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In a recent Advertising Age article, Mike Swenson says that cause marketing is becoming a mature marketing option. Even when marketing budgets were tighter in 2009, we saw even more cause marketing partnerships launch. So, where is it heading in 2010 and what should you know?

Swenson predicts:

  • Look for brands to develop programs that engage consumers instead of simply cutting a check or asking for donations.

  • With more marketing dollars supporting cause programs, you can also expect to see a link between a brand's loyalty marketing programs and its cause programs.

  • The third integrated trend to watch will be more multilevel deals between nonprofits, brands and media properties.

  • In order for charities to truly benefit, brands must treat their cause programs with the same level of business acumen they do their other marketing outreaches. If more brands take that philosophy to heart, then we will see an even larger growth pattern for cause in 2010.

Read "The Most Influential Cause Marketing Campaigns of All Time" from David Hessekiel, founder and president of the Cause Marketing Forum.

Now, your turn. What cause marketing campaign is your company (or nonprofit) planning for 2010? What do you see as its benefits for both the business and nonprofit sectors?

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Elaine Fogel is president and CMO of Solutions Marketing & Consulting LLC, and a marketing and branding thought leader, speaker, writer, and MarketingProfs contributor. She is the author of the Beyond Your Logo: 7 Brand Ideas That Matter Most for Small Business Success.

LinkedIn: Elaine Fogel

Twitter: @Elaine_Fogel