The term "grassroots marketing" is becoming more prevalent and relevant in the marketing and advertising industry. Generally it implies a low key some may say subversive effort to reach a particular audience. It's not what would be considered a mainstream effort and in the past meant taking to the streets in one fashion or another. In modern times however grassroots can be a digital effort as well. The term has been applied to political campaigns, social campaigns, and advertising campaigns as well. Specific grassroots marketing examples would be the 2008 election of Barack Obama, The recent phenomenon of crowd funding, and Highbrid Media's Barbershop Takeover ad campaign. These grassroots marketing examples display the power and effectiveness of pounding the pavement and touching a desired audience directly on and offline
The 2008 election of Barack Obama as president of the United States was unprecedented in many ways. One of the most glaring was the digital grassroots effort that redefined the way election campaigns are run, specifically when it comes to constituent/supporter outreach. The Obama campaign set up a database that fused with their movement and turned it into a machine. They incrementally collected information from supporters online, they would then ask for small bits of cash along the way then use those use those small donations to buy television ad spots that would encourage people to visit the website in order to feed the machine and begin the process over and over. This grassroots approached shattered more conventional methods and then candidate Obama raised over half a billion dollars. This help him win the office of the President and set a new grassroots marketing example.
Another grassroots marketing example is the recent phenomenon of Crowdfunding which is the act of raising capitol by collecting small funds from large amounts of people. Platforms like Indie GoGo, Go FundMe, and Kickstarter have become the lifelines for small business's, soleprenuers, entrepruenuers, social causes, and individuals in difficult circumstances. The entire concept of crowd funding is to appeal to your immediate network and then by extension their networks to donate sums large and small until you hit a stated goal and in some instances surpass that goal. The largest recorded crowd funding campaign are by companies Star Citizen and Pebble watch. Who? Exactly! relatively unknown individuals and entities able to raise large amounts of capitol to fund there business ventures without any mainstream press or media great example of grassroots marketing an appeal to an important audience.
Highbrid Media specializes in Grassroots campaigns and in 2016 was hired by T-Mobile to work on their MetroPCS brand targeting the Latino community in the New York Tri-State area. Highbrid recognized that the best way to target this audience would be a grassroots approach that would get the brand in a place where the community gathers, where information is shared and trusted taste makers of the neighborhood and specific nationalities could advocate on behalf of the brand. The Result was Highbrid chose Barbershops and Beauty Salons in areas within that target market that were also close to MetroPCS authorized dealers. The shops and their owners were deemed official MetroPCS Brand ambassadors, the shops were outfitted with MetroPCS swag, gifts and prizes and the barbers and beauticians spoke with customers on a daily basis about the brand driving traffic to the closest authorized retailer. We also executed family fun days were kids from the community would come to the shop and receive free haircuts, listen to music, play video games and win prizes all courtesy of MetroPCS. The results of this grassroots effort was spectacular. You can see details and pictures here.
The 2008 presidential election, the Crowdfunding phenomenon, and the Barbershop Take Over are all great grassroots marketing examples. Grassroots marketing is a great way to bypass mainstream outlets, fly under the radar and touch/talk directly to your target market. Have you seen or experienced great grassroots marketing campaigns? Let us know about it in the comment section below.