Blog for Rural America

The Center for Rural Affairs, a private, non-profit organization, is working to strengthen small businesses, family farms and ranches, and rural communities. Permission to reprint items from this web log is hereby granted, on the condition that clear credit is given to the original source of the material. If the blog provides information for a story, please let us know by sending an email to

Monday, March 07, 2005

Trading Time for Money: Fusion Marketing and REAP

-- from the desk of Russ Gifford, Director of Development
Center for Rural Affairs

If someone offered you the opportunity to show your business and products to hundreds of people who annually attend a highly valued group meeting, would you do it?

What if the only cost was your time?

Michael Levine, author of The Guerilla Marketer's Handbook, talks about the power of "Fusion Marketing." That's when you can use the promotional work of another group to bring your product to the attention of the larger group's customers.

Fusion marketing has lots of advantages. There's a big value in associating your product or service with a "brand" those customers consider a high quality. Fusion marketing also allows you to reach people your advertising might not reach on its own.

Small examples of fusion marketing might be getting the local pizza parlor or restaurant to attach coupons for your goods to every carryout order. If your customers and the customers of the restaurant share like needs or interests, it is a match that helps both groups.

A bigger example of fusion marketing is associating your business with a larger organization that shares the values of your business. The Rural Enterprise Assistance Program (REAP) is a good example of fusion marketing. While we often talk of the benefits that REAP members gain in access to financial loans and business training, there are also promotional prospects!

Many of the small businesses in REAP and in rural areas generally are people with drive, skill and insight – but not a lot of capital for a fancy media blitz or a dedicated marketing campaign. Trade your time and effort for exposure. This is your chance to not only tell people about your product or service, but in some cases to demonstrate it as well.

Could this opportunity be a bonus for your business? Certainly – but if you don't check out REAP now, you'll miss this chance!

Call Peggy Mahaney at the Center for Rural Affairs (402) 687-2100 to find the REAP chapter nearest you. Or visit the REAP website at


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