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"Mobile" Marketing

On any given day at the chain of lakes in Minneapolis, even in the winter, you can find people encircling the lakes on foot, bikes and blades. The sightseeing is spectacular. 

Usually those on the inner circle closer to the lake are on view, however on one gorgeous day in the middle of the week, during rush hour, those on the paths were turning their heads to look at the street. Six scooters with triangular signs on top of pulled trailers were weaving with abandon along the parkway each with its own brightly shirted and smiling driver. The drivers had shirts that said "Me" and the signs they pulled said "You" in big letters, along with messages for  ... for Medica.

Was this guerrilla marketing (unconventional marketing where minimal efforts are employed to reach conventional marketing goals)? It seemed like a pretty pricey adventure, and I'm guessing they had to get city permits too, so it's tough to judge. What I do know is that the scooters caught a lot of attention and I remembered them when I saw the larger Medica campaign on billboards and on TV, where I might have phased out or ignored the messages.

Why did the scooters leave such an impression?

Not because they were "in your face" marketing, but because they were unexpected and they made people - they made me - smile. That's not something I usually do when looking at insurance ads.

"Mobile" marketing and messaging are not new; think bumper stickers or vanity licenses. However, in these serious times, humor and joy are the differentiators. Take a look at these two stickers and see what emotions they conjur up. Which one would you rather tell friends about? I think the convertible in Minnesota with H8WINTR might win.

Guerrilla marketing, employed for the element of surprise, adds to the impact. Importantly, guerrilla marketing takes into account the psychology of how people will interact with marketing messages. Check out GuerrillaComm Blog for some great examples.

What about physical and verbal interaction? Again, on the streets on Minneapolis, I found these examples: a Target bike cab and an Xcel Energy "Eco-trailer." As you can see by the photo, Target offers baseball fans rides to the game at, yes, Target Field. Xcel Energy offers friendly conservation advice at local events. Physical presence offers opportunities for two-way communication with your brand! Thus, the people you put "in the field" matter a lot as impressions can be long-lasting. Hire for approachability, positive attitude and a love for people first.

So "mobile marketing" and guerrilla marketing utilize fundamental marketing tactics - go to where people are (it helps to have wheels) and engage them with what you have to offer in a way that's enticing. These days that's with joy, relevance and authenticity.  

But what if you don't have a lot of resources like major corporations?

There's always bumper stickers or take your inspiration from the art cars and bikes ... be creative with what you have (see car with bright duct tape), let the fun out and take it to the streets.


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