First impressions are hard to shake, especially when it comes to launching a product. How you introduce your client’s product to the world will stick with consumers long after that initial interaction. To secure enduring brand loyalty, you need to wow potential customers from the start.

Employing a street team is an inexpensive yet high-profile way to generate awareness and gain brand recognition for a new product. But not every product will see success with this approach.

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To determine whether a street team is a viable option for your client’s product launch, ask yourself the following questions:

1) Does it have a defining feature that needs to be demonstrated?

If your client’s product has a particular feature or function that needs demonstration to be appreciated, employing a street team could be a smart option. When consumers can experience the product’s unique features, they’ll be more likely to remember it. But make sure that the product itself isn’t too complicated for users to understand.

2) Is the product easy to describe, demonstrate, and distribute?

Simple products that you can demonstrate quickly, such as beverages and ready-to-eat foods, are well-suited for street team distribution. Most street teams assemble where quick engagement is key, such as sporting venues, where they’ll likely have a short time with the consumer. If your street team can’t explain the product’s value quickly, your launch will fall short.

3) Will experiencing the product prompt consumers to purchase it?

Your client’s product launch is about more than making a media splash or turning on the theatrics. It’s about introducing a product to potential customers and stirring excitement around it. Products that consumers buy and use often lend themselves well to this style of launch.

4) Which option will provide the biggest bang for my client’s buck?

Street teams are generally more inexpensive and flexible than other face-to-face marketing tactics like trade shows or mobile exhibits that require expensive equipment setup.

You won’t have to carve out a stiff budget like some tour programs require, and the cost per engagement is markedly cheaper. In some cases, teams can be built and activated in a matter of days, saving you significant time and resources on training.

My company recently did a sampling for Dr Pepper Snapple Group’s Sun Drop. We went where large groups were gathering in warm weather and distributed thousands of cold samples to a variety of demographics. We were able to mobilize our team quickly and get the product in the hands of thousands of consumers who were extremely appreciative of the cool beverage.

Position Your Street Team for Success 

If you decide a street team is the right approach for your client’s product launch, a few crucial actions will make it successful:

Recruit a stellar team.

Do you want your team to resemble everyone else’s? Pulling team members from the same talent pool that other agencies use means you’ll blend together. If you want your team to stand out, go the extra mile and build a network of trusted people who understand the way you want things done and have their own referral networks.

Define what success looks like.

Street teams are not cookie-cutter solutions. You need to understand the “A-ha!” moment the client is looking for, the market landscape, and every other aspect of the brand’s goals.

Does the client want an immediate spike in business? Does she want people to sign up for something? Is she simply counting the number of samples handed out? Whatever the measurement of success is, make that your benchmark.

Provide top-notch training.

Throwing a T-shirt and a bag of samples at your street team and letting them roam free isn’t enough. You get out what you put in, and the better trained your street team members are, the better equipped they’ll be to represent the brand.

Track ROI.

Regardless of their goals, brands need to be profitable. You’ll impress the brand if your activation meets its criteria, but generating a significant return on the client’s initial investment will give the brand a reason to work with you again.

Hiring a street team is a cost-effective way to showcase a client’s product and build awareness. By getting the brand’s product in front of thousands of potential customers quickly -- and avoiding crushing overhead costs -- you can deliver a tangible return and secure future business, too.

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Originally published Apr 9, 2015 7:00:00 AM, updated July 28 2017

Topics:

Product Marketing