Hobo Marketing: Six things panhandlers get very right.

19 Mar

“Hey Lady, can you spare a dollar? I need to feed my kids.”

In my town, panhandlers have become fixtures. I’m not a huge fan of their blight to small business who spend precious time shooing them away. Regardless, whether you deem them a nuisance or not, it seems they’ve landed on some marketing genius through real life marketing research.

Old fashioned marketing “best practices” still work and this schismatic group has proved these six low-tech marketing principles work:

  1. Location, location, location.Successful panhandlers choose the busiest and most visible intersections.
    Rogue marketing message
  2. Look for opportunity. Panhandlers who target bank exits benefit from loose cash in either direction.  They choose intersections based on traffic flow and switch corners to gain the most exposure. How can we position ourselves to capture our clients at the moment they need us most?
  3. Face time. Panhandlers do not hide behind social media. They have not forgotten that real, face time is always more effective than an electronic image. Do our customers really know who we are?
  4. Message is everything. The more compelling your message, the more effective it will be.
  5. Identify and solve a need. We need to identify our customer’s need and help them solve it. Panhandlers are aware that many of us are reluctant to end our day void of a good deed. They provide the solution.
  6. Call to action. Panhandlers are not shy about closing the sale. They are specific about how they would like you to respond.
What do you think? Have your local panhandlers taught you anything about marketing?



About Carrie Schmeck

When Carrie isn't encouraging conversation between educators, community and business people, she writes web content copy and communication collateral for businesses; as well as shorts, profiles and service pieces for publications such as QSR, USATodayCollege, NextStepU and Enjoy magazine, among others. Email or call 530.638.3580 to discuss your next writing project.

3 Responses to Hobo Marketing: Six things panhandlers get very right.

  1. CarrieSchmeck

    March 22, 2012 at 9:17 am

    Testing the comment field.

  2. Joe Hitchens

    March 23, 2012 at 11:04 am

    I feel very strongly about this subject and wish with all my heart, to leave some feedback.
    And I am unanimous in that.


  3. Laura Christianson

    March 23, 2012 at 2:02 pm

    I love this article, Carrie. Can I reprint it on my blog? If yes, you are still set up as a user and can even pop it in there yourself. -Laura
    Laura Christianson recently posted..How to Customize the Apps Boxes in Your Facebook Fan Page’s TimelineMy Profile


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

14 + nine =

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>

CommentLuv badge

Plugin from the creators ofBrindes :: More at PlulzWordpress Plugins