Marketing · Startups

How do you make a name for your business in a market dominated by big players via the grassroots approach?


November 11th, 2016

As a small company we have limited marketing resources so we can’t afford big marketing campaigns in order to draw attention. We are thinking of some cheaper but as effective ways and we found out about the grassroots approach. This approach should save a lot of money by targeting specific group of people and not the whole public if I understood correctly. What is exactly the grassroots approach and what is your opinion about it?

Karl Winkelman President Owner at Senior Care Authority South Bay

November 11th, 2016

I have owned a very small business for ten years. It is particular and it is retail. I Import and sell Art from Italy. I wanted to answer because I did try all types of marketing to grow my business believe me and it cost too much money. I decided there was a huge market right under my nose and I was going to grow first, close to home. For me as a small business owner, I have another full time entrepreneur business with my husband, I am happy I changed routes. I focused locally. I attend non profit events, chambers, participate in LinkedIn and other business groups. I cut my marketing costs in half, I have a very steady client base, and I am enjoying the business. I completely depends on how big you want your company to grow. I love marketing by social media but that is a great venue for me because the products are beautiful and make eye catching visuals. The cost if next to nothing but the time invested is significant. Katherine Winkelman Vice President, Winkelman Solutions LLC *Senior Care Authority South Bay* *Points of Life Senior Advocate* 408.658.9465 ** Covering Santa Clara and Santa Cruz Counties Nationwide Network for Senior Assistance

Roman Tsukerman Go big or go home

November 11th, 2016

There are many books/blogs/articles on using social media, but be aware that what you may save in money you'll have to make up for in effort. Unlike traditional advertising where you put out your message and then collect customers, social media requires constant engagement. Some brands were successful by cultivating a small, dedicated following who then did the company's work for them because they loved that brand so much, but that kind of fanbase is not easy to create if your company/product doesn't automatically generate massive enthusiasm from your customers. I recommend reading the top 3 well-rated books on Amazon on the topic, and be ready to spend a huge chunck of your time posting/liking/re-tweeting/tagging/etc. to make that strategy work.

Julia Rosa Owner, Satori Online LLC

November 11th, 2016

Mind you, I agree with Roman.  You can still hire someone to do all of your social media.  Outsourcing can be a lesser cost, yet effective.

M.H. Lines Inquisitive learner, voracious reader and technology enthusiast

November 11th, 2016

You've nailed it discussing targeting specific group of people.  To do that very effectively you need to look at those specific groups of people who have a unique need that is not served by the large market player.  You want to make sure that you are not just focusing on tools like email or social media but are building a robust understanding of the under served market - like are there features they need?  Is there related industry player you could build an integration with and leverage that to attract customers (and that company's partner network as well).  Then think about how this customer might be different.  If the industry leader is great at email marketing and tele-sales, consider doing a local lunch tour or attending industry events.  Then, once you are providing what they need and speaking to them the way that works, then, you can leverage channels like social or email or events to get traction.

Sidney Sclar SID the SECURITY PRO at

November 11th, 2016

Connect with Deborah Bowman at clasidconsultantspublishing

Karl Winkelman President Owner at Senior Care Authority South Bay

November 11th, 2016

I own Gioia Italian Art and Products and just sent you this note. K Katherine Winkelman Vice President, Winkelman Solutions LLC *Senior Care Authority South Bay* *Points of Life Senior Advocate* 408.658.9465 ** Covering Santa Clara and Santa Cruz Counties Nationwide Network for Senior Assistance

Tom DiClemente Management Consulting | Interim CEO/COO | Coach

November 12th, 2016

Just to be clear, there are at least two disparate types of grassroots marketing. One is a science of appealing to low income consumers in emerging markets. The other is the more general of applying social media techniques to a well-defined niche market.

I am assuming you fall in the latter. The former is much more complicated and would deserve much more information in order to comment constructively.

You can learn a lot about grassroots marketing by googling it rather than reading books. There are many current articles - make sure you only search for recent posts and articles. There are also many examples of successful campaigns on the web - for example, google "grassroots marketing examples". You can easily scan through hundreds and find something that is close to your situation.

At any rate, grassroots marketing in this vein requires:
1. a well-defined and narrow targeted group,
2. that can be reached via a combination of social media channels, and,
3. that has an interest in being reached and interacting.

In a grassroots campaign, rather than simply reaching out, it is usually imperative that you are successful in getting interaction. Some grassroots campaigns have involved novel contests, questions or gaming that, while kept at a relatively low cost by rewarding relatively few people, go viral by virtue of their novelty.

Again, I advise you to google the subject to get specific ideas that seem applicable to your business.

Best, Tom

Lucas Hanson Looking for a partner to build awesome products

November 12th, 2016

Hi Gerardo, 

I just wanted to provide a few additions to the other great comments. Any marketing campaign, large or small, should have a clearly defined goal and a tracking mechanism that can quantify the success of your campaign.

First, I'd suggest that you define what you mean by "draw attention."  This could be brand loyalty, increased subscriptions, increase marketing qualified leads, increased revenue per customer, or something else.  Sometimes, people equate social engagement or website visits to a marketing campaign's success, but it doesn't.  Start with defining your goal--this will help you with everything else.

Second, figure out which customer segment you want to reach.  This will help you identify the marketing tactics you'll use. There were a lot of great suggestions in the other comments that can help you figure this out.

Lastly, make sure you're measuring everything you do.  If you can't track your metrics, you don't know if you're getting the right return on your marketing dollars, if you should change tactics, or if you should invest more.  There are tons of tools that help track marketing campaigns, and many times, these tools are free.  

Send me a message if you need any ideas! I love this stuff and am always more than happy to brainstorm.

Andrei Zerebecky co-founder/ creative director at FOUR O NINE

November 14th, 2016

Hi Lucas,  Would you kindly mention a couple of the online softwares you would recommend for tracking marketing campaigns?
Many thanks,

Eti Nachum BlogsRelease

November 14th, 2016

Hello Gerardo,

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