If you have to teach 1000 people, what options do you have? One, you teach them directly. Second, you train ten people and ask them to train the others. Generally, it will be easier to teach ten people effectively rather than teaching 1000 directly. What if a business applies the same mechanism in marketing strategies?
Yes, it is vital to reach your target audience directly. However, a business can also convey its message indirectly yet effectively. There are different indirect and nontraditional marketing strategies for businesses to spread the word. One of them is grassroots marketing, and it is just like the above-mentioned example. Let’s explore this marketing tool further.
What Is Grassroots Marketing?
Grassroots marketing is a marketing strategy in which a brand targets a specific group of relative audience and expects them to market the brand, product, or service to a larger audience organically. In simple terms, it means you persuade and please few people and let them advertise your brand. However, there are two very important factors in this form of marketing:
- The target group must be influential or knows how to make things viral.
- Social media presence.
Social media presence is a mandatory requirement for grassroots marketing, and the ability to make things viral is equally important.
Why Companies Use Grassroots Marketing?
A lot of companies favor grassroots marketing, while others fail to see its true potential. Yet, it is doubtless that it is a very effective marketing strategy and here is why companies use it:
- It is very much cost-effective. It takes less time and budget to persuade a smaller group of the target audience. In fact, it is a more pragmatic form of marketing for new businesses.
- It helps in launching more practical and viable marketing campaigns. In fact, they can often turn out to be more effective than large-scale paid marketing campaigns.
- This marketing technique thrives on social trends on different social media platforms. When a brand shares something trendy, it actually grabs the attention of its fans and customers. Most importantly, it allows brands to connect with their customers.
Why is Grassroots Marketing Important?
As mentioned above, why companies use grassroots marketing? Here are some more of the reasons.
Easier to Implement
Result-oriented marketing can be very challenging, especially when you want to target a huge audience. Grassroots marketing can make life easier for marketers. That said, marketers can channelize their limited resources to persuade or convince few influential people. Once they succeed in doing that, the company will reap endless rewards.
Long Term Beneficial Strategy
Marketing is a field that requires continuous efforts. However, grassroots marketing is like a seed you plant, and it will grow into a tree. The influential people you target will work as your “brand ambassadors” and help you grow your business.
Grassroots Marketing Vs. Guerilla Marketing
Grassroots marketing and guerilla marketing are two different terms, but they are often used interchangeably. Yes, there are some similarities, but both are fairly different. For instance,
- Both guerilla marketing and grassroots marketing are unorthodox forms of marketing.
- Both of them can also be categorized under the head “publicity.”
- The basic objective in both approaches is sales generation and business growth.
However, here are some differences between the two:
|Guerilla Marketing||Grassroots Marketing|
|Guerilla marketing basically consists of marketing tactics. The term “tactics” includes any action or move that can help to achieve a specific goal. That means guerilla marketing includes different marketing tactics to achieve various business goals.||Grassroots marketing is a specific marketing strategy that focuses on persuading or convincing a specific group of people, preferably influencers.|
|Guerilla tactics are often short-termed. A company may use one tactic for a specific purpose for the short term.||On the contrary, grassroots marketing is a long-term strategy that focuses on building a brand image.|
|Guerilla tactics can be used in a grassroots marketing strategy. That said, it can be a part of a grassroots marketing campaign.||It can be a blend of different marketing approaches, including guerilla tactics.|
|This form of marketing targets a larger audience.||This marketing strategy targets a much smaller and very specific group of the target audience.|
Ideas/Tips for a Successful Grassroots Marketing Campaign
A business can integrate different strategies to make a comprehensive grassroots strategy. Here are some very effective ways to do it.
- Offer Sponsorship Prizes. A business can offer sponsorship prizes to the winners of a competition. This is a great way to promote your products or service because competition winners are highly regarded individuals in a specific group of people. Besides, these events often get huge media and social media coverage.
- Product Samples. Offering free product samples in expos, trade fairs, and exhibitions can help create brand awareness. In fact, offering free samples to potential customers will do things nicely.
- Offer Promotional Items. If it is not possible for you to offer free product samples, you can offer promotional items with your brand logo or name on them. For instance, you can offer toys, pens, key chains, etc., with your business logo on them.
- Viral Video Content. Unique, likable, and interesting content can get viral within no time. People share something they like with others, and it helps a brand to gain market popularity.
- Guest Posting. Guest posting can be used as a part of your grassroots marketing campaign. Writing guest posts for a company allows you to share valuable information with their customer base. This sets your authority as an expert in that specific field.
- Event Hosting. A business can organize events like webinars, social events, workshops, etc., to create brand awareness. Moreover, a business can also take part in an event as a major participant.
- Collaborating with Local Businesses. Collaborating with local businesses can unlock new opportunities, especially for new or local businesses. The more you collaborate with others, the greater will be your chances to grow.
- Participate in Social Welfare. Offering support to good causes and participating in charities can be very appealing for your target audience. It sets you as an empathetic brand rather than an ordinary seller.
- Follow the Trends. A business can take advantage of trendy events. That said, you can create trend-related content to grab the attention of your target audience. When something is trendy, anything related to it gets viral within no time.
- Social Media Presence. Social media presence is a compulsion for grassroots marketing. Frankly put, there is no better organic way to create brand awareness than social media.
Grassroots Marketing Examples
Creativity is very important when it comes to marketing. Here are few awesome examples of grassroots marketing:
Dove Real Beauty Campaign
This is one of the best examples of grassroots marketing. Dove started a campaign named as “Dove Real Beauty Campaign.” In a video, a forensic artist was seen drawing a woman from two different perspectives. One, how a woman sees herself. Second, how a stranger sees the woman.
This video was a powerful message that made women believe their true selves and gave them self-confidence. In fact, it changed the beauty standards significantly.
ALS Ice Bucket Challenge
The ALS ice bucket challenge was a true internet sensation back in 2014. A lot of sports and showbiz celebrities, as well as business magnates like Bill Gates, accepted the challenge.
A person participating in the challenge would pour an ice bucket over him/herself and make a video while doing it. Every participation means that the participant would donate money to the ALS Association.
Before this challenge, very few people knew about this disease-ALS, but it turned out to be a national and then global idea.
Advantages of Grassroots Marketing
Grassroots marketing strategy can help business in many ways, such as:
Better Local Reach
When a business actively participates in local events, charities, or social causes, etc., it helps in drawing people’s attention.
Develops Customer Trust
A cluster of ads can make a customer confused about buying the right product. However, people pay more attention to recommendations from people they know. That’s why referral marketing (a part of grassroots marketing strategy) can help you gain customer trust.
Grassroots marketing is a highly cost-effective strategy as it focuses on a highly niche target audience. That means a business doesn’t have to persuade a massive target audience.
Beneficial In Long Term
Grassroots marketing helps businesses in creating brand awareness. Yes, it can be a slow process, but it helps businesses to penetrate deeper into the market. Besides, slow and steady wins the race.
Better Audience Interaction
High audience interaction is an integral part of grassroots marketing. People love it when a brand actively interacts with them as they feel involved.
Disadvantages of Grassroots Marketing
Grassroots marketing works due to the spread of information. It is very difficult for a brand to have full control over the process. Most importantly, if people misunderstand the message from the brand, it can turn out to be a marketing blunder.
As mentioned earlier, it takes time for a grassroots marketing campaign to yield results. Therefore, it is not a good option for a brand that wants to reach a bigger target audience quickly.
It is true that no marketing strategy is developed without proper calculations. Still, grassroots marketing can be unpredictable because it depends upon how the message is conveyed and how people respond to it.