Even if you’ve never read a written definition of the street team marketing strategy, you’ve probably experienced one. If you’ve ever been handed an index card on the street with a download code for an indie band’s demo or seen posters for a bluegrass band plastered on telephone poles across town you’ve witnessed the impact a good street team can have. Even though they’re most recognizable within the music industry, emerging CPG companies have a lot to learn from this kind of marketing. Even if you already run a street team, you might not know they have their roots in the music industry. if you want to take your team up a notch, look to these music industry examples.
What Is a Street Team?
Street teams do the dirty work of grassroots campaigning. They use guerrilla marketing-esque techniques to get the word out about an idea, group, or brand. Street teams don’t have one look- some are restricted to poster hanging, but others are more involved on social media or focus on handing out free samples of a product or getting fans excited for a new release. Street teams allow the most passionate fans of a brand to share their excitement in a way that is reflected in a positive way through the sales report.
Why are Street Teams so Successful in the Music Industry?
Musical groups need promotional support at every point along their journey towards the spotlight. Because individual band members can only do so much, they often need an extra push from outside their immediate circle of friends to promote new releases, concerts, and events both within their smaller communities and on a broader scale. Music connects people with similar tastes and resonates with listeners, and street teams capture this positive energy when they introduce a band’s music to its next generation of superfans in a genuine way. They hand out flyers to tickets to an upcoming show, call radio stations to request songs, and post up a storm on Twitter to build hype for a new release.
Found my copy of Kiss Alive II with inserts- tattoos and Kiss Army recruitment materials intact❗❕ pic.twitter.com/9ZQVv3VMOm— Matthew Kronsberg (@matt_kronsberg) April 10, 2016
Street teams in the music industry are not a new phenomenon. In 1973, two teenagers repeatedly called their local radio station to request songs by KISS, their favorite rock group, and subsequently founded the KISS Army. This street-team-turned-fan-club is still around today, and over the years they have helped KISS to sell out stadiums, distribute music, and reach more fans than they ever could have on their own.
Although incredibly successful in this realm, the idea of a street team doesn’t need to be restricted to the music industry. Street teams found their first niche in rock music, but plenty of growing brands can benefit from people on the ground spreading a feel-good story about a brand that benefited them personally. This influence doesn’t have to be complicated; even some stickers scattered around town with a good story behind them can be a step in the right direction.
A post shared by FAQ Street Crew (@faqteam) on
To Pay or Not to Pay; That Is the Question
Typical street team squads, by nature, are often unpaid in a traditional sense. Instead of putting them on the official payroll, brands support their street team with free merchandise, handouts, or discounts for the future. Companies that use this street team strategy rely on the idea that street team members will help out in hopes of seeing the brand succeed in the long run.
Although many street teams are comprised of unpaid do-gooders, plenty of music industry gurus have hopped on the influencer train and used recognizable people as figureheads for specific campaigns. This influencer trend translates smoothly into many CPG industries, and has been used hundreds of times without losing its charm. Some notable examples can be found in the comically fitting partnership between the street entertainer, The Naked Cowboy, based out of NYC and the popular American toilet paper brand, Charmin,
or the seemingly contradictory pairing that was formed when Tom Brady declared his support for UNREAL candy in the midst of publicity surrounding his stringent “TB12” diet.
If paid influencer campaigns are too old hat or not enough for your brand, your street team can jump to the next level by professionalizing the role of each member within the brand. Because brands that run paid, professionalized street teams have more time to spend on this type of marketing with a direct focus, there are more opportunities to publicize and distribute new product to increase brand awareness. At this level, build your brand even further by implementing a software program that can monitor the activities of each team member and provide a place for them to log their individual product distributions at each location.
On and Offline Street Team Strats
Street team marketing looks different for every CPG company, and many successful music industry street team strategies can be instantly converted to fit other brands in sectors like food, beverage, and cosmetics. Even after they’ve found their niche, good street teams don’t restrict themselves to one type of campaign.
