The year was 1974 when 18-year-old Bill Starkey originally saw KISS perform. Back then, the now-legendary band was widely unknown and disliked by radio stations. Yet for Starkey, it was love at first sight. He made it his mission to change their stance, declaring “war” on his local Terre Haute, Indiana, radio station. The “KISS Army” was established, with ‘army’ recruits taking to areas outside their homes to promote the band and its music. This grassroots marketing initiative led to the radio station’s adoption of KISS’s music and a subsequent rise in record sales. Starkey can also be credited as laying the foundation for the band’s current fan club. And even with all that under his belt, Starkey is also seen as one of the fathers of street team marketing.
How We Know Street Team Marketing Today
The premise of street team marketing hasn’t changed since the 70s. In fact, bands still use this form of marketing to share their music. However, it’s expanded dramatically to include a growing number of companies that realize it is incredibly effective in getting the word out about their products too. You see it in action every day.
It could be the guy on the corner, flipping a sign around and in the air. He wants to get your attention and point you in the direction of his employer. It could be the woman who hands out fliers or offers a product sample as you pass on the street. Or it could be the large group of people who just broke into song and dance in your busy downtown area, aka a flash mob. It’s everywhere, no matter how subtle or in your face. And street team marketing is effective.
Why You Should Invest in Street Team Marketing
When done correctly, street team marketing accomplishes exactly what event marketers need. It engages consumers where they live, work and play. It personifies their brand and facilitates the personal connection necessary for survival in today’s marketplace. And it allows them to take a more aggressive approach to getting in front of consumers instead of relying on consumer responses or chance meeting. Street team marketing can even help them achieve their goals with minimal expense and simple logistics. This is why street teams can also be classified as guerrilla marketing, a marketing strategy that is generally unconventional, high impact and low cost.
If you’re considering street team marketing, you may be searching for input on where to start. The good news is a basic campaign is fairly simple to launch. But, it still requires a great attention to detail for its execution and success.[Tweet “Street team marketing puts your brand directly in front of consumers.”]
Your Street Team Marketing Checklist
When initiating street team marketing, be sure to have these nine basic necessities on your checklist.
Do you need to tell people about your new company, or do you want to build your existing market share? Are you launching a product, or do you need to increase sales related to an existing one? Even though street team marketing can be somewhat unscripted, having a clear and concise goal will help you be successful. It will also aid your brand ambassadors in understanding what their success looks like.
Your target audience.
Establish a solid understanding of your target consumers. Many companies choose to develop buyer personas as the best way to understand the motivations of the individuals who buy their products or services. Your demographic, like your goal, will influence other items in your campaign, so consider it high up on the checklist.
Where will you find your target audience? If you have a product that appeals to business executives, you may find them in downtown areas or on the subway. On the other hand, if you’re a candy company targeting kids, malls, amusement parks or fairs may be ideal areas for your street team.
Using the examples in #3 above, let’s consider the best times to get in front of potential target audiences. Business executives will be best reached during the week. Good times to approach them are lunch or after business hours, when they’re more relaxed. Kids will be available after school or on the weekends. Bottom line, think about when your specific audience can and, most importantly, will want to hear from you. [Tweet “Basic street team marketing is fairly simple to launch but still requires great attention to detail.”]
Your event staff.
Who you select to staff your street marketing team is critical. First, these people must be confident in their abilities to identify and engage your target audience. Second, they must personify your company or brand in the exact way you want them to. Also, extra skills may be necessary to qualify individuals (heads up: details on that topic to be discussed in an upcoming post!).
Depending on where you decide to activate your street team, permits may be required. Play it safe and check with your local government or, if in a mall, business park, or other public or private location, their management. Put in the work above to make sure your marketing initiative doesn’t get shut down as soon as it starts!
When you finally have your team on the streets, make sure they’re telling consumers exactly what you want them to take away. Consider what you want to achieve (your goal) and then formulate your messaging around it. For example, the PEEPS brand of marshmallow candy wants to be in consumers’ hands year-round, not just on holidays. That’s why the theme of their large-scale street team marketing activation became “Every Day is a Holiday.” To reinforce this, event staff was educated on messaging specifics, ensuring consistency and helping achieve the main goal.
Your supporting materials.
If you’re a candy or food company like PEEPS, you may want to hand out your product to entice consumers. Or your company or brand may choose to distribute coupons or information via fliers or digitally. Whatever your supporting materials, make sure they tie in with the overall direction of your street team marketing initiative. This can assist in reinforcing messaging and driving action long after your consumers have gone home.
Plans for ongoing communication.
Even the most thought-out marketing event faces unforeseen challenges. Sickness, bad weather, permit issues and more can affect your street team marketing activation. So make sure you’re prepared to communicate issues with event staff. A point person should be designated; contact information collected; and a means put in place for getting and staying in touch. (Staffing technology exists and will be discussed in our next post on street team marketing. Stay in the loop when you subscribe to the EPS blog.)
Could street team marketing work for your brand? Since 1999, EPS has assisted numerous companies and brands with their event staffing and event marketing needs. Request an event staffing assessment today to discuss street team options and more with one of our staffing experts.