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Smart Marketing: Digital Street Marketing

What is street marketing?

If you’ve ever been approached by a friendly person waving a flyer and taken it because it was handed to you with a smile, or stopped to stare at someone dressed up as a pizza, say in front of a pizza restaurant – you have an idea what street marketing is.

Does it work? Well, you certainly remember the person in the pizza suit, and very likely where the restaurant was – and if the flyer-waving people were friendly (and good looking) enough, you probably at least scanned or read the first few lines on the piece of paper they handed you.

Street marketing is as direct and in-touch as it gets, without being totally pushy about getting eyeballs on your brand, front and center – whether your end goal is increasing brand awareness and loyalty, communicating information, or publicizing a particular promotion that will strengthen your position (or get your foot in the door) with your target market.

Does it cost a lot? Not in dollars spent, compared to TV or print campaigns. You can hire and train your own street marketing teams, or you can hire an existing company and provide them with training, to implement your campaign for you. Either way, street marketing does take a period of time, physical effort, training, and often a high amount of printed collateral and/or giveaway items, for the widest impact and effectiveness.

What about digital street marketing?

The basic idea behind any form of street marketing is to go to your target market and get your message to them directly, without waiting for them to come to you, or to passively expect them to tear open that envelope of “savings galore” that came in the mail. People are on the Internet and are using social media in record numbers around the world, including in large emerging markets. Sharing information digitally is now a seamless process; you can send a tweet with the right trending hashtags, or “favourite” a blog post, and have that fact shared across all social platforms you are signed up (and signed in) for. You can potentially reach thousands of people within a few minutes, at the fraction of the cost of traditional advertising – and yes, even more cheaply than the cost of a street marketing campaign.

These days people increasingly want information quickly if not instantly, and in readily digestible chunks, which is partly why even physical street marketing remains effective and popular: it may be easy to ignore an ad on a bus stop shelter, but less easy to ignore someone handing you a flyer with a coupon on it. In a digital context, you may have tuned out the ads in the right sidebar of Facebook, but will look at an entry in your news feed about a page someone “likes,” or about an offer/deal, event, product or service someone has shared, or has made a comment about. Digital street marketing is also much more environmentally friendly, something that consumers and businesses find attractive. In physical street marketing, plenty of flyers and giveaway items get left behind, thrown out or recycled; even if it does the job in terms of brand awareness, there is some environmental impact.

How do you get started in digital street marketing?

Once you’ve identified your digital street team of virtual road warriors (this could be a single social media marketing (SMM) person, or a number of people), you want them working to get your message out through online sharing tools, social media platforms, and digital marketing platforms. It definitely helps if your business, product or service has a presence online, including a website, a blog, and pages on social media platforms, as well as having your offers/promotions, ads, and business information available through deal sites and online directories.

The Global Coupon digital marketing platform is a place you can list your business, post your offers, run your ads, and share them seamlessly through social media and linking. You can also start an affiliate program for your digital street team and run your campaign through the platform, outward to other channels.

And yes, we did recently run a physical street team marketing promotion – the GC1000 campaign – in Vancouver, Canada, where Global Coupon is based. Right now, the first 1,000 business sign ups waive the platform usage fee for up to a year. A free start to your digital marketing campaign? That’s as good as it gets.

In an upcoming post, we’ll go over the details of actually running a virtual street marketing campaign – watch this space!

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