I sit on the Board of Directors of a group called Leadership Montgomery and a couple of years ago I took over as chairperson of the recruitment committee. A natural fit, right? I make a living by helping event producers recruit attendees and exhibitors to participate in their trade shows and events. At my first recruitment meeting, I dared to state the unthinkable: “Guys, there are lots of people and businesses in Montgomery County who have never even heard of Leadership Montgomery.” After the gasps of disbelief quieted, I stated that one of my goals on behalf of LM was to expand the reach of the organization. We would be successful when we started seeing applications from companies that were brand new to LM. It took two years, working with tiny (mostly pro-bono) marketing budgets and lots of true grassroots word-of-mouth marketing. This year the “pool” of applications grew to the 2nd highest ever in the 23 year history of the group. Yes, we saw apps from companies previously unknown to LM and/or from companies that hadn’t participated in a decade or more. The success of the recruitment efforts is also apparent in the quality of the applications (read: senior management and owners). And yes, there were excellent applications that were turned away for this class simply because space is limited and the competition was too tough! And now we crank it up again to recruit a Class of 2014. We’ll keep spreading the word
- Everyone doesn’t know about you.
- Grassroots marketing on shoestring budgets does work, but it takes time.
- Be clear on your goals and get your marketing messages crystal clear (and make sure everyone is saying them, over and over.).
- Marketing budgets help speed up your success by getting the word out faster and to a larger audience, but Rules 1-3 still apply.