Mark Slutsky, Street Fighter Marketing

The average American is virtually bombarded by more than 2,400 commercial messages a day. With all that “noise,” how can you successfully break through and persuade consumers to spend their hard-earned money in your shops?

At the March 4, 2010 DDIFO Members Meeting, Street Fighter Marketing Chief Operating Officer Marc Slutsky shared some of his company’s key strategies and explained that a good street fighter method:

  • Generates a high Return on Marketing Investment (ROMI)
  • Is low-cost or no-cost
  • Produces measurable results
  • Takes little time to execute
  • Brings in buying customers

“Street fighting is an attitude that gets you to recognize opportunities in your community for generating business and bringing in more customers,” said Slutsky. “For instance, don’t just look at the dry cleaners as a place to get your clothes cleaned but as a vehicle to deliver your message to their customers.”

Further, the most effective tactics involve the four Street Fighter pillars of success:

  1. Community Marketing: minimizing distribution costs by using relationships with non-competitive local businesses, major employers, educational institutions, etc. to promote your business (see details below).
  2. Four Walls: doing what you can do within your own shop(s) to market and generate business. One example is a “suggest sell” contest in which you identify a specific product for your staff to promote. Whoever sells the most of that product during a certain period of time wins a prize. In addition to generating sales, promotions like this also energize and motivate staff.
  3. Targeted Direct Mail: delivering the most suitable message to your ideal prospective customers. For instance, a restaurant featuring gluten-free products should market directly to community members with wheat and gluten allergies.
  4. Digital Solutions: developing online content that effectively promotes your business and drives sales. One trick is using blog applications to create content that will strongly meet consumers’ search criteria so your site will appear in the top results.

“The key to success with Community Marketing is to be consistent with your efforts,” Slutsky said. “Do something each week and every month.” One recommended method is cross-promotion, which involves a certificate typically distributed by a local non-competitive merchant, or a value card typically distributed by a major employer, educational institution, etc. in your area. Your campaign should be guided by “The Three C’s”: Cost, Control and Credibility. 

The Cost is minimal, usually just paper and printing.

The five types of Control–Numeric, Geographic, Demographic, Competitive and Synergistic–refer to producing the right number of certificates/cards; distributing where your customers live and work; choosing a partner that serves your target customers; keeping your promotion invisible to your competitors and ensuring all of the previous four controls are working together.

In terms of Credibility, you create campaign that, to the consumer, looks like a gift from your partner and consequently protects your regular price credibility.

Try spending a few minutes brainstorming. “Think about what kind of customers you want to attract and what kinds of businesses cater to those customers,” Slutsky proposed. “For example, if you want to target families, partner with a local day care.” Once you have some ideas about your target customers and the types of merchants that cater to them, write down five to 10 specific local businesses that match your criteria. Note which merchants you already know and which owners or managers are also your customers. Now you’ve got a list of potential partnerships to pursue.

For your first cross-promotion, Street Fighter suggests you choose a merchant where you already know the owner or manager; then follow these steps:

  1. Be casual, low-key, relaxed.
  2. Share real sample certificate (not sketched-out mock-up) with appropriate disclaimers (e.g., value, can’t combine with other offers, one per visit per purchase, expiration date).
  3. Present “you” benefits–a bonus for his/her customers
  4. Agree on kick-off date and distribution period (usually one week)
  5. Get weekly customer count (for accurate printing) and encourage handing out personally, not just leaving on counter
  6. Note/get contact’s information: name, address, phone number, email address and Web site
  7. Give contact a “freebie” (more than promo offer)
  8. Ask for number of employees and give each something (less than contact, but more than promo)
  9. Print certificates and give to contact
  10. Follow up with your employees (so know what to look for/how to process) and with contact

 For more information and ideas–including resource books, audio and video–visit or contact Marc Slutsky at or 1-800-8759 (1-800-SLUTSKY).