Marketing is everywhere. Whether you are at home, driving, at work, at school, or at recreation, something and someone is marketing to us.
As a marketing professional, I’ve learned from the best, and I can also take a lesson from some of the worst. As an observer of life and people, I decided to take some tips from a “street team” in my nearby local downtown.
I often walk to the Trader Joe’s near my office to grab lunch. Lately, there has been a street team on the sidewalk soliciting donations for a women’s shelter. You can not help but walk by this 2-person team, and to be honest, I cringe a little when I catch sight of them. They pitch to all the passers-by. It is a quick pitch (5 seconds), in which they give information about who they are and what they want. Rudimentary. Simple.
What a perfect way to gain visibility for their organization – or is it?
As I rush by this street-team and quickly mumble, “No thank you,” I realized that they are doing what marketers do on a simple campaign.
3 ways this street team got it right:
1) Face-to-Face – they have a real-person presence. By letting the public see who they are – regular women – they have added a personal touch.
2) High-traffic – they are in a high-traffic area: on the sidewalk in a pedestrian-busy part of town lined with high-end retail and office buildings.
3) Marketing materials – the women are wearing t-shirts with the organization logo, are passing out flyers, and even have a sign bearing the organization name. The organization is highly visible.
Unfortunately, I see the downside to this type of marketing, and why these kinds of tactics (versus a strategy) could backfire.
1) Face to face can be intrusive – Marketing to the masses may get the word out about your product or service, but you’re essentially dumping information on a group most likely not interested in you. “Forcing” yourself on everyone and anyone hoping to fetch a lead will gain you nothing. Face to face is meant to initiate a relationship, which should foster trust, and eventually a sale and/or raving customer.
2) High traffic can mean public nuisance – Human nature being what it is, people will feel cornered if you “invade” their space (even in a public area). They will take great pains to walk on the other side of the street or rush by. People are already bombarded from all sides with every type of marketing method: billboards, commercials, mass mailers, etc. Instead, find out who where your specific, ideal target market hangs out, and solve the problem that they have. They will flock to YOU instead.
3) Marketing materials are just static pieces – Having online and print marketing materials is important. But don’t hang your entire business on “materials”. People want meat – not just the pretty, glossy, snazzy designs and headlines. Your materials should seamlessly integrate with your branding, your message, and with who you are. People are interested in the woman (or man) behind the product or service – why should they believe you, trust you, want you – not the brochure you stuck in their hand or mailed them.
What do you think? Is there such thing as “intrusive” marketing?
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