October 1, 2010

Attacking your brand’s audience from a grassroots level: ROI – one person at a time

When you’re evaluating what to do next with your marketing dollars, don’t think a little grassroots won’t go a long way. More often than not, you’ll get more back for your marketing spend than you might think. And not just in dollars. You’ll find that engaging your customers on their own time in their own space will provide a more meaningful relationship with your brand.


The keys to a successful grassroots marketing strategy:

1. Know your target

You have to be willing to do a little trial and error to truly figure this out. You also have to be willing to get your hands dirty. Your target might like racecars or surfing or folk music. Regardless of what “it” is, you have be willing to get to know it intimately. This can be accomplished in a number of ways. You can do it yourself. You can also hire it out. The decision on which to choose lies in the question of whether you can live and breathe their scene outside your comfort zone for an extended period of time. If it’s a youth thing and you’re 50, well common sense should take over telling you to get a few “youths” in to consult as you build your brand strategy.


2. Support your target’s interests

You want to be part of the crew? Well, don’t go stomping in with guns blazing. Selling in this setting doesn’t work. Learn where you within the community. If you’ve targeted correctly, your product should fit into a nice, logical spot somewhere. Then take it slow. Get the lay of the land and learn what the target has to say about your product as you introduce it to the culture. This will help you improve your pitch and your product. Don’t get too eager. It takes time and this is about testing exactly what’s right for the current conditions. Just remember, this is the strongest connection you’ll ever make with your audience. It’s worth the wait.


3. Be consistent

Making a commitment to grassroots is just that. Think of it as the mafia. Once you’re in, you’re in for the long haul. You have to be consistent. Your target won’t appreciate you walking in and out of their community – and they’ll see right through you as just another marketer trying to take their money. By this time, you’ve worked hard to gain their trust. Don’t jeopardize it. Stake your claim, and make a grassroots strategy a consistent part of your marketing spend. Get involved in the community. You’ll not only endear customers to your brand, you’ll learn more about them than you could in any other scenario. It’s impossible to fake honesty and authenticity in the real world.


Why is grassroots marketing becoming so popular? Because it works. The media landscape has expanded exponentially over the past 5 years. With so much proliferation, it’s difficult to make a lasting brand impression using traditional mass media. You have to hit your audience where they live and where they breathe. Event marketing, guerilla marketing, street teams, custom publishing, sponsorships – these “media” outlets are they ones increasingly becoming more vital to the success of your brand.