The essence of good street marketing is to break the fourth wall of advertising and draw potential customers into a unique, immersive experience.
At its simplest, street marketing might involve no more than distributing leaflets or strolling around wearing sandwich boards.
In London, one of the oldest street promotions that anyone can remember is the succession of forlorn individuals wandering around the bottom of Tottenham Court Road carrying a banner that proclaimed, ‘Golf Sale’. We don’t know how much business this actually generated but it must have had some success to last so long.
Truly effective street marketing needs to be much more inventive.
Rather than simply using outdoor spaces as a form of 3-D advertising hub, campaigns need to take full advantage of the opportunities for transformative interaction that the public highway and the pedestrian precinct present. F
or the public, the experience needs to be fun, surprising, valuable, and memorable, because word of mouth is a very important means of spreading your message.
Ideal targets include busy city and town centres or places with high traffic such as those which attract crowds of shoppers or hordes of office workers on lunch breaks.
Not only can you communicate directly with hundreds of people but now that everyone is a photographer if your event is powerful enough it will be circulated on social media within minutes.
The only limits to street promotion campaigns are budget, imagination and the law.
Here are three examples of highly effective tactics to get your brand noticed and remembered.
This is a relatively new technology which creates a location-based service.
It involves apps which use GPS, Wi-Fi or some other form of cellular data to activate an action or experience when a smart device crosses a virtual boundary, or geo-fence.
It enables you to send push notifications, targeted advertisements, text messages and deliver exclusive content.
As a digital reinvention of leafletting, it provides exceptionally rich and varied functionality as well as giving you measurable analytics data.
Instagram now enables you to submit stories under hashtags that make them available to anyone, while Snapchat has developed the facility to upload custom geo-filters which allow companies to communicate directly with users in a specific location or at an event.
As always, the potential for knock-on viral circulation is huge as the line between online and offline marketing continues to blur.
Graffiti, Posters & More
This is a contentious area, and it is important to be aware of the laws governing this kind of display.
Renting space to put up posters can be expensive and flyposting is against the law.
Some advertisers have been known to employ shady operations to plaster posters illegally on a ‘no questions asked’ basis, but this is unwise, counter-productive, and unnecessary.
There is nothing to stop you from using your own property as display space – trucks, cars, bicycles, t-shirts, even faces.
Graffiti is strictly prohibited in public places or on someone else’s private property but plenty of street marketers have successfully used things like non-permanent chalk to put messages onto walls and pavements.
Even this is a grey area since a court ruling decided that removable pavement art could still constitute criminal damage.
One ingenious way around this is reverse graffiti, which turns the dirt of the pavement into a virtue. Instead of spraying or chalking a message, you place a stencil on the ground and spray the area with a pressure washer.
When you lift the stencil the freshly cleaned part of the paving carries your message. Nothing added, just dirt taken away.
Pop-up Shops and Samples
A pop-up shop is a great way to bring the point of sale to your consumers, providing a temporary store where you can distribute free samples and even sell products.
Be as imaginative as possible in choosing the location and design of the shop – the more outlandish the setting, the wider the coverage you’ll get in both social and conventional media.
Setting up a product sampling campaign to generate a buzz is an effective tactic too.
If you’re launching a product, app or service worldwide, the capital is the seat of government, the centre of finance and the headquarters of many national media outlets. Street marketing in any major town or city is valuable but in London, the attention you attract is invaluable.
However, if your product is more locally-focused then a regional launch or campaign is perfect. We have been running effective street marketing campaigns all over the country for years. Launch an innovative campaign today.