Does Grassroots Marketing Still Work?

Grassroots marketing remains one of the most effective ways to connect with specific audiences, showing that you understand them by appealing to their emotions. It's more than likely to stick around as some of the most well-known brands continue to use it for some of their most successful campaigns.

Consider what Dove did with their Dove Real Beauty Sketches ad. In this ad, Dove tasked a forensic artist to draw two pictures of a woman. While one drawing depicted how the woman described herself, the other drawing depicted strangers' descriptions of the same woman. The ad did an excellent job of showing how self-image can differ considerably from others' perceptions while empowering Dove's audience. What's even more impressive is that the ad stayed synonymous with Dove’s brand messaging, despite the notable absence of an actual Dove product throughout the commercial.

So, what is grassroots marketing? Sometimes referred to as guerilla marketing, grassroots marketing targets a smaller audience than other campaigns, with the hope that your campaign's message will spread to even larger audiences via word-of-mouth. While grassroots marketing may be a little different from traditional marketing, it often performs very well when done right.

Grassroots marketing is potentially invaluable for your business by increasing both brand awareness and sales. Dove and other big brands' grassroots campaigns are excellent examples of this—Dove's Real Beauty Sketches film gained just under 70,000,000 views since Dove uploaded it in 2013. You can use grassroots marketing to reach your audience in a unique, original way.

The following are some reasons why grassroots marketing can be the key to your brand's success.

Consumers Love to Talk About Their Favorite Brands

Whenever consumers have a pleasant experience with a business, they will be more likely to talk about it with those in their circle. Whether it's through products, services, or ads, people will want to discuss their experience with their:

  • Friends and family
  • Social media following
  • An acquaintance who compliments them whether it's an article of clothing, a hairstyle, nails, goods, or home remodels or decor

Through market segmentation, you can begin your grassroots marketing campaigns by pursuing a targeted group with whom your ad campaigns are most likely to resonate. If that audience has a positive and memorable experience with your campaign, it has the chance to reach others through word-of-mouth. 

For example, you may sell a product that appeals mainly to families, in which case you may launch a grassroots campaign that targets families exclusively. Your ads may highlight the unbreakable bond of a close family, which could touch that audience and lead them to spread the word about your business based on not only those ads but also their subsequent experience with your product.

Making a Good Impression Can Go a Long Way

To be successful in a grassroots marketing campaign, you need to make a great first impression. In the process, your messaging, objective, and CTA (call-to-action) all need to be straightforward to ensure your target audience knows what to expect. The fact is that an initial good or bad impression will either make or break your grassroots marketing efforts. If your marketing leaves a good impression, it will spread well beyond the original target audience.

One example of a grassroots ad that made a good impression was WestJet. This small company launched a holiday ad campaign connecting with travelers preparing for a season of gift-giving. Seven years after the campaign's launch, the video attracted nearly 50,000,000 views, and people are still leaving comments on the video as it still draws attention. 

The Value of Going 'Viral'

Social media is one of the best ways to get the most from your grassroots marketing campaigns. In the digital age, when people connect so extensively on social media networks and social media influencers continue to establish a presence among their audiences, you need to strongly consider using this channel. Regardless of whether consumers have a large following, they will often jump on social media to discuss their positive experiences with a brand's products or services. 

For example, if someone recently bought a cool new item for their home and enjoy it, the customer might take a picture and share it on their Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram, if not all three. This single instance of social sharing can connect with even a small following and spread surprisingly far from there.

If you can create a grassroots campaign that resonates well with your audience, it's possible to see your campaign reach millions of people across many audiences. One popular campaign you may recall is the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge. It began as a small campaign formulated by the ALS Foundation to raise awareness of amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), a lesser-known disease at the time. The cause eventually reached far and wide, as people engaged in the ice bucket challenge. 

The challenge entailed having a bucket of ice poured over participants, who would then challenge one or more of their friends to do the same. Social media played a massive role in the spread of the Ice Bucket Challenge until it seemed like nearly everyone in the U.S. was aware of this campaign and the cause behind it.

Experience the Benefits of Grassroots Marketing with an Effective Campaign

If you want to go viral and appeal to many audiences with your marketing efforts, you can achieve that success with a grassroots marketing campaign. If done the right way, your campaigns can be successful for many years as your brand continues to spread via word-of-mouth, social shares, and other channels.

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