Grass Roots Marketing with LIVESTRONG

Tell one person, they tell another.  Tell two people, they tell two more.

Grass roots marketing can be one of the most cost effective ways to promote your product or service.  The whole premise behind grass roots marketing is to let others spread your message and build your brand organically.  

Over the past year, we’ve had the pleasure of working with LIVESTRONG to develop and implement grass roots campaigns for both the LIVESTRONG Austin Marathon and Half Marathon as well as the Team LIVESTRONG Challenge Austin.  At the root of both campaigns is a strong focus on building community partnerships with key players in our target markets.  
For the 2011 LIVESTRONG Austin Marathon & Half Marathon that took place this past February, our primary focus was local team recruitment – signing up runners to fundraise $500 with Team LIVESTRONG for the fight against cancer.  Building on the momentum created by LIVESTRONG becoming the Title Sponsor of the Austin Marathon, we were able to generate interest and recruitment using a few straight-forward methods:

    • Partnerships and info sessions with local training groups
    • Free workouts and training opportunities through local fitness retailers
    • Scheduling info sessions at local coffee shops and hangouts that cater to active individuals
    • Social media and online presence

In local markets, grass roots marketing comes a bit more naturally.  If the audience understands your message and finds it of value, they will graciously reward you by passing along the information to friends, family and co-workers.  In fact, our 2011 grass roots campaign was so well received that we saw our Team LIVESTRONG Member numbers climb from 63 in 2010 to 500+ in 2011 – raising over $335,000 for LIVESTRONG!

Our current national campaign for the 2012 LIVESTRONG Austin Marathon & Half Marathon is a bit more challenging.  Because relationships are not pre-existing out of state, we’ve had to dig deep to reach individuals in target states that can serve as a liaison to our target audience.   People will respond to a message when they trust it – and they trust people and companies they know.   

When talking about grass roots marketing, another reality is that success results from “getting down and dirty” with your target audience.  For the 2011 Team LIVESTRONG Challenge Austin coming up October 15-16 weekend, we are doing exactly that with a more online-focused campaign:

  • Partnering with local cycling bloggers to spread the message
  • Partnering with local youth organizations and schools
  • Partnering with beginner cycling clubs and programs

With every partnership that you build, online marketing plays a key role:

  • Share logos and website links – “external links” also help SEO (Search Engine Optimization)
  • Share your message through each partner’s E-newsletter
  • Social Media is huge – share @mentions and #hashtags surrounding the event
  • Create corresponding blog posts and post for each other
  • Create an online video or podcast that can be passed from friend to friend

Grass roots marketing has been called many things:
avalanche marketing
buzz marketing
cascading style marketing
centrifugal marketing
exponential marketing
fission marketing
organic marketing
propogation marketing
referral marketing
ripple marketing
self-perpetuation marketing
self-propogation marketing
stir marketing
viral marketing
wildfire marketing

But, whatever you want to call it, grass roots marketing is a low-cost and highly effective method to consider when marketing your product or company.  Remember, partnerships are priority, try to incorporate “trust figures” into your campaign and don’t be afraid to put your feet to the pavement.

To learn more about Upbeat Marketing, please visit www.upbeatmarketingaustin.com or call 512-417-0070.  Or, share your ideas with us on Twitter @UpbeatMarketing.  

We look forward to hearing from you!

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