Undercover marketing, also referred to as “stealth marketing” or “buzz marketing”, involves using techniques that are not immediately identifiable as marketing tactics. This type of marketing is common for food and beverage providers, electronics companies or clothing retailers, but can be used in a multitude of industries as well.
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Basically, a Michigan company will hire a third-party agency or use its own staff to create buzz out on the streets. For example, a shivering individual might be standing next to someone at a crosswalk on a cold winter’s day, waiting for the street light to change, when he overhears him talking about how warm the jacket is that he’s wearing. He thinks, man, I wish I had a warm jacket like that. The person goes on to tell “their friend”, it’s just so comfortable. It looks uncomfortable, the cold street patron thinks. Can you believe it’s completely water proof? The friend responds with a no way, where did you get it? To which the coat wearer blurts out the company or brand name. The friend repeats it and says they’ll make sure to check it out. Now, the brand is stuck in the head of the person in desperate need of a coat. He may ask where the nearest location is of a store where he can purchase it.
Alcoholic beverage companies place undercover marketing agents at bars, grocers, party stores, or even private parties and other events, in hopes that they can market their products in a sly way. Often, these individuals integrate into the rest of the crowd, are outgoing enough to spark conversation and weave the pitch seamlessly into whatever else they’re talking about.
Potato chip companies may have undercover agents walking around grocery stores or ball games, clothing designers may hire individuals to simply sport their outfits around town, providing exposure. There are many ways in which a business might utilize undercover marketing to boost revenue.