Street marketing

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Street marketing is marketing or promoting products or services in an unconventional way in public places.[1][2][3] The main function of street marketing is that the activities are done exclusively on the streets. Ambient Marketing uses other public places,[4] such as shopping centers.[5] Unlike typical public marketing campaigns that utilize billboards, street marketing involves the application of multiple techniques and practices in order to establish direct contact with the customers.[5][6] One of the goals of this interaction is to cause an emotional reaction in the clients.[5] The final goal of street marketing is to get people to remember brands in a different way than they are used to.[2]


Street marketing was mentioned by Jay Conrad Levinson in his book Guerrilla marketing in 1984. Street marketing has adapted from only being used on the streets to a development of innovation to promote businesses. A method used by many businesses to promote their products is to distribute fliers, which sends a messages to customers to allow them to look at what they are trying to sell to their consumers. However, in today's society there are many more techniques which catch the attention of customers such as billboards, TV ads, Ads on the back of public transport and so on. Street Marketing has not been theorized until Marcel Saucet's work, a professor of the University of San Diego in his book Street Marketing, in 2013, in the book Routledge Companion to Future of Marketing (2013)[7] and his articles in Journal of Marketing Communications and Décisions Marketing (2014). The first case study about street marketing was published at Harvard Business School in November 2014 (written by Lena Goldberg, Marcel Saucet and Christine Snively).[8] Street marketing is more and more a non-conventional media used by startups and big companies: the latest book on the subject won the award of best American book 2015 in the category Business: Marketing & Advertising.[9]

Vs. guerrilla marketing[edit]

Street marketing is a subset of guerrilla marketing. Guerrilla marketing is about the use of investing time, energy and imagination into a business campaign, Guerrilla marketing is very popular among large businesses as it uses tactics such as unconventional communications which allows the businesses to focus on low cost strategies and make a higher impact. The use of viral marketing and Engagement marketing help make this higher impact.[10] Guerrilla marketing uses services which already exist such as social networking sites to try to help businesses increase in brand awareness, this could be spread by the technique of Word of mouth or by the internet/social media.[11] By creating these viral messages it appeals to individuals who already have a use of high social networking skills. Guerrilla marketing selects their target market by targeting groups who already engage with different types of products. This will create a quicker and easier way of consumers seeing and responding to a product, and they will also be likely to share this experience with friends and family so it will spread faster.[11] Like guerrilla marketing, street marketing has the characteristic of being non-conventional. However, it is limited to the streets or public places. Other forms of guerrilla marketing use other media and processes, such as the Internet, to establish communication with the customers. Some other examples of guerrilla marketing are viral marketing and experiential marketing. The goal of street marketing is to create experiences that meet the expectations for advertising.[12] Street marketing uses different ways of trying to engage with their audiences. Some of the things they do to show this is by placing advertisements such as billboards and static ads in different locations where the public wouldn't expect to see them such as down manholes or behind large buildings. The good thing about placing these ads in random places is that when the public get around to seeing them they would be extremely intrigued and would take an extra moment to read what the ad is about.[12] Street marketing doesn't just use ads but also uses young and enthusiastic brand ambassadors who give out samples and coupons to customers who stop and take time to answer questions. Giving these customers a choice of interacting with the products of brands makes a stronger impact on deciding to buy a certain item than passive advertising. Street marketing is available to a variety of different businesses due to its low costs and also because it is limited by a marketer's ambition and creativity. However, Street marketing is only available to businesses which are willing to put effort.[12]

Street Marketing™ can be used as a general term encompassing six principal types of activities:[1]

  • Distribution of flyers or products. This activity is more traditional and the most common form of street marketing employed by brands.
  • Product animations. This form of operation consists of personalizing a high-traffic space using brand imagery. The idea is to create a micro-universe in order to promote a new product or service.
  • Human animations. The goal of such actions is to create a space in which the brand's message is communicated through human activity.
  • Road shows. This form of mobile presentation is based on the development of means of transport: Taxibike, Segway, etc.
  • Uncovered actions. These activities involve the customization of street elements.
  • Event actions. These activities take the form of spectacles, such as flash mobs or contests. The idea is to promote a product, service or brand value through organization of a public event.

Before implementing a street marketing plan companies should be developing data about themselves, their products, their competitors and also their customers. When looking at themselves, they must identify how they are seen in the marketplace, what the most appealing features of their new products are, and how they want to position them in the marketplace. It is important to know who their major competitors are, how their products compare, and where they advertise. They must also identify the customers they want to target and then discover out where they gather and what they want, allowing them to establish goals and opportunities associated with the campaign (Megan Phillips, 2015).


