Hobo Marketing: Six things panhandlers get very right.

“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?


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