With the global Recession biting down on Australia and WA resources boom contracts on the decline, Australian businesses are re-evaluating their marketing strategies to ensure that relationships with local customers are protected and strengthened.
WA Treasurer, Troy Buswell, went on the record in April to say that he expected that WA would be the last Australian state to feel the impact of the recession, but this is little comfort for SME businesses who can little afford to take chances with their economic future.
Grassroots marketing is about reaching the local community and making a direct business-customer connection. Rather than apply expensive hit or miss advertising communications to a broad, undefined demographic sector, grassroots marketing strategies allow businesses to target ordinary Australians and cut through media clutter to deliver a genuine value proposition message.
Australians were outraged to see the Pacific Brands and its iconic brand Bonds head offshore earlier this year; and with it over one thousand Australian jobs. Enlisting community support by supporting the local community in a reciprocal benefits relationship is a smart marketing move when the budgets of both Australian businesses and average households are tight.
Oak McIlwain of Australian business directory, Company List, says that something as simple as promoting accessibility to your business through a local directory can yield a huge marketing return. “Just taking 10 minutes out of your day to list your business on a relevant directory is more effective in many cases that an advertising campaign and media spend worth thousands of dollars. It’s really about speaking directly with the consumers who will use your services”.
Applications for the distinctive ‘Australian Made’ logo increased exponentially in the wake of Pacific Brands’ closure of Australian operations and the public backlash which followed. McIlwain says this really came as no surprise as, ‘Australians have always gotten behind their own and lent support to any Australian business willing to give it a go’. The trouble as McIlwain sees it is in getting the message out where it counts that a particular product or service is available in their community.
‘Small businesses don’t have the kind of deep pockets that iconic Australian brands such as Bonds can access. They simply can’t afford scattergun marketing that may miss the mark, and often get lost in the milieu of messages which clutter up our thinking’.
With non-traditional marketing methods gaining popularity and media spends declining; it may be that grassroots marketing is the smart move for tough times.