Tech Tip:FAQ: Street Marketing



What is street marketing?
Street marketing is identifying your targeted demographic and going straight to them and generally refers to the less mainstream means of promotion. The value is that you are getting promotional items directly into the hands of potential consumers. There is no intermediary as in the case of a magazine or a retail store. Stickers, postcards, snipe posters, CD or cassette samples and the like are integral parts of street marketing. It is also referred to as underground, guerilla, hand to hand and many more.


What are the advantages of street marketing?
Street marketing can be a crucial component of a marketing plan in a project where commercial radio play, or major media exposure is unlikely. As retail promotion space becomes harder, or more expensive to get, turning on the consumer is often the most effective way to alert potential customers that an album has been released.


Additionally, for any artist, street marketing can be an effective way of starting an early buzz on a forthcoming album.


How does a street marketing company work?
Depending on the company, and the services you require, a street marketing company will offer a variety of services. These will include handing out promotional items to audiences at gigs that have a similar audience to your band, placing fliers and other items at clubs, record stores or locations that fit your band's demographic. They will also check that local stores are carrying your record, putting up posters in stores that allow it etc.


A good street marketing company will do as you request, but also propose new ideas for you to consider.


You should receive a weekly report on the activity in each market.


Are there companies to help with street marketing?
There are many independent marketing companies that would be more than happy to help you market your band. They range from large national companies with representatives in every city to small one-person operations that focus on particular cities and, often, particular genres of music. These companies will usually charge by the week, with a minimum length of employment. You must also budget for the extra cost of producing the promotional items.


What is a "snipe"?
Snipes or Snipe Posters are posters that are placed in public view. There are legal and illegal snipes. There are companies in each city that "snipe" the construction sites that are legal. Each site is usually handled by a specific sniping company. Sniping can be expensive, and it is best used selectively in cities where an artist is already exposure, on radio for example.


Is it legal to put up posters around town?
It is illegal to snipe any public property (telephone poles, light boxes, street signs, buildings, etc.). If the city/town you "snipe" takes exception your posters you could get fined and some cities have been known to fine upwards of $75 for each poster they find and take down. Of course, they have to prove that you put up the posters, which is difficult provided you are not caught in the act.


Do I have to hire an independent company?
Absolutely not, some record companies have their own in-house street marketing department. Also, labels are quickly coming to the realization that the best street marketing is done by the band and the band's fans. Best of all, most fans will do it simply because they love the band and want the world to know how great they are. The development of a national team of fans is a direct offshoot of an active fan club, and it will soon be obvious who are your most ardent supporters by tracking e-mail correspondence, chat rooms etc. In return for tickets, CDs or promotional items, many fans are very willing to help with street marketing in their local area.