Street marketing estimates what is being produced before operations actually start to run. Street marketing is monitored all the way from the start to the end, this is due to the management knowing exactly how much distribution and operation cost is being sold. Street marketing requires a lot of specific things to make sure it is running smoothly also that campaigns are always optimizing and succeeding. Street marketing operations includes a number of external cost factors which include:

Typical procedure[edit]

First, enterprises identify the public places where the campaign can be developed such as beaches (in this case, we are talking about Ambient Marketing), cultural events, places close to schools,[5] sporting events and recreation centers for children.[13] Next, companies have to develop a plan to get close to different media and the target market.[5][14] In order to attract attention, street marketing events not only involve unusual activities,[2][3][5] but use technology as part of the events. The purpose is to increase the value of the campaigns and get potential consumers' attention.[15]

Besides, the plans that companies develop take into account that street marketing involves global communication and interaction not only with the customers or the media.[5] They are also developed to identify opportunities and collect enough information about products, markets and competitors.[16] For example, for business it is important that customers stay with them, instead of choosing the competitors' offers. They implement innovative strategies with which they will not lose position in the market,[17] and they consider supplementation with other advertisement through other mediums, such as radio and television, when using street marketing.[5]

There are various examples of strategies that are used in street marketing. One of them is to provide offers to increase sales. In many cases, businesses do not only supply their products or services to be recognized, but they also offer other things for free. Another instance is to present a fundraiser offer. The point of this strategy is to help other organizations, such as schools, by offering them money. Most companies implement this method not only to increase their sales, but to improve their reputation and image among the community. Finally, there is a strategy called "team selling" that consists of conforming groups of people, the majority of them young, who go knocking the doors of different houses in a neighborhood. They do this in order to help companies promoting and selling their products or services.[13]

When doing street marketing, organizations also consider focusing on the psychological approach. For many companies, this implies if they are having success or not. Street marketing focuses on some psychological aspects to know customers' behavior and preferences. For example, certain psychological areas study how people's brains are divided: 45% of people are left-brained, 45% are right brained, and 10% are balanced. Left-brained persons tend to be logical, right-brained ones tend to be emotional, and the rest combine the two. Then, according to the product or service that enterprises provide, and also the kind of customer, businesses decide the way they are going to manage their street marketing campaigns. Besides, almost all the enterprises base their street marketing campaigns on repeating the messages they spread among their customers. Repetition is related to the unconscious part of the mind. This is the one in charge of making decisions. It lets people know what they are going to choose, as well as what they are going to buy. Businesses follow the principle that establishes that, the more people paying attention to the campaign, the more possibilities that campaign has for being remembered.


There are various organizations who have implemented street marketing strategies.[18] The majority of them are small companies,[2] but there are also big companies that have involved in the street marketing environment.[19][20][21] Most of the examples of the strategies that both small and big enterprises have put into action include costumed persons, the distribution of tickets, people providing samples, among others.[19][20]

As stated before, one street marketing conventional method that is used by many businesses is to provide fliers. The goal is to create awareness on the customers about what the enterprise is doing.[22] One example of this took place in Montpelier, Vermont, where the New England Culinary Institute (NECI) sent a group of students to a movie theater to hand out 400 fliers. Those fliers had coupons in which NECI was inviting people to go to its monthly Theme Dinners. Another company, Boston's Kung-Fu Tai Chi Club, chose the option of disseminating fliers instead of placing its advertisements on the newspapers. The purpose of the fliers was to promote the company's self-defense classes for women.[23]

Other businesses apply the technique of sending disguised people to promote things on the streets. For example, organized a street marketing activity in the "Feria del Libro" ("Book Fair") in Madrid. It consisted of a man dressed like a prince who was walking among the crowd looking for his "real love". He had a glass slipper and even got to try the shoe on some people. A woman behind him was giving bookmarks to the people which contained messages such as "Times have changed; the way to find love, too" or "You have been reading love stories all your life; experience yours on". Also, in Madrid and Barcelona, Nokia developed a campaign called "Avestruz" ("Ostrich") to promote the 5500 and 5700 mobiles. In the campaign, a group of real-size ostrich puppets tried to interact with young people in order to let them know these mobiles provide a high-quality MP3 playback. The puppets were holding their own telephones and listening to the music. When a young person appeared, the puppet tried to catch his/her attention to show him/her the quality of the mobile. The reason why Nokia decided to use ostriches was that they are big animals, so people could easily look at them.[19]

There are enterprises that disseminate passes or tickets to different events. For example, Sony invests on joining promoters and tells them that they have to infiltrate in public meetings. What they have to do is to distribute free tickets to concerts and other musical events sponsored by the company.[20] Another instance is the Spanish company Clickair (an extension of Iberia airlines), that developed a campaign in which a group of five people had to walk through Barcelona streets dressed as Euros. The group was supplying approximately 3,000 tickets to promote different Clickair destinations. The people who first sent a SMS message with the required information would get free tickets to go on a trip. In the end, the company received a total of 3,390 messages.[19]

