By Lisa Major
Street team marketing, or street team promotions, offers brands and companies of all sizes an easy, low-cost, and efficient way to reach consumers where they work, live, and play. And, unlike most promotional marketing events that are confined to a dedicated space, street teams are completely mobile, giving you more flexibility and a greater chance to reach a broader audience. Incorporating street team marketing into your overall marketing strategy is a smart bet if you are launching a new product, looking to increase awareness for your brand, or simply want to get your brand noticed in an exciting and memorable way.
Setting your street team promotion up for success is pretty straight-forward as long as you have a clear and actionable plan. Below, we cover a few guidelines that will help reach and exceed your campaign goals.
The first step in planning a street team promotion is defining who you want to target. By establishing your target audience, whether it’s based on demographics, interests, spending habits, or a combination of all, you have a greater chance of reaching those that matter the most for your brand.
There are several street team marketing strategies that you should consider. Your approach is completely up to you, your budget, and what best suits the needs of your business and your audience. Flyering, product sampling, demos, and promotional giveaways are the most traditional methods of street team marketing. But, if you want something a little more elaborate, flash mobs and publicity stunts generate a lot of buzz and can even gain media attention.
Street teams can canvas targeted locations on foot, or you can make your street team even more mobile by deploying staff on promotional bikes or use other marketing vehicles for transport. Another tried and true tactic is to turn your street team brand ambassadors into walking billboards.
When considering locations for your street team promotion, think about where you can best reach your target audience. Areas that have a lot of foot traffic are ideal because you maximize the number of impressions you make.
Some of the most ideal locations for street teams include:
Depending on your budget, you can have more than one street team activating at any given time, locally, regionally, or on a nationwide scale.
At this point, you’ve determined your audience, your approach, and your location. Now you need to consider the best time to reach your audience. The best way to do this is to put yourself in their shoes. When will your target consumers be out and about? And when will they be most receptive to what you are doing?
Your street team can activate at any time, but without careful consideration, you’ll either have no one to promote your brand to, or they won’t be in the mood to listen. So when should you send your street team out?
Trust me, you need a local manager or team lead that knows the city like the back of their hand. A street team manager can do wonders for your campaign and take on most of the logistical burdens. Have them assist you in suggesting high-foot-traffic areas to target and have them come up with a routing plan that makes the most sense. Also, you’ll want to lean on this person to make time-sensitive decisions during the event.
The people that make up your street team will play a significant role in the success of your campaign. Because your street team staff serves as an extension of your brand, they must embrace and personify everything about your brand, from values to your brand’s image to messaging, and more.
There are so many traits to look for when considering staff, but when it comes to street teams, your brand ambassadors need to be extremely comfortable approaching people and highly engaging. They also need to be able to think quickly on their feet and understand what your goals are.
In some locations, you may not need a permit to activate street team promotions, but in others, you will. So how do you determine this? If you’re on public streets or in public spaces, it’s best to check with the local government agency in charge of permitting. If you are at or around a private event venue or on a college campus, you’ll need to check with their management or administration. You can always opt to take a chance and beg for forgiveness if reprimanded, but just know that your street team may be slapped with a fine if they run into the wrong person. If your street team gets the boot from a location, instruct them (beforehand) to leave quietly and peacefully, and then regroup.
No matter what you choose to offer, whether it’s product samples, giveaways, or discount offers, you will want to make sure that you are giving away something that will resonate with your audience. Give them something that they will actually use instead of something that will end up in the nearest trash can. Your offers should also be easy to store and easy for your street team to transport.
Based on you the size of your campaign, what you’re offering, and where you’re activating, you’ll need to consider all logistical elements. This could include shipping and receiving materials, storing and transporting materials, street team transportation if you’re targeting multiple areas, and inventory replenishment. Again, this is why it is important to have a local event manager on your team to help you with the logistics of the event.
It is critical that you provide your promotional staff with key talking points. Tell them exactly what you want them to say to ensure that it is consistent with your campaign and what your offering. Also, keep in mind that your brand ambassadors will have a very short period of time to interact with consumers since they will be on the move. Because of this, you will want your talking points to be short and sweet.
Before your street team hits the ground running, you’ll need to establish goals for your campaign. This could be the number of samples distributed, the number of app downloads, visits to a URL tied to the campaign, hashtag numbers, or impressions made. Make sure your team understands your expectations and goals and provide them with reporting tools to keep track of metrics.
There is no one-size-fits-all approach in experiential marketing, and the same rings true for street team promotions. If you take anything away from this article, it’s that you can’t be too rigid when it comes to street team marketing. You have to allow for some wiggle room and will need to prepare to make last-minute, day of decisions. Anything can happen, from weather to street closures to being asked to leave. Just be flexible and always have a backup plan.
*This post was originally published in 2018, and was updated in 2020.