Even though it’s not a new concept by any stretch of the imagination grassroots marketing is one of the most coveted tactics for everything from politicians, to well known brands and even small business mom and pop shops. The implication when someone hears the term grassroots is that it’s low level and not complex but nothing can be further from the truth. Big and small companies and brands find themselves struggling when it comes to curating effective grassroots marketing ideas. Even large traditional marketing agencies who are now creeping into the world of grassroots marketing b/c clients demand it find that the traditional approach to marketing campaigns doesn’t always fly when you’re talking grassroots tactics.
Brands, small companies and agencies alike need to be systematic and consider a few different factors when coming up with grassroots marketing ideas. First and foremost the target audience needs to be taken into consideration also the desired outcome. Other considerations are tactics and the team, Last but not least you should consider metrics for success or just metrics period for your grassroots marketing ideas.
Your grassroots marketing idea should first and foremost take your audience into consideration. The implication to some when they hear “grassroots” is that the engagement must take place in the streets or a local area. While it’s true the approach is usually hyper-local it can just as easily take place online as it can offline. Even when it’s offline activity you have to really tap into the behavior of your target audience and know how and when to approach. It may be brand ambassadors at a sanctioned event or creating a pop up type flash event using the element of surprise to build momentum and excitement. What are the character traits of your audience what will they respond to? Hyper local in an online sense can mean targeting certain online communities based on shared interest forums, chats, affinity groups among other formats all give you a chance to engage audiences online and have an effective grassroots campaign with shareability also known as “going viral”. Once you’re able to nail down the target persona this will be the compass for your idea brainstorm. #GETURUMBRELLASOUT
Your idea should also consider the desired end result. After narrowing down your desired buyer persona you may just want to start at the end when it comes to your grassroots marketing idea. What action do you want the target audience to take once they’re engaged, is it a purchase, is it a visit to an online portal for more information? Or are you just raising brand awareness, there is no desirable action and you’ll follow up in some form or fashion on your own? Whatever the desired next step may be make sure it’s built into your idea. Grassroots activations work well in the moment but often time work organizations fall flat is not giving that buyer persona instructions on the next steps after they’ve been engaged by a grassroots campaign. One of the things we preach at Highbrid is tying an offline grassroots effort to an online effort placing info into a CRM for follow up post offline engagement. This is one example of keeping the endgame in mind when brainstorming these ideas.
Coming up with ideas for us is the most fun. You may have been briefed by the client already and can use the key takeaways from that briefing to help or you may be brainstorming ideas prior to the client meet wanting to come to the table with tactics that may be appealing to the brand managers. Either way this is where you get to let your hair down so to speak and have fun. This is the essence of any grassroots campaign it isn’t typical or cookie cutter you can come up with crazy ideas, more conservative/traditional ideas and everything in between. Our advise would be to start with a large scope view and begin to narrow it down based on factors like target, feasibility of execution, budget, logistics etc. Obviously this ideation is going to take into consideration the first 2 points made about the audience and the end game but even still this a time to be really outside the box and embrace the freedom that grassroots campaigns often afford you to have. Keep in mind every tactic you come up with may not stick or be approved but don’t look at this as time wasted. I can’t tell you how many times we’ve had ideas that weren’t picked up on at first but we kept it on the shelf and down the line revived the idea for that same brand, another brand our ourselves.
The Grassroots execution is only as good as the team who’s tasked with that execution. Whether off or online those foot soldiers are going to make or break an effort. The best idea with poor execution is a complete waste, but on the flipside you can have an ok or even not so great idea and have team members who go above and beyond and bolster the effort for desired end results. Key consideration when putting together team members include but not limited to:
This list could go on for a while but you get the point. You have to have people who can actually execute the ideas that you come up with, so plan accordingly. Also think about scale you may have ideas that are great but if you don’t have the manpower to execute there’s no shame in a scale down version and gradually building to where you can execute full throttle on the original idea as long as your managing expectations all around.
A key component to any idea executed measurement often gets left out of grassroots marketing. Instead of solid metrics vague terms like “gone viral” seem to be the acceptable measurement speak. This is a flat out mistake and you need to think about what are the metrics and measurements you’re going to consider when putting together grassroots marketing ideas. Is it getting info into a CRM for continued engagement or is it converting prospects to sales right there on the spot or something in between. If the idea conceptualized doesn't have measurement built in even if flawlessly executed you have no solid data to constitute the tactic as a success or failure.
Many factors need to be considered when coming up with grassroots marketing ideas. The measurement, the audience, desired outcomes, tactics and team all need to go into the brainstorming process. Embrace these factors they’ll guarantee that at the very least when presented your ideas will be received as well thought out and meaningful and at the very best become mainstays of a brands marketing plan. Any other considerations you can think of please share with us in the comments below, we thoroughly enjoy feedback from our well informed audience.