Cause Marketing – Personal Word-Of-Mouth and TV Most Influence Engagement of Generation Y

June 17th, 2011
by

Smiling business people standing togetherDeborah Gilbert-Rogers*

Earlier this week, Georgetown University’s Center for Social Impact Communications and Ogilvy Public Relations Worldwide released some findings from the Dynamics of Cause Engagement study. The purpose of the study was to reveal trends in cause involvement and evaluate the impact activities play on engagement. Other results will be released in the coming weeks.

“Despite the growing popularity of social media as means of engaging with causes today, younger Americans still look to personal communication with friends and family as well as traditional media when learning about and telling others about causes,” confirms this press release announcing the study.

Below are some other findings highlighted in the release:

  • More than four out of ten Americans (ages 18-29) get their information from family (48%), friends (46%), and TV (45%).
  • Sixty-two percent of Americans say that “being told in person” is how they are most often informed about causes and other social issues.
  • Fifty-six percent of Generation Y (ages 18-29) and 59% of Generation X (ages 30-45) say that they are engaged via face-to-face communication regarding causes, despite them being more likely than other generations to also be sent social media or text messages about causes.
  • Thirty-six percent of Generation X and 37% of Generation Y say that they would support a cause online compared to offline, believing that social media helps increase the exposure of causes.
  • Seven out of ten participants indicated that cause-related emails sometimes feel like spam.
  • The Silent Generation (those over the age of 60) is more likely than other generations to be told about causes via email. However, 55% believe they receive too many cause-related emails.

As a member of GenY, I can relate to the idea of using social media to promote causes. However, most of the causes that I am involved with are ones that have been introduced to me by others (also confirmed by the study) or ones that I have researched because they speak to my personal values. However, I don’t get a lot of cause-related emails and the ones I do get are for causes that I already support so they don’t feel all that much like spam. What I find more “spammy” are the banner ads that follow me around the web after I’ve visited a cause-related site or interacted with a cause or charity on Facebook. What are your experiences? Do you agree with the study?

Please share your thoughts with me and the readers of BurrellesLuce Fresh Ideas.

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Bio: After graduating from Rider University, where she received a B.A. in English-writing and minor degrees in Gender Studies and French, Deborah joined the BurrellesLuce Marketing team in 2007.  As a marketing specialist she continues to help develop the company’s thought leadership and social media efforts, including the copywriting and editing of day-to-day marketing initiatives and management of the BurrellesLuce Fresh Ideas blog. Facebook: BurrellesLuce Twitter: @BurrellesLuce LinkedIn: dgrogers

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