- Guerrilla Marketing
Street Team vs. Guerilla Marketing: What’s the Difference?
To the uninitiated, terms like “guerrilla marketing” and “street team” might sound like marketing jargon. But these are actually time-tested, proven effective methods of reaching your audience, connecting with consumers, and converting bystanders to loyal customers. Deciding whether they’re good approaches for your brand begins with understanding their differences and similarities as well as how to measure their effectiveness.
What Is Guerrilla Marketing?
Guerrilla marketing works by creating memorable, shareable experiences that generate buzz, increase brand awareness, and ultimately build consumer interest and engagement. Guerrilla marketers accomplish this via numerous activities, from flash mobs to street art to graffiti that cleverly repurposes competitors’ ads. Guerrilla marketers often use hashtags and social media challenges to expand a campaign’s impact far beyond the city in which it takes place.
There are as many types of guerrilla marketing — street team marketing is one — as there are agencies and brands looking for ways to deploy it.
What Is Street Team Marketing?
A street team is a group of recruited and trained representatives sent to a high-foot-traffic area to promote a product, brand, event, or cause. This is accomplished face-to-face, one consumer at a time, by passing out flyers, giving away free samples, conducting surveys, or handing out branded swag like T-shirts and stickers — or any combination of these.
Street team marketing is a cost-efficient, high-impact promotional tactic that’s been around for decades because it works. It’s also a form of guerrilla marketing, and brands often combine street teams with other guerrilla tactics as part of their overall attention-getting spectacle.
How Do Guerrilla and Street Team Marketing Differ?
Emphasis on Surprise
Guerrilla marketing relies on surprise to a greater degree than street teams; street teams are more about delighting or intriguing your audience and drawing them in with products, swag, or information. This is why the two work together so well — the friendliness and approachability of street team members balances the shocking or edgy aspects of the guerrilla tactics.
Promobile’s campaign for condom brand Trojan nailed that balance. The campaign combined a street team passing out free ice cream and condoms with guerrilla elements — a penis-forward theme and graphics, plus drag queens — to both grab audience members’ attention and draw them in. The campaign scored over a billion impressions and 41,000 engagements, plus massive media attention, making it a huge win for the brand.
Contact with Audience Members
Street team marketing is inherently personal, with your brand ambassadors meeting consumers face-to-face, often one-on-one. Even if the interaction is as brief as handing someone a flyer or a product sample, a street team is
“a way to bring mobile apps and other online offerings to life. … consumers get to interact directly with products and services, and their questions can be answered by the person standing right next to them.” – Writes Forbes
Other types of guerrilla marketing might include face-to-face interactions, but they don’t have to — sometimes the brand stages a performance rather than an interaction. Flash mobs and other spontaneous performances interact with everyone present, at the same time. Art installations and graffiti interact with audiences over time, as they move through the area. Rather than a street team having a conversation with your customer, guerrilla marketing is usually one-way communication.
Street teams can not only attract customers to your business but also collect data on how they respond to your brand, messaging, and products. They can do this simply by keeping track of flyers handed out and product samples served, or they use a street team to conduct surveys, taste tests, even spontaneous focus groups.
Here’s 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.
How Are Guerrilla and Street Team Marketing Similar?
They Both Live Outside the Box
Surprising audiences to get attention is nothing new; neither is using one-on-one interaction to connect with customers. But with street teams and guerrilla marketing, an original idea and novelty are critical. The campaign has to offer audiences something it hasn’t seen before, and it has to represent the spirit and personality of your brand. Inventiveness is key to both street teams and guerrilla marketing. If you’re not sure how to get there with your campaign, consider the creative forces behind Promobile Marketing for your next street team activation — creativity and inventiveness are their specialty.
Location, Location, Location
Both typically take place in public spaces, often outdoors. That’s not a requirement — some famous guerrilla marketing campaigns took place indoors — but it’s common for guerrilla and street team marketers to take advantage of the higher visibility and freedom of movement afforded by wide-open spaces like sidewalks, streets, beaches, parks, and plazas.
Low Cost, High Effectiveness
Compared to conventional print, TV, or digital advertising, street team and guerrilla campaigns can be low-cost — the scope, size, and nature of your campaign can be engineered to fit your budget.
They’re also very cost-effective — the intensity of the impression they make reliably converts bystanders to customers. According to research by MarketSplash, 86% of consumers believe guerrilla marketing campaigns are more memorable than traditional advertising. People can’t look away, and that’s good for your business.
Guerrilla tactics of all kinds also generate word-of-mouth and social media buzz, expanding the effectiveness of the event far beyond the physical space it occupies.
How Do You Measure Impact?
Start by defining your goals: What do you hope to see from the campaign? Increased sales, yes, but a jump in social media follows/likes/mentions, more email addresses in your mailing list, or more subscribers to your YouTube channel are equally worthwhile goals. Ultimately,
“The exact metrics you’ll track as part of your guerrilla campaign will depend on the nature of the campaign itself,” according to an Apteco article. “For example, if much of your campaign is online, then website traffic will be an important metric. Conversely, if you’re running an outdoor guerrilla marketing campaign near a physical store, then footfall is likely to be a more reliable metric.”
With street team campaigns, you’ll have many potential data points to collect: number of samples handed out, number of surveys collected, number of on-the-spot subscriptions, purchases made using a special code, etc. But with other kinds of guerrilla marketing, such as street art, it’s harder to know how many people saw the piece and how they reacted. Here are some ideas:
– Use a unique QR code or URL on printed pieces, swag, or the side of a vehicle, and monitor your website analytics before and after the campaign.
– Use a social media platform like Hootsuite, Buffer, or Sprout Social, to monitor the campaign’s likes, shares, comments, and mentions.
– Combine your guerrilla marketing campaign with a social media challenge or unique hashtag.
– Watch the media to track your brand’s mentions in the local, national, or even international press following a campaign.
How Do They Differ from Traditional or Digital Marketing?
In traditional marketing, you often rely on established channels like television, radio, and print media to disseminate your message to a wide audience. These platforms offer a certain level of predictability and control, but they can also be expensive and may not provide the engagement or targeted reach you’re looking for.
Digital marketing, largely confines your marketing efforts to the online space, where you take advantage of tools like social media, email campaigns, SEO, and pay-per-click advertising to reach local businesses or global audiences. While digital marketing allows you to analyze metrics and fine-tune your strategies in real-time, it often lacks the tactile, face-to-face engagement that can create a deep emotional connection with your audience.
In contrast, street teams and guerrilla marketing tactics plunge you into the grassroots level, using more direct and unconventional methods of engagement. Street teams create immediate, personal connections that can be highly impactful. Guerrilla marketing tactics are generally less expensive and more flexible but require a keen understanding of your target audience and a high level of creativity.
Both approaches aim to create a buzz and emotional connection that traditional methods may struggle to achieve, providing you with potentially viral moments that can greatly amplify your brand message.
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.