The Effectiveness of Cause-Related Marketing: A Meta-Analysis on Consumer Responses

Christina Schamp, Mark Heitmann, Bijmolt Tammo, Robin Katzenstein

Publikation: Wissenschaftliche FachzeitschriftOriginalbeitrag in FachzeitschriftBegutachtung


Cause-related marketing (CM), which links corporate donations to consumer purchases, has ongoing momentum in marketing. As the magnitude and direction of consumers’ CM response are inconclusive, this meta-analysis synthesizes evidence on main and moderator effects from 237 studies. On average, it finds a moderate effect for attitudinal (d=.458) and a weak effect for behavioral response (d=.283; both p <.001), both with high underlying heterogeneity. A multivariate meta-regression on CM moderators grounded along four conceptual pillars – transparency, signals of sincerity, purchase context, and consumers’ emotional attachment to CM – shows that attitudinal effects hinge mostly on emotional attachment. Suboptimal execution and poor communication of the donation appeal in particular can even have detrimental effects on attitudes. In addition, various moderators from other pillars play a relevant role. For behavioral outcomes, both emotional attachment and signals of sincerity are equally important. The visual prominence of the donation is the most relevant individual moderator, with only a few others related to the two pillars following with some distance. CM therefore requires different priorities depending on corporate objectives. The paper further compares CM effects to those of other marketing instruments, simulates practical examples and provides avenues for further research.
Seiten (von - bis)189-215
FachzeitschriftJournal of Marketing Research (JMR)
Frühes Online-DatumJuni 2022
PublikationsstatusVeröffentlicht - Feb. 2023