What Is Mission-Driven Marketing & Why Is It So Important?

Chris Esh

Arguably the best part of having a mission-driven business or nonprofit is making a real difference and reaping the positive feeling of supporting something greater than yourself. Sure, there are plenty of monetary benefits to mission-driven marketing that we'll get into, but be sure to remain authentic and remember the reason why you wanted to support the cause in the first place.


Mission-driven marketing is so hot right now.

What is mission-driven marketing? Basically when an organization uses its core mission as the foundation and focus of its marketing communications.

You may assume that mission-driven marketing can apply only to nonprofit organizations. But in recent years we’ve seen more and more businesses of all shapes and sizes embracing mission-driven marketing as the foundation of their marketing efforts.

Think about a company such as Tom’s. They’re a great example of a company that cultivated great demand for their product based on the widely proclaimed mission of their company, which was to donate one pair of shoes for every pair of shoes purchased.

Nowadays, there are plenty of businesses adopting the mission-driven marketing philosophy to increase sales, brand loyalty, and even attract and retain high-quality employees to help them achieve their mission.

Arguably the best part of having a mission-driven business or nonprofit is making a real difference and reaping the positive feeling of supporting something greater than yourself. Sure, there are plenty of monetary benefits to mission-driven marketing that we’ll get into, but be sure to remain authentic and remember the reason why you wanted to support the cause in the first place.

Why mission-driven marketing works?

Businesses with strong mission-driven marketing philosophies

A couple examples of companies using mission-driven marketing extremely well include:

United by Blue, a Certified B Corp clothing, accessory and camping tool purveyor that doubles as your local coffee shop. They’ve committed to remove all single-use plastics from their supply chain by the end of 2020, organize community clean-ups, and preach the sustainable nature of their materials. Check out their website for a case study on how to implement a mission driven marketing philosophy into your online hub. Here’s a picture from their website if you’d like to continue reading instead.

Triple Bottom Brewing, who are aptly named after their “triple bottom line” business philosophy of prioritizing “people, planet, and profit” all into their bottom line. Located at 9th and Spring Garden in Philadelphia, they work with various nonprofits, including the Youth Sentencing and Reentry Project to find job applicants who have struggled with finding employment due to their incarceration or even homelessness.

Both of these mission-driven companies are based in Philly, so be sure to show your support!

As the brands mentioned above prove, a mission-driven marketing philosophy can be any mission that resonates with your target audience. If your mission is to create a Paraben-free facial moisturizer produced in the United States to help reduce the risk of cancer for anyone who wants soft, supple skin, be sure to make it known!

And don’t feel boxed into any one type of method for showing your support towards a cause. Many businesses donate a percentage of profits towards charitable causes as a way to align with a deeper mission. But practices such as the ones implemented by the companies above resonate strongly with audiences as well. Don’t be afraid to get creative, there are plenty of causes out there that your brand can align with as part of an overarching marketing philosophy. The more niche you can get, the better.

How to do mission-driven marketing well as a nonprofit organization or business.

So now that we’ve talked a bit about why these companies use mission-driven marketing, let’s talk about how to do it well.

1. Tell a story.

Nobody likes a fraud. If you’re going to allay your business with a mission-driven philosophy in order to create a marketable brand, make sure that it’s done for the right reasons. Draw inspiration from your organization’s past and tell a compelling story that inspired your organization to get involved. Telling stories are an age-old part of the human experience. We’re naturally drawn towards listening to great stories, and if you can make your client or customer correlate your organization with a compelling story, you’ll create credibility that won’t be forgotten any time soon.

2. Connect with people who align with your mission/story.

It’s one thing to have a mission-driven marketing philosophy. But it’s a completely different thing to connect with people who have the same values. You’ll want to figure out where people who also have those same values hang out on the internet or in real life. Focus on connecting with them in those spaces rather than trying to convince someone who doesn’t care about your mission to support your cause.

3. Measure your success in quality over quantity

If you have built a strong mission-driven organization or business, you’ll have no issue creating loyalty with your donors/members/clients. So now is the time to focus on quality over quantity (although you should always be focused on quality). Once you build up a strong base of loyal supporters, a large number of your new members/clientele will be driven in by personal recommendations from your existing followers. But they will only recommend your organization if you have shown them a great experience from the start.

4. Work with organizations who share your mission

It’s also smart for you to team up with other organizations that share your mission. If you are a for-profit business, consider teaming up with a nonprofit organization. If you help them out, they may be inclined to recommend your business to their members and supporters. Keep your eye out for mutually beneficial relationships with other supporters of your cause as you already have something in common.

5. Make sure you’re in it for the long-haul.

Don’t support one cause this month and another cause the next. Get personal with whatever cause you to decide to support and be sure to roll with it for the long haul. Otherwise, your support of a cause can look like a one-off marketing stunt for publicity reasons rather than genuine support.

TLDR (Too Lazy Didn’t Read Version)

Mission-driven marketing can be a great way to attract new eyes to your business or nonprofit if done the right way. People are increasingly attracted to organizations that aren’t afraid to support a cause close to their heart and speak out about mainstream issues. According to an Accenture survey of 30,000 consumers across 35 countries, 62 percent of customers want companies to take a stand on current and broadly relevant issues such as sustainability and fair-employment practices.

Mission-driven marketing works best if you can create a genuine connection with your cause and the supporters of the cause. This can be done through telling stories, remaining authentic in your reason for support, and focusing on the quality of your efforts over quantity.

Having a mission-driven marketing philosophy can help increase brand loyalty, spread awareness and have other positive impacts on your business or nonprofit. Do some research into what kind of people support the mission you’ve chosen, and why they are drawn toward it. Figure out where you can connect with them in order to create an authentic connection that will make them die-hard fans of your business or organization for life.


Join our email list!

Tips and tricks to bring your marketing inline with your values, delivered to your inbox.

"*" indicates required fields

This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.