It is my start-up, I launched the website 2 weeks ago but thought about the idea about 2 years ago (it evolved a lot since).
Pitch: grassrootsly is a solution to connect Brands to offline local communities.
ex: Your are Nokia and you want to reach mobile developers to encourage them to develop app for Win platform.??
– Help you design a plan for an offline community building campaign
– If you already have a plan we can implement by helping you find, reach and??negotiate??with local communities leaders to endorse your Brand/product.
– We evaluate the quality of the communities you want to endorse and do the after campaign reporting (quality survey and metric based report).
Why would a Brand wants to do that?
I believe traditional marketing is dying, thanks to mobile internet we live in a more and more individual-centric world. ??We bring everything we need with us, we bring information with us. Before we needed a building (school, administration, bank) to obtain what we needed, individuals had to adapt. Now the world is adapting to individuals.
Because of that billboard, ads in magazine…. people ignore them completely, we block them, And even if we see them, we think "how does that relate to me?" It is not specifically targeting me.
Online marketing is more relevant because it is already much more segmented. Ads on your favorite cooking blog, you may notice it because it is for "cooking lovers", i am a cooking lover, so maybe I am interested. Facebook ads make it even more relevant, gmail ad read what you are talking about to serve you ads. Scary.
What is the next step? Emotional connection, word of mouth, a Friend who know what's your problem and offer you a solution. This is the future of advertisement: friends, people you trust and/or admire endorsing a product and recommending it to you.
People meet liked-minded people in offline communities: Toastmaster, hiking group, reading group, theater group, entrepreneurs' events… We are grouped offline around a same interest, we have the same needs…and naturally we exchange solution and best practices.
Now what if a community leader could use a product, likes it and promote it in his community? The ratio of adoption will be super high.
This is the marketing dream.
I want to help provide this solution.
Starting verticals: Tech, entrepreneurs, creatives.
Underlying Mission: Helps building offline communities.
I connect Brand to communities, takes a cut on the sponsorship. This is the way. The investors pitch. But why do I want to do that?
I believe offline community is a place where many people find happiness they lost in their busy life.
My personal story
At least it was the case for me. And i observed / heard that it was the case for many other fellow members of the different communities I joined.
I joined Toastmaster and find a place to grow myself and public speaking??ability??when my job was so unfulfilling and I felt I was learning nothing. Couples were coming to toastmaster together, parents were giving up family time to come to toastmaster. And every meeting was a real inspiration, learning experience. So I kept going.
I joined improvisation workshop when I felt bored and very unhappy with no real reason and I found a place where I laugh and meet very open minded people who like trying new things. Many of them told me improv changed their life. Saved them.
I joined iWeekend when I quitted my first job and I was not sure what was my path, my goal. And nothing makes me more happy than hearing participants saying "before I just had an idea, I had an idea for so long, but after iWeekend, I feel I am finally much more closer to realize it!".
Only in offline community do you find the emotional connection that bridge you with others, others that are finally like you. You may have several communities because we all have several identities, but each of them bring you something.
When a Toastmaster guy recommend me a book who inspire him to write his speech I loved, I read it.
When a fellow improvisor recommend me a show or TV show because it is funny, I watch it.
When a fellow iWeekender recommend me a web app to increase user retention on me homepage, I definitely check it out.
What offline communities have is passion. They are a hug of knowledge sharing.
What they don't have is (usually) is structure and funds. If someone could help on this side more people will be willing build their own community. That's were I want to play a part.
This is my idea, I will write more about the progress of it, but I am now at GMIC to collect feedbacks and build connections. If you have any opinion/feedbacks on grassrootsly, I will be very happy to hear them. It would help a lot.