Cause marketing and customer profitability

Published on Mar 1, 2018in Journal of the Academy of Marketing Science
· DOI :10.1007/S11747-017-0571-4
Michel Ballings11
Estimated H-index: 11
(UT: University of Tennessee),
Heath McCullough1
Estimated H-index: 1
(UT: University of Tennessee),
Neeraj Bharadwaj12
Estimated H-index: 12
(UT: University of Tennessee)
This research marks the first attempt to investigate the cause marketing–customer profitability relationship, and to assess whether features can moderate the influence of cause marketing (CM) on customer profitability for a focal brand and its main rival. We obtain a panel dataset on 7257 customers to evaluate the Yoplait–Susan G. Komen partnership. On a propensity score matched sample, we estimate a multilevel model and find that Yoplait’s CM initiative positively influences Yoplait’s customer profitability (2.70%), along with a deleterious effect on Dannon’s customer profitability (−13.31%). These findings are theoretically meaningful and pragmatically useful as they: (1) provide behavioral evidence of CM’s profit impact, (2) establish CM as an “offensive” strategy that cultivates the rival’s customers, (3) suggest features can amplify the effect of CM on the focal brand’s customer profitability, and (4) support that managers can add CM to their strategic marketing arsenal as an instrument to strengthen brand equity.
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