What Is Grassroots Marketing? 7 Ideas And Examples


grassroots marketing

In an ideal world, marketers would love to come up with a campaign that reaches the masses every single time. However, that is simply unrealistic in just about any scenario, so coming up with creative methods that target specific groups makes sense.

Grassroots marketing focuses on a very small amount of people who might be interested in a specific type of campaign. By building up a very rabid audience, they can help it possibly explode organically and become more of a mainstream hit.

Is grassroots marketing worth putting money towards it? Can businesses of any size benefit from marketing this way? Here is a closer look at this type of marketing, and a few examples to help brands reach their audience.

grassroots marketing is important

Why is grassroots marketing so valuable and important?

The only way any type of marketing is going to survive is if it is ultimately valuable to businesses. Many have had quite a bit of success with grassroots marketing, and there are a few reasons why it works so well.

Backed up by data

People do not typically think of data when it comes to grassroots marketing, but having a good idea before jumping in everything makes sense. What this means is targeting the perfect consumers and understanding what will resonate the most.

In today’s world, not using data for any type of marketing is just putting a business at a huge disadvantage. There is no reason to overlook all the information that is available to make smarter decisions overall.

A specific, sometimes localized focus

Every grassroots campaign has a particular focus that resonates with a targeted audience. In a lot of cases, that means it starts as a local campaign and only expands organically from there.

The internet makes things a little different, as now the term “local” can also mean “hyper-focused.” Instead of marketing towards a particular community based on location, the community can be a niche group of people who share the same interest. It works the same way, and grassroots campaigns can explode from there once the target group helps it grow organically.

Creativity

Marketers love to have the opportunity to be as creative as possible with different campaigns. With a grassroots campaign, data provided can be a strong base to start generating attention for a campaign.

Almost all successful grassroots campaigns start with thinking outside the box. More on those creative ideas are covered below.

Inexpensive

What business owner does not like a cheap marketing campaign that has high return a value? While there is no guarantee that a grassroots campaign is going to work, most of them are very inexpensive to get going. It only becomes more and more expensive if the goal is to expand the marketing campaign, but by then, it has shown its value.

Make sure to understand that there is a difference between a campaign being successful by going viral, and campaign being successful by providing a great return and investment.

Is grassroots marketing the same as guerrilla marketing?

A lot of people get grassroots marketing and guerrilla marketing mixed up. While they use a lot of the same techniques, the most significant difference is that grassroots campaigns are for a more specific audience. Guerrilla marketing might use similar tactics, but they want to reach as many people as possible with marketing. Maybe that is the end goal with the grassroots marketing campaign to seep into something bigger, but the focus, in the beginning, is on a particular type of person.

marketing ideas

Seven grassroots marketing ideas to consider

A grassroots marketing campaign can be hugely successful if done correctly. Finding that starting point is sometimes a challenge, but people will eventually get something that works.

These general grassroots marketing ideas are all usable in certain scenarios. Try to think about a specific business to determine which one makes the most sense.

Emotional marketing

Anything that can trigger emotions with a specific audience is going to be a great grassroots marketing campaign. By focusing on a particular niche group, this allows a marketing team to put out something that could cause just the right emotions for every single person in the audience.

There is always a chance of some crossover appeal with an emotional marketing campaign as well. There are times when a specific piece of content can start to cross over, especially as it starts to gain steam online.

PR stunt

There is nothing new about using a PR stunt to grab some marketing attention, but looking at it through a grassroots marketing campaign is a little different. The goal here is to grab the attention of a specific group by being a little over the top. It might end up offending other audiences out there, but it needs to resonate with that particular niche to be successful.

It seems like PR stunts are becoming more and more outrageous these days, as it takes more than ever to grab the attention of people. Do not get so caught up in making a big splash that it ends up being more controversial than any business is wanting.

Current events and trends

Staying up-to-date with all the current events and trends can allow marketers to come up with some type of grassroots campaign before things start to get out of hand. Being one of the first to capitalize on anything trending can put a particular business in front of the right people. There is no doubt this is an excellent way for a smaller grassroots campaign to start catching on in a more significant way.

Some current news is more natural to market around than others. There is also a chance that a specific idea might never come to fruition because something changes. Always be aware of what is going on currently, and see if there are opportunities to kickstart a campaign.

Get creative

Grassroots marketing is possible thanks to creativity, and using unusual advertising or ambient opportunities makes a lot of sense. Being creative with new marketing ideas not only saves money, but it can end up grabbing a lot of attention if done correctly.

The key early on is to look for inexpensive options, trying to prove that it will work in the end. Once someone focusing on grassroots marketing gets a little more comfortable, they can expand their budget knowing they can take a few more chances overall.

Think old school

A lot of marketers in today’s world only think about new techniques to reach a particular niche of people. That is counterintuitive in a lot of ways because some people still very much prefer older ways to interact with a business.

old school

Grassroots marketing allows people to run a traditional ad in a newspaper if they want. They can create flyers and post them around a local area. Some of these marketing methods that have been around for decades still have an audience. It just needs to be tapped into creatively.

Since these older styles are not nearly as popular, it is also a very cost-efficient way to try something new. Maybe not everything will be a home run, but it is worthy of a try.

Show support towards the greater good

Is this grassroots marketing campaign a little on the safe side? Most likely, but there is nothing wrong with genuinely supporting good causes and charities out there. Philanthropy is always going to be a great way to get some positive PR, and that can help out quite a bit with grassroots marketing as well.

Of course, the last thing anybody wants to come off as it is a business trying to profit off of something innocent openly. This is where some subtle marketing works best, instead of coming out and trying to move product directly.

Embrace controversy

This final suggestion is the trickiest because not everyone is ready to embrace controversy to help a grassroots campaign. However, if done correctly, it can be beneficial by getting the name out there.

There are more controversial topics than ever, and businesses are continually facing “cancelation” for crossing the line. Without being too controversial, there are ways to grow a brand and not be afraid of taking some chances.

No matter how tastefully done the marketing ends up being, there are always going to be at least some haters out there that will have something to say. As long as it gets more positive reviews over negative reactions, it should be just fine.

Is grassroots marketing worth it?

There are many different options out there for people who want to try grassroots marketing, and many people have had success over the years. Not every campaign is going to be successful, but since most of them are pretty inexpensive, it ends up being a pretty cost-efficient method overall.

Show some creativity with grassroots marketing, and do not be afraid to step out of the comfort zone a bit. Most importantly, identify that specific group that would have the best reaction at first, and then see if it will start to grow from there.

Shawn Manaher

Shawn Manaher is the founder and CEO of The Content Authority. He's one part content manager, one part writing ninja organizer, and two parts leader of top content creators. You don't even want to know what he calls pancakes.

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