- Guerrilla Marketing
Old-School Street Teams: Still a Marketing Win
What Is Street Team Marketing?
Street team marketing, a form of guerrilla marketing, is a cost-efficient, high-impact promotional tactic that involves recruiting a group of “street team members” or “brand ambassadors” to promote a product, brand, event, or cause directly to consumers. Street team representatives spread out across areas with high foot traffic to give products, flyers, or swag directly to your potential customers.
The street team concept was born in the 1980s and 1990s, when bands — like the band KISS — and independent record labels that couldn’t afford conventional advertising enlisted fans and friends to hand out flyers, stickers, and sometimes tapes or CDs outside record stores and music venues. Today, street teams spread out across college campuses, fairs, concerts, festivals, sporting events, shopping centers and other venues across the country with high foot traffic with the goal of building new audiences for the brand.
What Do Street Teams Do?
You’ve almost certainly encountered street teams before — they’re the men and women handing out samples or information in public spaces or at events. Street teams use the power of friendly, engaging face-to-face interaction to get people interested in your brand — and they get there through a wide range of activities.
A street team activation typically involves handing out flyers, branded merchandise, t-shirts and free product samples. Often, they’ll accompany a food truck, bus, or other high-visibility vehicle to engage audiences and draw them in. They may also give live product demos, pose for photos, conduct surveys, and answer audience members’ questions. Performers, such as dancers or musicians, are sometimes part of a street team, and interactive kiosks might also be incorporated.
Whatever their specific activities, street team marketing campaigns not only invite consumers to sample products, they also inspire word-of-mouth and social media sharing, and build brand awareness among a target audience.
How Does Street Team Marketing Relate to Guerrilla Marketing?
Street team marketing is a form of guerilla marketing. The key difference is that street teams create direct, human-to-human interactions between brand representatives and your future customers. Other forms of guerrilla marketing, such as flash mobs or street art, rely on the element of surprise to capture consumers’ attention, and often there is little to no direct interaction between the team and the audience. A street team creates opportunities for consumers to connect with your brand in a way that’s more personal, memorable, and informative than many other forms of guerrilla marketing.
Why Add A Street Team Marketing Campaign to Your Marketing Plan?
A Street team offers several advantages for your business, whether used alone or in concert with other guerrilla marketing techniques, as these case studies demonstrate.
Minus Coffee approached Promobile Marketing for help launching their bean-free, environmentally conscious coffee. Promobile Marketing created a food truck campaign and organized a street team to bring free samples to the public in a fun, engaging way. The truck secured a spot in a high-visibility, high-traffic area to bring awareness to their no-bean coffee. Free samples, marketing materials and face-to-face experiences heightened brand awareness and helped the brand connect with its audience.
More than 6,800 samples and 700+ consumer surveys later, Minus Coffee scored more than 400 direct online sales and learned a lot about their target audience — information it can use to develop future marketing campaigns.
Short Feedback Loop
Street team staff can drive sales and increase a brand’s recognition, but there’s another, perhaps greater benefit: the instant feedback of having a face-to-face, real-time presence as your potential new fan base encounter your product for the first time.
One example: Meati, a plant-based meat, worked with Promobile Marketing to conduct blind taste tests, gathering hundreds of consumer opinions about the product at significantly lower cost than traditional focus groups. Data gathered from this “mobile focus group” approach influenced Meati’s product development decisions and built trust between the brand and consumers.
Street teams can be used to target highly specific audiences by meeting consumers where they are. In one example, personal care brand Dove marketed its deodorant to Gen Z women with a campaign that promoted a message of confidence — #bigpitenergy. To make it happen, Promobile Marketing secured space at major music venues on three coasts — East, West, and Gulf — for product and swag giveaways. By creating a presence at music festivals, the campaign was able to put 160,000+ samples in the hands (and pits!) of exactly the audience Dove wanted to reach.
Some brands’ products sell themselves — and others need help clearing up misconceptions and getting consumers to give them a try. For products that are difficult to understand, the firsthand experiences street teams create can dispel consumer doubts and win over fans.
Here’s one example: Promobile Marketing worked with Miyoko’s Creamery to bring plant-based dairy products like milk, cheese, and butter to large numbers of potential customers. Food trucks handed out samples of menu items like made with Miyoko’s products at high-volume, food-oriented events such as food and wine festivals. Nearly 50,000 samples were served to people in California, Arizona, and Texas at 34 retail locations and 20 events, educating tens of thousands of potential customers about the products and brand.
Another example: Established in 1843, The Economist magazine has a solid reputation as an independent global media outlet. But times change, and the magazine wanted to attract a new generation of readers. The Economist hired Promobile Marketing to create a fun, unexpected experience that would change young consumers’ minds about the brand and increase subscriptions.
In partnership with several food brands, Promobile organized a food truck and hired a street team to target people in high-traffic locations with free food and information about the magazine’s Feeding the Future and Grounds for Change campaigns. The goal: to educate the public on food waste and highlight the alternative protein market while raising The Economist’s profile among young consumers.
Their efforts paid off: the magazine scored over 130,000 new subscribers in 14 countries and generated $1.7 million in revenue — a 171% ROI.
How Much Does It Cost To Hire A Street Team?
The cost to hire a street team can vary widely depending on various factors such as location — street corner or major event, — the size of the team, the complexity of the tasks involved, and the duration of the campaign.
An experiential marketing agency like Promobile Marketing can provide you with an all-inclusive cost for your street team activation to bring your idea to life, that include labor costs, promotional materials — like uniforms, flyers, or samples, — vehicles, as well as any permits required to operate in public spaces.
Promobile Marketing is a dynamic experiential marketing agency based in New York City. For over a decade, Promobile Marketing has collaborated with a range of brands—from budding startups to major CPG brands—on immersive marketing campaigns. Get in touch to discuss your next project.