Saturday, March 25, 2017

Does Social Do-Gooder Marketing Increase Book Sales?

Many publishers and authors will donate some of the net proceeds from book sales to a specific charity or social cause.  They may do this because they believe in and support the very issues they are financing, but they may also be charitable because they believe it assists with their branding.  They may even think that a potential reader is more willing to buy a book because a website, flier, social media post or book cover highlights the link between book sales and making the world a better place.  Does social do-gooder marketing actually influence consumer behavior?

According to a survey taken by Ad Week magazine:

·         Up to two-thirds of respondents said that they regularly or sometimes actively seek out a brand that supports certain causes.

·         A third of respondents say they are more likely to purchase from a brand that supports a cause they agree with.

·         One in four say they are much less likely to purchase from a brand that supports a cause they disagree with.

·         Generationally, the younger you are, the more likely  they will buy from a brand that supports a cause they support. 49% of Millennials said this; 34% of Gen X did; and 13% of Baby Boomers agreed.

·         The causes that people believe brands should support, in order of popularity, are hunger/homelessness and medical relief; education; environmental sustainability and wild life protection; and animal rights.

·         61% support a domestic cause for brands, while 13% wanted to see an international cause; 25% had no preference.

·         53% believe a brand should support a cause and donate money to a recognized charity.

·         39% believe that a brand should integrate a cause into their business strategy such as how TOMS donates shoes.

·         33% believe that support for a cause by a brand should come through its promotion of awareness for the cause through an advertising or marketing campaign.

·         25% believe a brand should use its visibility to publicly discuss important issues they would like to solve.

This may work for Starbucks and others, but does it translate into the book world?

No one will buy a book unless they truly think it would be a useful or interesting read – or a great gift.  But if given a choice between two similar books, on occasion, the consumer may choose the one that displays support for an issue he or she cares about.

It may also indirectly help the author get more publicity for his book.  The media may subconsciously be drawn to helping authors they know supports the causes they value.  It certainly helps on social media.

There are no big studies out there that prove consumers buy more books from authors or publishers supporting a charitable cause, but it seems like human behavior would skew that way.

It’s a win-win proposition for the book publishing community to support a cause.  At the very least it raises money for a cause and helps increase awareness for it.  If it influences sales or media exposure, that’s gravy on top.

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Brian Feinblum’s views, opinions, and ideas expressed in this blog are his alone and not that of his employer. You can follow him on Twitter @theprexpert and email him at He feels more important when discussed in the third-person. This is copyrighted by BookMarketingBuzzBlog 2017©. Born and raised in Brooklyn, now resides in Westchester. Named one of the best book marketing blogs by Book Baby

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