customers intrinsically. For example, Heineken created a “Moderate Drinkers Wanted” marketing campaign to change the way people drink socially. Binge drinking has serious health effects, driving under the influence leads to fatalities, and alcohol addiction wreaks havoc on people’s lives. Heineken wanted to transform society’s real problems associated with alcohol consumption. Their drinking-in-moderation marketing message was successful enough that they put pressure on the industry to promote responsible drinking.

You need more than a one-shot positive impact B2B digital marketing campaign. Consider how you could demand humane working conditions or urge environmentally responsible farming practices. Driving positive change is the key to purpose-driven digital advertising that succeeds beyond your wildest dreams. It all comes down to living your core values so that others believe in you. If you want people to believe in your purpose or cause, it must extend beyond your marketing team. Your entire organization and its culture must live and breathe it. It is about searching for ways that your brand can continually affect positive change in the world.

So even when the market shifts and customer preferences change, your core values will still be your guiding factor. Building your brand on pillars of purpose that are immovable insulates you from cyclical ups and downs. When purpose-driven ads are the unifying force of your B2B digital marketing strategy, you can tap into an unlimited source of inspiration that energizes your campaigns. On the other hand, when you chase the bottom line and profits with your marketing strategies, you are always chasing the carrot instead.

KEO Marketing has helped many of our clients find the larger purpose that drives their marketing and advertising. Contact us today to boost your marketing with purpose-driven digital engagement.

Sheila Kloefkorn

With more than 20 years of hands on marketing strategy and operations experience, Sheila Kloefkorn is dedicated to developing marketing strategies and plans that help clients succeed. Some of the world's largest brands have depended on Sheila for marketing programs that delivered tangible and substantial results. Specialties: B2B marketing, lead generation, lead nurturing, sales strategy, marketing strategy, competitive marketing strategy, social media, search engine optimization (SEO), search engine marketing (SEM), mobile marketing,, email marketing, website design, marketing plans.