When Jane Harrell, founder of ‘cause, left a senior-management corporate job in 2016 to start the ’cause Digital Marketing, part of her mission was to help clients identify, create and scale out digital marketing tactics that will yield the highest return, while keeping their eye on how to measurably reach their clients’ goals, without breaking the bank. “As much as there was a need for proven marketers who see and share the value these businesses bring to the world, there was a need for a new way of working… a structure that allowed client, team and individual to get the most value for the business, the cause and their personal fulfillment at the same time,” says Harrell.
‘cause Digital Marketing is a boutique, digital marketing firm that specializes in helping pet and cause-based businesses succeed so they can focus on what really matters: changing the world. The team at ‘cause not only understands their clients’ industry but can also offer both one-time and ongoing digital marketing services that drive client loyalty, purchasing behavior and long-time success of both pet and small business’ revenue. The team of 16 pet and cause-focused marketing experts each focus in their own areas of genius, like branding, design, SEO, copywriting, publishing, content and web-management systems, big data management, customer insight, social media strategy and more.
Harrell had two things driving her: The extreme need in the pet space for digital marketers who “got” the industry, and the personal need she, as a successful millennial, had to live and work more sustainably with people and on projects where she could make a difference.
“For years, I’d been the client on the other side of the table, struggling to train marketing firms about the different kind of relationship cause-based brands, especially in the pet space, have to their clients,” Harrell said. Notably, she took on one client because they’d been told by another agency that their project was important because of the value of being “politically correct.” Harrell and team had personal experience with the societal issue and the proven marketing expertise to bring impact to the project.
The ‘cause team has worked with big and small players across the world, including Animal Planet, Petco, IDEXX, the Humane Society of the United States, the American Animal Hospital Association, Random House Publishing and more. The business became profitable in nine months, hitting six figures in under 12 months and more-than doubling that growth in under 24 months. Harrell is a regular speaker at pet-business events across the U.S. and writer for industry publications.
Since leaving her corporate job and starting ’cause, Harrell has worked with the Women’s Business Center at CEI on financial projections and analysis, client onboarding and retention processes, and pricing; among other strategic areas of business growth.
“Sarah and the WBC services have been invaluable,” Harrell said. “I was used to running budgets and strategy for parts of big, global corporations, not start-ups and certainly not a small business. Because of these services (and living in Maine versus the big cities I’d always lived in), ‘cause Digital has flourished.”
Harrell’s passion for the pet industry goes beyond ‘cause. She recently moved to Biddeford from Portland with her fiancé, two dogs, three cats and turtle, runs AdvoCats (and Dogs, Too!), a nearly 60,000-person strong Facebook community offering advice for how anyone can make a difference. She co-owns SocialMediaForAnimals.com, a free website for shelter and social-media managers in the animal-sheltering world to help them grow their careers and resources within the animal welfare world. She also does volunteer wildlife transport for two local wildlife rehab organizations.
“So much of what CEI and the Maine community have given me is the ability to show others what’s possible, and invite them to be a part of it,” Harrell said. “The ‘cause Digital Marketing model proves that we as a society, leaders and a community can do well by doing good in the world. The trick is all about figuring out how… and that’s what we love to do here at ‘cause.”