Utilizing Boots on the Ground Marketing
We often hear the term, “boots on the ground” when it comes to sales and marketing. Surprisingly, this idiom is credited to former U.S. General Volney Warner, who coined the phrase during a 1980 interview about the Iranian hostage crisis, literally referring to troops physically present in the battlefield.
As the phrase made its way into the business world–among other facets of society—it started referring to in-person marketing and sales, involving attendance at networking events, site to site visits to customers, cold calls, schmoozing potential clients at happy hour and manning booths at trade shows and events. Think pounding the pavement—but not necessarily knocking door to door to sell your product—but in terms of event attendance and interaction. It involves putting your best foot forward, making a lasting first impression, and establishing an authentic business relationship.
This strategy involves interacting and connecting with not just prospective clients but colleagues in your industry as well. In utilizing boots on the ground (BOTG) or boots on the ground marketing, you are utilizing strategy number three of Cowe Communications’ Seven Strategies to Boost Any Business: Sales.
Sales is not just about talking to someone about your service or product. Your job as a salesperson is to solve a problem for your customer or client. This entails building trust, speaking the truth, and listening. To have an open and honest conversation with your client, you need to know your audience and identify their problem. Define parameters of solving their problem in terms of budget and their time frame. Your goal is to ensure a frictionless sales process where all aspects—from the phone call to their website experience—is seamless.
In an increasingly digital world, human interaction becomes invaluable in terms of making those connections and building trust. A survey from B2B Marketing shows that “around 90% of purchasing decisions are made subconsciously, and about 50% more are likely to buy a product or service that demonstrates personal value through emotional appeals.”
Boot on the ground marketing builds trust and creates those connections. It creates customer experiences through interactions. Most of the time, these experiences create authenticity with your brand or business. During the pandemic, the most common boots on the ground strategy used by small businesses is participating in pop-up outdoor events. Attendees of these events get an opportunity to get-to-know these business owners. These interactions usually end in sales and building relationships. Stories of following your dreams and pursuing passions have a huge impact on people—they result in loyal customers who support you through word of mouth and referrals. This strategy also builds community with other vendors and business owners, often leading to future collaborations and, sometimes, partnerships.
The boots on the ground strategy works hand-in-hand, not just with building relationships, but also humanizing your brand through sharing these experiences on your website and social media accounts. Utilizing this strategy establishes your credibility as a business owner and builds trust to boot.