Understanding your target market is key in developing any successful marketing campaign. And one place to start is are you developing a rural or urban marketing initiative.

Rural marketing programs have typically been geared toward a blue collar and lower income demographic. They are developed to increase the personal relationship and invite the buyer into a physical location. Urban marketing programs have been geared toward white collar and higher income demographics and not necessarily to a specific brick & mortar location.

However, with all the online purchasing options available today the actual “sales” coming from rural and urban areas no matter the demographic are seeing a closing of the sales gap (40% Rural, 60% Urban).

Urban Marketing Great for Targeting Younger Consumers

Millennials’ Hold the Power in leading trends to shape their shopping experience

The rise in income of the millennial generation and their increasing preference to live in urban areas is driving many companies to develop a more finely tuned definition of urban marketing.

One area of urban marketing that has grown over the past 10 years or so is Street Marketing. Because we can easily avoid advertisements, companies are moving to more unconventional urban marketing techniques.

Street marketing by nature is designed to stand out, gain social media buzz and if designed properly to go viral. It typically involves utilizing unusual spaces or mediums and events to promote a particular product or service.

Questions for Developing a Urban Marketing Street Campaign:

  1. Does it fit your brand’s personality? You may be using shock & awe tactics so the company needs to be prepared to push their own comfort envelope
  2. Do you have incentives to offer? Not always necessary, but perks gain attention
  3. Is your social media currently interactive and is the team ready to push the program out?
  4. Do you have brand ambassadors that can hit the streets for the campaign if that’s the style you choose to launch? If not, are you hiring a company to run this for you that has the right people? Using social media sites and your own website to recruit people to join your team?

Street Campaigns Can Include:

  • Teams dressed in colorful and maybe outlandish costumes that reflect your brand

    Using Costumes Grabs Attention

  • Performers that act out a show in public places that relates to your product or service and maybe they hand out fliers to people (Flash mobs dance routines have been very popular among urban marketers)
  • Pop-up food truck event (also very popular – specially decorated food trucks for distributing new food product); Free Food is always an attention getter – but also hand out coupons for a discount when they buy it
  • Decorating cars, trucks, buses and trains in unusual ways – inside and out to make people pay closer attention to the message
  • Decorating street elements – manhole covers, plants (think bush shaped as a beer bottle with a logo attached), bus benches, light posts

I’ve encountered a wide variety of street marketing campaigns in my travels. Plus, being in Miami, Florida we have many that are launched here because of our young buying culture and weather.

Favorite and Memorable Urban Marketing Examples

Unfortunately I did not see all of these in person, but sure wish I had:

Great Space Usage for Big Impact!

Frontline Flea & Ticks: This is one of my favorites. In a large office building with an atrium Frontline covered the floor with a very large picture of a dog scratching himself. The headline:  Get them off your dog. If you viewed from the upper floors it looked as if the people walking on the floor were fleas on the dog! Memorable!

Escalator Steps: I’ve seen a number of companies use escalator steps to promote their wares. A local theme park used the steps to simulate people on a roller coaster – can you say “hands up.”

Elevator Doors: This has become very popular at many buildings I visit. Some are very clever one in particular is for a local gym and has an image of a “strong” muscular man “opening” the doors to the elevator.

Food Trucks: There are many different styles of food trucks (Miami loves food trucks) but one I really like is designed to look like a big toaster. It even has an English muffin popping out of the top for Thomas’ English Muffins. I would definitely head over to that one! They even have some of their delivery trucks designed to look like the muffin is popping out the top to continue the fresh theme.

Don’t Limit Your Creativity In Your Urban Marketing

Bowling Alley: Yes, this one has some obvious imagery. Think about the bowling pins as teeth with the area above designed to look like an open mouth – perfect for a dental practice!

Use Space Creatively to Stand Out!

Manhole Covers: Now, granted I don’t really look at manhole covers in Miami, but in New York city I certainly did. One very clever creative made the manhole cover look like a cup of coffee. The natural steam from the cover made it appear the coffee was popping hot! Could be used for a local diner or coffee brand!

Street Art: This is popular in Miami outdoor malls. The artist draws a dimensional scene that makes it appear the sidewalk has been transformed into something else. I’ve seen those that look like a waterfall has appeared out of nowhere and it was an advertisement for a resort location.

Shopping Bags: We all carry shopping bags and I’ve seen some amazing graphics that provoke interest and comment. For instance a bag where the bag is imprinted so it appears a person is jumping rope and when you grab the handles the jump rope is over their head! Or the style of bag that has the handle as a mouth or a dumbbell or steering wheel. Depending on your product or service it can be a great way for continued exposure.

As you can see, you are only limited by your creativity for making a big mark with Urban Marketing!

Danette Gossett

Danette brings more than 30 years of experience developing advertising campaigns, direct marketing programs and sales promotions to her clients. Prior to starting her companies, she worked for New York advertising agencies including Saatchi & Saatchi & Lowe Marschalk.

Her corporate marketing experience included National Advertising Director for Avis Rent a Car Systems, Inc., and Director of Marketing Services for Royal Caribbean Cruise Line. Read More