I’ve found that grassroots marketing is used more as a term than a defined approach. Some equate it to guerrilla marketing – street teams, loud signage, and hand-distributed flyers, … I define GRM as the use of a strategic set of personal and “niche” media, including events, social media, community affiliations, public relations, Internet marketing, etc. to communicate information that can be used in a buying decision. It’s very different from traditional marketing – mass media blasting a repetitious message in a top-down approach.
GRM uses messages that can vary with the tactic and the immediate audience (but still consistent with the brand) – but the tone is different. Instead of selling benefits, the approach is to offer insightful, inviting information that establishes the sender as a non-threatening resource. Testimonials and implied endorsement are really important. The intent is to create brand disciples and viral spread, through the Internet and word-of-mouth. GRM requires lots of time and effort, but the results are generally more permanent and cost-effective.
– event sponsorship (in a trade show, expo, festival)
– email newsletter campaigns
– social media posts
– advertising on special interest web sites
– in-store displays and promotions
– interactive pavilions
– posted and hand distributing printed materials
– community groups’ newsletters and social networks
I believe a lot product categories are better served using a grassroots approach – entertainment, food and drink, high cost purchases (houses and cars, …) – products that aren’t commodities and could be considered part of a personal brand. I would also include products that are so complex, consumers want an expert or a company to entrust.
Let me hear your comments on the definition, or suggestions about other good GRM tactics. Thanks.