When I talk with marketers or other business students, the conversation usually jumps straight to online marketing. And while, yes, the rules of the game have changed, that doesn’t mean that an effective offline marketing campaign has lost any weight at all. In fact, the successful blending of an offline and online marketing campaign is the best way to go, but for the purposes of this article, we are going to focus on your offline marketing efforts because those are just as important as your online marketing efforts.
Buzz marketing is a popular form of guerrilla marketing. At its core, buzz marketing is the spreading of a message organically, through people. You may start the message, but the message is spread by word-of-mouth action by your customers or potential customers. Buzz marketing is a lot like a game of telephone. But in this game of telephone you control the message throughout the process. A successful buzz campaign will start with a message that you have created, whether it be through a product or some sale you want to promote. We’ll go with the product angle for now, assuming you own an apparel store. Start by sending out a hired hand (hire someone to wear the t-shirt) into the community. Have him start conversations with people he sees on the street and have him mention clothes or something to do with his shirt. Of course, this person will have to be adept at starting conversation and not letting people know that he actually works for the company the t-shirt came from. As he starts conversations with more and more people, the message of the t-shirt will spread across the community, thus bringing business to your front door. Send your message out into the world and watch it spread. Facebook is a great example of buzz marketing. They didn’t intend for it to be a buzz marketing campaign, but that’s exactly what it turned into. As more and more people signed up for Facebook in its early stages, the more people grew curious and joined themselves. Now, Facebook is the largest social media site in the world and everyone asks, “Have you Facebooked me yet?” The only caveat to the offline marketing is that it’s often useful to have an online tool to track the results and analyse – we recommend something like Power BI which will let you visualise the data you collect, see insights and improve the campaign from there.
Grassroots marketing is a pretty simple concept – get out and be where your customers are and make relationships. Most often you see this type of marketing in the form of flyers, but how often do you actually look at those flyers? I don’t. A successful grassroots campaign is one that gets your brand out into the field. Here’s an example: You still own that clothing store. You find out that there is a big music festival happening right in your backyard and your target demographic will be at the festival. So, you set up a booth at the festival to sell your clothes at a discount. Be sure to hand out your card, which has your social media links and website links on it. Another important aspect of making this particular idea successful is making sure you are ready for all types of payment. Not everyone carries around cash anymore, and making people go find an ATM when they are at a music festival (or any type of event) is foolish on your part. Having a mobile payment system, like credit card processing by intuit, is a great way to show that you and your company are ready for the customer no matter where they are. One of the most successful grassroots campaigns in the history of the United States was Barack Obama’s campaign for the Presidency in 2008 and 2012. He had hundreds of thousands of workers that went out into the field and talked with people about his visions and his goals. That, coupled with his amazing social media presence, and people knew who Barack Obama was. He won the election, didn’t he? These are cheap, easy ways to kick start your offline marketing campaigns. They may take a little creativity, but with the proper implementation, they can be a real nice addition to your other marketing campaigns.