New research shows consumers are more skeptical of companies that employ cause-based marketing techniques, something that should give companies pause when assessing whether aligning with a cause is helping or hurting sales. Seventy-four percent of consumers surveyed for the 2011 MSLGROUP Social Purpose Index said they saw a disconnect between the business and the cause. Businesses should consider causes that tie in to the company mission or are important to customers, and above all, they should keep the focus narrow, writes Rieva Lesonsky.

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