Along with these examples, there are other street marketing techniques that are even more unusual. Lee Jeans, a French company dedicated to the selling of jeans, promoted the opening of their new store in rue des Rosiers in Paris. The method they applied consisted of distributing denims, as well as denim accessories, on the different streets of the neighbourhood.[19] Furthermore, in Italy, the members of the company Nintendo put into action a campaign in which they used post-its to promote the Wii console. They pasted several post-its with the shapes of some characters from different video games. Those images were placed as if they were billboards on the streets. "Wii not forget", the name of the campaign, and a brief explanation of it, were the words written on the post-its.[21]

In some cases, some street marketing may incite the ire of local authorities, such was the case in Houston, Texas, Mini Coopers agency attached a replication, made from Styrofoam, of a Mini-Cooper to the side of a downtown building.[24] For the cost of a small city-issued fine, the company received front page advertising on the Houston Chronicle.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b Cova, Saucet, 2014, The secret lives of unconventional campaigns: Street marketing on the fringe, Journal of Marketing Communications, Volume 21, Issue 1, 2015, Special Issue: Ambient Marketing: Expanding the Concept of Marketing Communication for Transitional Times,
  2. ^ a b c d Levinson, Jay. Guerrilla Marketing. New York, New York: Houghton Mifflin Company. pp. 1–89. ISBN 0-395-90625-3. 
  3. ^ a b "What is Guerrilla Marketing". 2010. Retrieved October 17, 2010. 
  4. ^ Ambient Communication: How to Engage Consumers in Urban Touch-Points, Gambetti, Rossella C. 52/3 (Spring 2010): 34-51,
  5. ^ a b c d e f g h Olamendi, G. "Street Marketing" (PDF). Retrieved October 12, 2010. 
  6. ^ Gonzalez, R. (October 12, 2010). "Street marketing y field marketing. Estrategias en auge" [Street Marketing and field marketing] (in Spanish). Retrieved October 12, 2010. 
  7. ^ "The Routledge Companion to the Future of Marketing (Hardback) - Routledge". Retrieved 7 November 2016. 
  8. ^ Goldberg, Lena G.; Saucet, Marcel; Snively, Christine (6 November 2014). "Taryn Rose Launches Dresr: Street Marketing a Luxury Brand". Retrieved 7 November 2016 – via 
  9. ^ "USA Book News Announces Winners and Finalists of the 2015 USA Best Book Awards". November 2015. Archived from the original on November 15, 2015. 
  10. ^ Ay, Canan; Aytekin, Pinar; Nardali, Sinan. American Journal of Economics and Business Administration2.3(2010): 280-286. Retrieved from
  11. ^ a b Hutter, Katharina; Hoffmann, Stefan. Asian Journal of Marketing5.2 (2011): 39. Retrieved from
  12. ^ a b c Balasubramanian, S., Peterson, R.A. and Jarvenpaa, S.L. (2002), "Exploring the implications of m‐commerce for markets and marketing", Journal of the Academy of Marketing Science, Vol. 30 No. 4, pp. 348‐62. Retrieved from
  13. ^ a b Frey, D. (2002). "Street Marketing for Small Business". Retrieved October 12, 2010. 
  14. ^ Berry, T. (10 December 1999). "Segment the Target Market in Your Business Plan". Retrieved October 19, 2010. 
  15. ^ Franch, E. (January 2009). "La Creatividad de la publicidad exterior: teoría y práctica a partir de la visión de los creativos" [Creativity Theory]. Area Abierta (in Spanish). ABI/INFORM Global (22): 1–18. 
  16. ^ Villa, C. (March 2010). "Tiempo de Mercadeo" [Marketing Time] (in Spanish). Retrieved October 15, 2010. 
  17. ^ Tanda, J. D.; Marrero, M. "La identidad urbana vista como elemento estratégico del marketing de ciudades" [The urban identity as a strategic element of Marketing in Cities] (PDF) (in Spanish). Retrieved October 12, 2010. 
  18. ^ "Los mejores ejemplos de Street Marketing | El Blog de Germán Piñeiro". 2011-01-28. 
  19. ^ a b c d e Rodriguez, H. (2007). "Ejemplos de acciones de street marketing" [Examples of Street Marketing] (in Spanish). Retrieved October 12, 2010. 
  20. ^ a b c Pereira, J. (2007). "Sobre el Street Marketing" [About Street Marketing] (in Spanish). Retrieved October 12, 2010. 
  21. ^ a b Blocs, M. (19 April 2010). "MK de guerrilla con notas" [Guerrilla Marketing with post it] (in Spanish). Retrieved October 12, 2010. 
  22. ^ Pixel, P. (2 October 2009). "Volanteo, Efectivo Metodo de Publicidad Segmentada y Economica" [Flyers: effective marketing method] (in Spanish). Leon, Guanajuato. Retrieved October 29, 2010. 
  23. ^ Gibbons, V. B. (October 2010). Street marketing. ABI/INFORM Global. pp. 36–40. 
  24. ^ "Houston Issues Ticket To A MINI Cooper Parked On A Wall". 10 January 2013. Retrieved 7 November 2016. 

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