Identifying Grassroots Opportunities

Identifying available GRM tactics starts with holding open discussions with stakeholders, and any organization in your realm.  For discussion points, you want to review niche media, like web sites, bloggers, or LinkedIn groups; newsletters or other communication channels of theirs; favorite haunts; future events, etc.  that are available to reach your audience.  And if possible, I’d always bring on a PR/marketing agency in the area or product market to help.  (I attribute most of my GRM success to PR professionals who educated me.)

The second step should be to generate surveys and/or form a focus group of the people you are trying to reach, and poll them.  [Survey Monkey and Boomerang are free.  Focus group members could come from stakeholders.]

Then, I’d run through a list of non-profit and/or community groups that are active in the area.  After this, you’ll have a pretty extensive list of tactics that will reflect the the demographics and psychographics (behavior, interests) of your profile consumer – how they commute, what their hobbies are, what causes they follow, where they go in their leisure time, where they go to get their news, …   Remember, the focus is on the smaller, less expensive media.  Then it’s on to prioritizing these media and developing a campaign, which will be fodder for another post.

Case in Point …

At the World Beer Festivals, marketing meant buying $5000 in radio spots, $3000 for ads in the entertainment weekly, and about $3000 in table tents and posters.  Plus, they put out a couple of email newsletters to past attendees.

From the beginning, patrons told me the festivals were 1.) an amazing event you had to experience, 2.) well worth the money, they would never miss one, 3.) the best way to learn about craft beer, 4.) expensive enough they needed a referral or a group to go.  What a perfect scenario for grassroots marketing!  My starting resources were:

  • an email list of past patrons and self-identified parties

    Business cards

  • a moderately strong brand
  • a benefactor organization
  • a local brewing club
  • sponsors (generally local retailers)
  • a web site
  • photographs

Assembling tactics:  I ask for input from the local PR company we hired, the volunteer organization/benefactor, local retailers, the beer distributors, the CVB, the homebrew club, and past patrons.  To direct my discussions and get additional ideas, I reviewed past attendee survey results with these questions in mind.

  1. Who were we after?  The profile attendee was male, 25 – 50 years old, upper-level income and college+ educated.  We wanted more of the same and young professionals, who were a noted as a growing segment of craft beer appreciators.
  2. What were their common interests or psychographics?  Our surveys showed our patrons participated in other festivals; their most consistently used media was the entertainment weekly; they had traditional yuppie interests – sports, biking and running, going to clubs and taverns; and they were advocates of craft beer.  (They knew more than I did – but I was studying as hard as I could.)

The input I received helped me emphasize some previous tactics and add new ones.

  • Increase collateral distribution to bookstores and bike stores, not just taverns and restaurants.
  • Utilize past patrons’ networks by improving the email newsletters, so they pass them on
  • Add a Facebook page.
  • Join sponsors’ networks, emails and web content by making their support contractual
  • Put a banner stand announcing the event in our partners’ retail outlets.
  • Keep ads in the weekly entertainment magazine.
  • Advertise a ticket giveaway at partners’ checkout counter along with stacks of promotional business cards.
  • Stage advance events at sponsors locations, tastings and rallies, that they can promote.  (Even the media comes out after hours for a free beer.)
  • Exhibit at a few key festivals in advance of our event.
  • Ask the benefactor organization and the home brewer’s club to send out emails.
  • Participate in your partners’ events.
  • Ask the Convention and Visitors Bureau’s help with media channels and email lists.
  • Ask hired contractors (our bands) to promote their appearance to their networks using our messaging, trading web links and FB posts.
  • Take banner ads promoting ticket giveaways on social planning web sites and offer sponsor entitlements in return.
  • Ask the public relations firm to invite civic partners to participate in the above ways.
  • Find popular bloggers and have them all to a dinner to discuss supporting the event.
  • Buy coasters to put in local beer bars.

Can you add any comments about identifying tactics to use in a GRM plan?  Have you had success with other tactics that work well?

Flyer for retail counters