9 Great Urban Marketing Tactics

urban marketing

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Understanding your potential customers is a primary element to developing a successful marketing strategy. You need a clear definition of who your primary target consumer will be. So it’s recommended to write a full description of this person. Young or old (specific age), male or female or LGBTQ, what social media platforms are they frequenting, what are their buying habits, what are their hobbies, and so on.

Because for you to have an effective message for your audience you must know who they are!

In the past, you wanted to know where your potential customer lived. Today, the actual location of your target is not as important. As a matter of fact, with the many online purchasing options available the actual “sales” coming from rural areas versus urban areas is seeing a closing of the sales gap (40% Rural, 60% Urban).

Urban Marketing Great for Targeting Younger Consumers

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

For years the Baby Boomer generation was the nation’s largest living adult population and considered the biggest spenders. However, it is projected that in 2019 the Millennial generation will overtake the Boomers in population. Yes, the oldest Millennials will be reaching 40 in 2021!

With the rise in age comes a rise in income of the millennial generation. And their increasing preference to live in urban areas is driving many companies to broaden their marketing plan to include more urban style guerilla marketing.

Because the younger Millennial, X and Z generations are tech savvy and are adept at avoiding marketing tactics. So, marketers should include some shock and awe tactics to grab their attention. These generations react well to original thinking and creativity that are more localized than your traditional marketing.


One such marketing strategy that has seen growth over the past 10 years is Street Marketing.

So, Street Marketing by nature is designed to stand out. It is a great creator of word-of-mouth marketing. And enhances most digital marketing efforts by gaining social media buzz and if designed properly to go viral. It typically involves utilizing unusual spaces or mediums and events to promote a specific product or service.

Questions for Developing an 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 digital marketing and social media currently interactive?
  4. Is your team ready to with push notifications?
  5. 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

    urban marketing
    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 many campaigns 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 I wish I had:

urban marketing example
Great Space Usage for Big Impact!

Frontline Flea & Ticks: This is one of my favorites. In a large office building atrium, Frontline covered the floor with a 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 and Stairs: I’ve seen many companies use escalator steps or stairs 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

urban marketing
Ikea promotes their organizational skills by transforming the staircase into a chest of drawers

with an image of a “strong” muscular man “opening” the doors to the elevator.

Food Trucks: There are many different styles of food trucks. One creative example was a truck designed to resemble a big toaster. It had an English Muffin popping out of the top to promote Thomas’ English Muffins. I would definitely head over to that one! Their delivery trucks are also 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!

urban marketing
Use Space Creatively to Stand Out!

Manhole Covers: Now, granted I don’t look at manhole covers in Miami, but in New York city I certainly did. One 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.

Take Advantage of Trends in Your Community

Graffiti Marketing: In many urban areas, graffiti art was once considered illegal but now is a true art form. We have a number of areas in Miami that are well known for their graffiti art. With its acceptance has come another form of guerrilla marketing where companies utilize these graffiti artists to create works of art promoting their product or service.

Shopping Bags: We all carry shopping bags. And I’ve seen some amazing graphics that provoke interest and comment. For instance, a bag is imprinted to appear as if a person is jumping rope. Then 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 strategies!


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