Introduction to Guerilla Marketing
If you work in business, you are probably familiar with all sorts of buzzwords. Terms like, Synergy, Clickbait, Big Data, Core Competency and many more are as common in offices as water coolers. One of the most popular buzzwords you will hear today is guerilla marketing. It is a term that marketers use when discussing ways to better inform people about their products and services.
But what is guerilla marketing exactly and how do you go about effectively using it for your business? Here we will discuss what guerilla marking is, who it is good for and how you can use guerilla marketing strategies to positively impact your business.
What is Guerilla Marketing?
The term guerilla marketing was first coined in a 1984 book, appropriately titled, “Guerilla Marketing” by Jay Conrad Levinson. Levinson was an advertising executive who helped develop many memorable characters throughout his marketing career such as, the Pillsbury Doughboy, Allstate’s good hands and Frosted Flake’s Tony the Tiger among others.
In the book, Levinson defined guerilla marketing as a marketing strategy that is low-cost, impactful, creative and reaches a large number of people directly. 35 years later, these are still the tenants that guerilla marketers live by.
The idea is to be as unique as possible without spending a ton of money. The reason this works so well without the capital-output is that, when done correctly, guerilla marking speaks directly to a potential user or customer and leaves a lasting impression.
Who is Guerilla Marketing Good for?
Many companies have used and currently use guerilla marketing tactics as part of their overall marketing strategy. From Fortune 500 companies on down, many companies try to implement campaigns or programs based on guerilla marketing strategies. Bigger companies use it as a fun and unique way for consumers to interact with their giant brands. It makes a large company seem more hip, approachable and down to earth.
When done right by bigger companies, the results can be fantastic. Well-known companies and brands tend to go for the large spectacle version of guerilla marketing and if it is executed correctly it can be incredibly effective.
The type of businesses that can benefit most from this form of marketing though is small and medium-sized businesses. There are lots of reasons that this type of marketing is so good for small and medium-sized business. It is a way to speak directly to consumers in their natural environments so it cuts out the need for traditional (and expensive) advertising models like print, broadcast or television. It also leverages smaller business creative capital and brainpower instead of just their checkbooks.
An interesting, memorable and well-executed guerilla marketing campaign by the smallest of companies can be just as effective, if not more so, than anything a “big guy” could do.
Finally, it activates an additional, word of mouth marketing campaign that doesn’t stop when the project is over. If smaller companies do something cool enough, well enough, the buzz and publicity can go on and on.
Guerilla Marketing Strategies
The are many guerilla marketing strategies that companies have successfully leveraged over the years. While we will talk about some here, one of the best parts about guerilla marketing is that the best campaigns are truly original and have no template. These strategies have worked in the past and some version of them will continue to work in the future but the more you push the envelope in this type of marketing, the higher the change of astronomical success and enormous ROI. Here are some standard guerilla marketing strategies.
Outdoor Guerilla Marketing
The name of this strategy is both very simple but also creates a huge range of possibilities. In urban areas especially, the number of people who are reachable by outdoor activations can be tremendous. You can do this on city streets, in parks or at the beach. Anywhere lots of people are mindlessly going about their day is a good spot to do some outdoor guerilla marketing.
You can put temporary artwork installations like sculptures and statues or go removable graffiti-inspired campaigns like wild postings. This outdoor marketing can be bold or subtle but the main key is that when people pass it on the street or in a car they take notice and remember it for some reason.
Event Ambush or Takeover Guerilla Marketing
If a larger company or a competitor is having an event, it probably means that it is a great place to find consumers to market to! Remember, guerilla marketing takes its name from guerilla warfare and all is fair in business and marketing. If there is a big music festival or sporting event, you know there will be a lot of people there.
If you don’t have the money to be a title sponsor inside the event, put your people outside to hand out info or products. You can do the same at an event a competitor is holding since you know you are trying to reach the same people. Just be cautious in this situation because being too aggressive towards a competitor can come off as mean spirited or desperate and alienate your core audience.
Experiential Guerilla Marketing
This marketing strategy allows the consumer to have experiences interacting with your product. If you have a consumer goods product, giving away free samples is a great example of this.
Make sure you are not just handing people something for free, there also needs to be a memorable experience around it so that people associate what you are selling with their time of need when they received a sample.
If your product is too big or expensive or not conducive to sampling, you can set up an experience where people can come and try demos to find out more about the functionality of the product or service. Think of it like setting up a great, interactive trade show booth somewhere out in the world. This will allow you to reach people who may not necessarily be on the hunt for what you have to offer but can benefit from it if they knew more about it.