Thursday, February 21, 2013

3 Marketing Lessons to Take from Street Beggars

I made a strange realization about marketing recently.

Unfortunately, street beggars are in many places throughout the US and the entire world.  It's unfortunate that  our world has enough to abundantly feed everyone yet still leaves some people starving.

I live near Detroit, which has more than its fair share of street beggars.  I suspect that some of them legitimately need the help and don't know any other way to "earn" money, and several others are pure scam artists.

I don't have any way of knowing which of these street beggars are legit, but I noticed something really interesting--and important--about street beggars.

The best street beggars are really good marketers.

Realization #1: Location is Key

The best street beggars understand the importance of being at the right location.  You don't see very many street beggars sitting in the middle of the desert.

You find them where there are lots of people, either walking or waiting at busy traffic lights.  The best ones spend time hanging around places where people are likely to have money to spend (like near businesses or on the way to work).

The best marketers go where there tend to be a lot of people who have money, and those people might spend some of that money of those marketers' products (or services).

Realization #2: Emotions

Most street beggars get money in one of two ways.  People feel guilty, or they are fearful.  Either way, emotions play a big part, and most street beggars appear to be well aware of this.  (Thinks of signs: "Homeless Need Help - God Bless - Thank you!")

There are other ways, but no matter what, when people give to strangers, this is not a rational decision; it's an emotional one.

The best marketers use emotion to manipulate a buying decision (or some other action to take) from you.

Maybe they play on your need to reduce stress from not having enough time or not knowing how to do something.  They might make you believe that you will have a better life experience for it.

People buy on emotion and use rational thought to justify that buying decision.  (A lot like street beggars!)

Realization #3: Persistence

There are not too many street beggars who just try asking one person for money.  Most people ignore them or give them snide remarks.  Most street beggars understand that they need to keep asking, because the more they ask, the better chance they have of someone giving them money.

The best marketers know and understand this.

Most of us consumers are not looking for reasons to spend money (unless we're inside a store...we're foolish that way).  If we decide to live in the civilized part of the world, we need to find a way to make a living.  Given that we are not looking for reasons to SPEND money but everyone needs to MAKE money, this can be tricky for the marketer.

The best marketers know to keep marketing.  They don't ever stop marketing, because they never know what will work or when that same thing will work.

See Also: Marketing Tip: You Never Know What Will Work

Like street beggars, the best marketers realize that most things they try will not work.  They just keep trying, knowing that they will hit pay dirt, eventually.

So it's true that if you're a marketer, you really CAN learn things from street beggars.  You actually have more in common than you might have ever realized.

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1 comment:

  1. I will have to say that it gets very frustrating. I've tried tons of marketing ideas (some of which seem to be working great for other people), and have had no success with anything. I guess I'll keep trying.


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