The pitfalls of street teams

28 Jul

I had a Mastercard once. Never used the damn thing. There was a girl signing up passers-by at the mall. You should have seen her. Raven haired. Velvet dress that glimmered under the florescent lights. And her smile….

Street teams command attention. They wield the power to stop people in their tracks and get them to do what their marketing bosses want. They are invariably beautiful (or, obnoxiously in your face). And, they are expensive.

Street teams work like paper stuffed into a fireplace, an intense blaze that quickly burns out. Before you commit to one, consider:

Is a street team approach relevant to your brand? (As in, is your brand community-focused and friendly? Because if you are a faceless cell phone conglomerate, dressing up a street team in cell phone suits doesn’t make them on-brand).

Might this interaction be better accomplished online?

If you need street teams to make people do what you want them to, are you are asking for too much or being too complicated?

Is there something in it for the passer-by? (something relevant to the product/service, not a conversation with a pretty girl)

Are you looking for a quick hit or sustained awareness? Street teams work best in the short-term, or as a launch to a longer multi-media campaign.

Are you taking full advantage of the face-to-face interaction, or is this a callous attempt to force-fed your coupons/samples into the market (do you really need a living person to do that?)

How are you going to measure their effectiveness? (“5,000 coupons were distributed” is likely not a great indicator, if you’ve ever seen the inside of a garbage can down the block from a street team).

Street teams are advertising based on interruption. Such an old model that is evolving every day. Now, excuse me while I dodge a dozen Greenpeacers with clipboards on my way to grab lunch.

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