In the music industry, Daft Punk’s street team initiatives immediately come to mind in terms of doing things the “old-fashioned way” although the android-duo’s most recent album, Recent Access Memories, was promoted in both an online and offline manner, it was the traditional street team campaigns that made waves. This campaign involved everything from street team members in Singapore dressed as robots handing out flyers to promote the album’s release to promoting and running pop up shops in the United States featuring exclusive merchandise and Daft Punk photo-ops.
The line for the #daftpunkpopup store was already 3 hours long when it opened at noon today. Didn't end up getting inside so we decided to take some photos of the die-hards waiting in line. #daftpunk #california #waiting #lazysunday #popup #aintnobodygottimeforthat
A post shared by Nothing But Hope And Passion (@nbhap) on
Although it has been around forever, this type of old-fashioned grassroots marketing strategy continues continues to be successful, even outside the music industry. Handouts attract an audience, especially if the street team members are organized and are sharing the company’s story in an attractive manner. In the summer of 2017, Drink Maple partnered with Hubway Bikes to take to Boston streets and use handouts, signs, word-of-mouth, and general excitement to spread the word about the benefits of biking and living a sustainable lifestyle (with Drink Maple) in honor of #NationalBikeToWorkMonth.
As general marketing strategies have spread to include internet-based elements, street teams have brought their campaigns online as well. This forum allows street teams to thrive more than ever before. When growing your brand’s street team, don’t be afraid to pull out all of the stops with social media. While music-oriented street teams take to the comment sections of videos and the Bandcamp pages for their artists, CPG companies devote most of their online attention to Twitter mentions and Instagram comments.
These forums are extremely effective. In traditional street team marketing, handing out merchandise or free samples on the street or in specific retailers is slow-going, but productive. However, this strategy only impacts the people that happen to enter your specific store at the exact time of the giveaway. Social media makes this vein of marketing infinitely easier with the trend of online giveaways. As you prepare for your next giveaway, have members of your street team post about an upcoming contest or raffle on social beforehand. This post will be shared countless times as fans of your products get hyped up for their potential win. These shares on social media are invaluable and outrank the “just by happenstance” encounters involved with most in-person handouts.
MAC Cosmetics Collection 👩 👰 💄 💋 👄 . Do you like it? Share with us your opinion 😎 . We have COSMETICS as a GIVEAWAY 💯 Click the link and follow carefully for instruction. GOOD LUCK ✌️ . Stay with us @MacCosmetics_Club . . 💝 Our Hashtags 💝 #maccosmetic #maccosmetics #maccosmeticos #maccosmeticsuk #maccosmetcsph #cosmetic #cosmetics #lipstik #lipstick #lipstic #lipstickjunkie #makeup #makeupartist #makeuprevolution #makeuplife #makeuptip #makeupfun #makeupkit #freecosmetics #cosmeticgiveaway #cosmeticsgiveaway #giveawaylipstick #freelipstick #freemakeup
A post shared by 🎁 Mac Cosmetics World 🎁 (@maccosmetics_world) on
Most people understand that street teams work to build a fanbase for music artists, but many of the intricacies of this marketing approach are not commonly applied outside the music industry. Even so, your street team can adopt both online and offline street teams to introduce your products to new customers that might not have been exposed otherwise. Implementing a software program functioning to keep your street team connected can increase their productivity and help monitor activity across your entire area of influence to make your team the best it can be.
Maximizing the street team opportunity is invaluable because the ability to have passionate supporters standing behind your brand and introducing the best aspects of your products to potential future super fans should not be passed up.
Sara is a Content Marketing Journalist at Repsly and is excited to help brands grow. Sara is studying Public Relations and Environmental Analysis and Policy at Boston University, which basically just means she could talk about climate change and plant-based recipes all day long. She is passionate about lions, the clarinet, and her Mickey Mouse slow cooker.