The Word is on the Streets

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New Viral Marketing Company reaches colleges and churches.

After a successful grassroots marketing campaign for The Passion of the Christ and other similar clients, Strategic Marketing Solutions, a Dallas-based marketing and media-buying firm, has joined forces with Buzzplant, a Nashville-based Internet and new media marketing and promotions company, to form an alliance dedicated to word-of-mouth marketing.

The Ground Force Network [] provides viral marketing solutions for faith-based products, music releases, films and events and is built upon the principle that word-of-mouth marketing strategies can reach the public in ways that traditional marketing cannot reach through media buys in newspaper, radio and television.

“The best way to reach individual buyers is through their peers,” comments Beth Cathey, President of Strategic Marketing Solutions and visionary for the Ground Force concept. “We focus on those trusted relationships to spread the word about exciting products and events that we believe can make a difference.”

Cathey says, “Ground Force’s key to success is our database of passionate representatives, or ‘field agents’ across the country who do this sort of thing naturally. We utilize an enthusiasm that’s already there, focus their efforts, and then equip them with effective tools to spread the word about our projects.”

Ground Force’s network focuses on two primary areas: colleges and churches. The field agents can market in a number of ways, including conversation, distribution of samples, or displaying posters. In addition, the company provides online and viral components through cutting-edge software and technology.

“It’s all about talking up a product or event – getting the buzz going,” said Bob Hutchins, President of Buzzplant. “Ground Force complements other marketing efforts – both online and on the streets.”

So far, Ground Force has the resources to reach hundreds of college campuses, and many of the more than 350,000 churches in America. Christine Piccione, Ground War Leader, said the field agents are carefully chosen, as are the tasks they are asked to do. She emphasizes that what sets Ground Force apart from other viral marketing agencies is their unparalleled element of personal interaction and that they are not only sending information into the marketplace, but inspiring people to action to purchase a particular product or attend an event.

“By nature, ‘word-of-mouth’ marketing is supposed to be organic, raw, and personable. It’s about relationships,” Piccione comments. It’s about our field agents establishing relationships in their communities with local churches, colleges, friends, and gatekeepers. And it’s about us establishing relationships with them. So the marketing results are ‘organically grown’ – not the results of a large corporation with big ad budget dollars telling people what they should consume, but people telling their friends about products and events that they themselves recommend. It works wonderfully.”

Before joining Ground Force, Piccione, formerly of Grassroots Music, directed viral marketing campaigns for clients such as Provident Music Group, Sparrow Records and Universal South.

Strategic Marketing Solutions provides print and electronic (broadcast) media buying and list brokerage services. For more information, visit Buzzplant takes advantage of today's latest technologies and new media tools to make promotions available to the widest audience possible. For more information on Buzzplant, visit

For more information, contact:

Phil Roth @ A. Larry Ross Communications

(972) 267-1111

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