Urban Marketing Conference Aims For Cutting Edge
“It’s not just Nike that wants to get to the urban customer,” says SRI strategist Rupa Ranganathan. “And it’s not just street teams that are being used as the effective method of urban marketing. There’s a large group of marketers that have come to equate urban marketing with ethnic marketing. And a large number of companies that have come to equate urban marketing with guerilla marketing or buzz marketing.”
Those buzz marketing tactics have included simple posters, handouts or local event sponsorships. But now the tactics are focused around finding key influencers within a neighborhood. The key to urban marketing may not be a billboard or street teams handing out product samples. According to Ranganathan, the key may be in knowing that the beauty salon is where people get product information and that the most respected purveyor of that information is the beauty salon owner. The conference will emphasize ways to find those “influencers” and then influence them.
Presenters at the conference include companies not traditionally associated with urban marketing. Colgate-Palmolive, Verizon, John Hancock, Major League Baseball and the National Kidney Foundation are scheduled to speak.
“You might not think of C-P as an innovator but they are a pioneer in urban marketing,” says Ranganathan. “It comes down to how you connect to the right group of people. That’s what this is all about. You can do it at any level and with any audience. You can do it on Wall Street. But you need to know how to connect to the right people.”
Ranganathan says this year’s conference will be the biggest on the topic her company has seen. In fact, the urban marketing topic grew out of one agenda item at a conference last fall. Now, it has it a whole day.