Purposeful marketing: what is and why is it fashionable?

Pablo Herrera

Pablo Herrera
Head of SEO & Content

Purposeful marketing is one of the most important digital marketing trends of the third decade of the 21st century. No longer is it simply about reaching the consumer, but the ethical and sustainable aspect of marketing has started to become a priority.

Already last year, this was one of the key findings of the Deloitte Insights Global Marketing Trends 2021 Study. According to this report, organisations were beginning to search for their purpose, to understand why they exist and what benefits they offer to the planet and society.

At a time of reinvention to tackle climate change, with major social changes at a global level, the pure search for economic profit is no longer a reason for a company to exist. Corporate social responsibility has gone from being just another aspect to becoming the focus of activity.

The answer to who we are must include the answer to what we contribute to society. How we contribute to making the world a better place than how we have found it.

And we are not simply talking about responding to a need, but to a whole series of additional values and commitments that have a real impact on the organisation’s environment.

Pandemic, key to purpose marketing’s progress

Pandemia del coronavirus

One of the keys to the clear advance of purposeful marketing has to do with the COVID-19 pandemic. In 2020 we saw the whole world come to a standstill. As what seemed improbable, became reality.

As corpses piled up in overwhelmed hospitals and stocks of surgical masks and hydroalcoholic gel disappeared, people asked questions in their confinement.

The possibility of an abrupt end was never clearer on a global scale. Virtually every border in the world was closed, even within the European Union itself. Everyone stood still for a while and everyone decided that change was needed.

The next thing that happened was mass resignations. In the United States they called it the Great Resignation, with 20 million workers quitting their jobs between spring and the end of 2021.

Purpose marketing thus becomes another tool to give meaning to these workers for whom employment is not only a way to earn money, but also an opportunity to contribute to the creation of a better world.

Companies with purpose: satisfied employees

Empleados felices

According to Harvard Business School, more than 50% of employees who leave their jobs after six months do so due to lack of motivation. The percentage increases if we go up to five years, and they no longer feel fulfilled professionally.

A key indicator in the employee experience is to have professional objectives and goals. With purpose marketing, these objectives go beyond growth in responsibilities or salary projection.

Employee retention improves substantially when employees are satisfied to belong to a company. The work of the company is an important point, although others such as corporate culture, flexibility, training and employee benefits should not be overlooked.

Companies that have a purpose are better able to retain employees, but also to attract talent. They are more attractive from the outset, offering additional value to potential customers.

KPIs based on their purpose


For purposeful marketing to really be marketing, key performance indicators or KPIs are needed. These indicators are how to quantify the efforts being made.

They make it possible to make these goals of benefits for the planet and society concrete. The more concrete the KPIs, the easier it is to generate targets to monitor. Following the Smart Targets formula, employees will have the data on what is being attempted and what is being achieved.

In this sense, brands are best when they are built on truths. This is the way to differentiate, to achieve greater impact and visibility and to have an impact on society. We must not forget that this is the ultimate goal: to have a real and positive impact on the environment.

KPIs allow you to focus on the essence of the brand and create a coherent and sustainable message over time. As with any other type of marketing, you have to rely on data, analyse it and try to improve it. That is what will build a better world.

How to choose a purpose?

Elegir un propósito

Maybe when you started hearing about purposeful marketing you thought about joining the trend. After all, who doesn’t want to improve their environment? Who doesn’t want a better world?

If, in addition, it makes for happier employees and is an extra attraction for the customer, it even ends up improving the organisation’s productivity and profitability.

However, it is not that simple. It is important for marketing to self-analyse. The ethical and sustainability base has to be there and it has to fit with the core of the company.

In this sense, corporate culture and purpose marketing go hand in hand. The way in which time management is carried out, how employees are treated, and how suppliers and raw materials are managed, will have a lot to do with the purposes we can select.

Typically, it is common for companies to take inspiration from the Sustainable Development Goals. These Goals have seventeen fundamental pillars among which we can find our resolutions.

Sustainable Development Goals

Desarrollo sostenible

Among the Sustainable Development Goals there are four key aspects for business: People, Planet, Prosperity and Governance.

Firstly, the People section includes a lot of elements where companies can contribute. From having a good working environment to tackling the gender and pay gap, including diversity or ensuring job security.

These aspects are often the most important in retaining and attracting talent.

There is also a clear influence on Prosperity. From the generation of wealth and jobs to investment in R&D, strongly related to the creation of a better future. This is also influenced by the actions taken in local communities. In other words, the influence on their most direct environment.

On the other hand, in a more global aspect we have Planet. Here we are mainly talking about the fight against climate change, recycling, saving water, etc… All the work done to pollute less or mitigate emissions.

Finally, in a more internal aspect of the company’s operation, we have to point out Governance. This includes aspects such as transparency and internal mechanisms to ensure ethical behaviour in all departments.

Purposeful marketing uses these pillars and makes them its driving force. We are talking about marketing at the service of citizens and the planet. Marketing that does not seek to sell products or services, but to build a better future for all.