… or how I learnt on the hard how to manage a dozen of (lovely) people to perform a street marketing campaign for a whole weekend.
A month ago, at the office, we decided to organise a guerilla marketing campaign for the launch of our website, Sharehoods.com, Beta version. We had an even better reason to spend money and time on this: the Olympic Games were starting in London; the world was about to move to the capital. I wish I knew in how much trouble I was getting into… !
Here is what I learnt, wish I knew, but hopefully I will remember next time I do anything like a marketing campaign.
1. It is exhausting. It is damn exhausting. Prepare to spend your time outside, be in constant motion, in the cold or the rain and to answer all queries. Be prepared to be constantly required, called, texted, asked, etc. Prepare for all weather, prepare batteries for phones, prepare for small and bigger illnesses and injuries.
2. You can get away to anything with a smile (and a joke). Any close-to-illegality-marketing practices can be done without a fine if you keep cheering up and giving time to listen to the police officer. During the weekend, a policeman touring Trafalgar Square, where we were giving out leaflets and maps, came 4 times to tell us we were not allowed. Every time, we smiled at him when he came our way. We would let him say what he had to say. We responded: “thank you for this. We know and you already told us. We just were doing a small debrief. We won’t annoy you anymore… until two hours when you will be too exhausted to tell us to stop”. We did say this. Humour works well with Police. Joking with the police (here in the UK at least) is a sign you are acknowledging they are humans and bright. Eventually, it is fun. I can be wrong, but I am pretty sure that if we have not been fined for the 3 days, it has something to do with the teams being always cheerful, polite and really engaging funnily with the police.
3. Plan and organise the day to the minute. I was suppose to manage all teams. I badly communicated to the team the exact stuff they needed to do on the day beforehand. I thought all that was in my head was so obvious that I did not need to translate it in tangible objectives. It resulted in lots of questions, confusion and a team almost dropped out… until I realise that I needed to give clear instructions. It is not my cup of tea to tell people what to do but I learnt it is a lack of empathy if you don’t listen to the people that are volunteering for you and some bits of laziness/arrogance/ autism to just believe people will/ought to/can read your mind.
4. Take pictures, loads. What is happening on the day is important. But after the day, it is gone forever. Essentially, and in some weird ways, a real good guerilla marketing campaign is ne that generates LOADS of after-event material. Either video or photo, make sure you capture the moment. Especially if the buzz was limited, you can recreate it fromyour desk with a good management of your social media.
5. It is rewarding. After 3 days hanging together in the streets, you feel more part of London (of its streets at least) and capable of talking to random strangers. You realise how much what you do have an impact on people and that you can find a bunch of very different people agreeing on the same thing. Like a politician, you get thrown a lot of opinions and different way of thinkings that are just changing your perspectives.
If I would consider doing it again…? Let me rest a bit first, and I will do, …maybe!