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What is grassroots marketing?

Growing up in a small town, it didn’t take long to learn that word travels fast. Sharing news with the right people guaranteed everyone in town knew the latest gossip by the Friday night football game. Grassroots marketing takes a similar approach by finding a small, targeted audience to take a message and spread it organically to a larger audience. This approach to marketing continues to be one of the best ways for small businesses to increase brand awareness and drive new business.

Grassroots marketing is sometimes known as word-of-mouth marketing. It relies on finding the right people, connectors, community members, and influencers who will be most interested in your service or benefit from your product. You want them to discover your business, love your product, and then carry the message into their circles of influence that share a common interest.

While many marketing strategies aim to reach the masses and cast a wide net, grassroots marketing is narrowed to a smaller, targeted group. Concentrating on your network and building relationships with this group is an effective use of time and resources for your local business that can make a big impact.

Grassroots marketing is great for businesses with smaller marketing budgets. For a minimal investment, you can increase awareness of your brand without the cost of flashy, expensive advertising.

The benefits of grassroots marketing

While grassroots marketing takes time and effort for outreach and relationship-building, it often comes with big benefits. Because this strategy is less about tag lines or flashy advertising and more about connection, community, and trust, it is an effective, budget-friendly option for small business marketing.

1. Effective. Done well, this method of reaching your target customers can be extremely effective. We all have a friend or colleague we trust who told us about their favorite product or recommended a service we needed. Or maybe you solicited a community group for a recommendation. There’s implicit trust that you can’t buy with a billboard ad.

2. Budget-friendly. Grassroots marketing is great for businesses with smaller marketing budgets. For a minimal investment, you can increase awareness of your brand without the cost of flashy, expensive advertising.

3. Everyone Wins. This is a win-win approach for your business and customers who are seeking to support a local business. You’re helping potential customers find a needed service, and happy customers will be excited to share their experience and help friends find the same great benefits.

How to start grassroots marketing

Start by identifying your target community and the message you want to share. You’ll also want to ensure your business is easy to find online and supporters have access to easily share your business with friends. From there, it is all about research, community, and utilizing technology.

Research and find your target audience. After connecting with your direct network, find out more about your target group. Know where your audience spends time – are they on social media, accessing information from their phone, or spending time in coffee shops? Why not find more of your people by hosting an event and asking clients to invite a friend?

Be involved in the community. Grassroots marketing thrives on connection. Join professional groups, connect with your city and other business owners, and participate in local events. Consider cross-promoting with another local business with a shared target audience.

Utilize technology. Technology makes it easier than ever to reach your target audience. Share a give-a-way on social media with your followers and ask them to tag a few friends who would benefit from your product. If you offer a service, write a blog sharing your expertise on a topic that interests and benefits your target audience.

Jennifer joins PMG with a passion for helping clients achieve their goals through effective communication and community connection. An avid reader, runner, and nature-lover, Jeni enjoys exploring Indianapolis with her husband and two children.

Author | Jennifer Bostrom

Grassroots Strategist


Let Pence Media Group’s team of experts build your brand and tell your story while you focus on your business.