Disruptive marketing and street teams

The presidents of Mount Rushmore walking the streets of New York City.
Deadwood cowboys deputizing thousands at a historic SDSU/USD football game.
The third and final appearance of the Mount Rushmore’s American Pride float in the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade.

It is indeed a busy, high visibility week for South Dakota’s tourism industry.

Some call it guerilla marketing or street team efforts. At Lawrence & Schiller, we prefer “disruptive marketing.” Regardless of the label, the intent is the same – capture the attention of your audience by delivering your message in an unexpected time, place or manner.

For some, disruptive marketing is a scary idea. “People are so busy today. Won’t it feel like we’re interrupting them?” “How can it reach enough people to have an impact?” “My team is busy enough the way it is… won’t this simply be a disruption for them?”

In a word, yes. And that’s a good thing. I think each valid concern is actually a valid reason to add disruption to your marketing mix.

#1 – Disruptive marketing interrupts consumers’ day-to-day routines.
Isn’t this exactly what we’re trying to do as marketers? Get noticed? Disruptive marketing literally puts your brand in front of your target audience. A few may avoid eye contact and move to the other side of the street, but if your campaign strategy accurately aligns with your audience’s sentiments, most will smile and engage.

We become blind and deaf to the things we encounter every day. Put something unexpected in the path of your audience and they will take notice in a positive way.

#2 – Disruptive marketing generates quality impressions with an extended social reach.
The number of people who initially see your disruptive campaign is, obviously, directly proportional to where you go and what you do.  A street team in Times Square will drive exponentially more impressions than one in Tea, SD. But that’s not the point.  Your goal, in most cases, should be quality over quantity.

When you bring the right disruption to the right audience, the quality of interaction spikes. And it doesn’t stop with the people with whom you directly engage. It continues through social media and traditional PR to reach an expanding circle of similar-minded people.

Join us on a disruptive campaign and watch cell phone after cell phone come out, snapping pictures and posting online. Then you’ll see firsthand how disruptive marketing can spread your message.

#3 – Disruptive marketing provides a needed change of pace for your team.
At L&S, we prefer to execute disruptive campaigns side-by-side with our clients, especially if it is a street team effort. There are many reasons why but high on the list is the fact it’s a fun way to get out and visit one-on-one with the target audience.  It is priceless interaction – hearing how aware people are (or aren’t) of your brand, what they think of it and how they respond to your “sales pitch.”  It’s also an energizing, team-building experience.

I’m not suggesting disruptive marketing should dominate your marketing budget. But it should have a portion of it. I’ve always been a fan of the classic innovation theory:

  • Spend 70% of your resources on what has always delivered results for you.
  • Allocate 20% to improving what already works well.
  • Dedicate 10% to trying new ideas.

If you’ve never tried disruptive marketing, I encourage you to set aside even a small slice of your ad spend in 2013 and give it a shot. It’s a small investment that can bring a large return.

 

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