Guerilla marketing gets its name from guerilla warfare, where participants in an armed conflict use any means necessary to attack enemies or win any sort of advantage on the battlefield. Guerilla denotes something that’s a surprise, out of plain sight, or even sneaky. The most effective guerilla marketing campaigns contain some element of surprise, hoping to build brand awareness among potential clients through non-traditional means like television or print ads. The term guerilla marketing started in the 1980s and has gained popularity ever since. The term is even used in other areas of business, typically involving some form of unexpected action that helps push the business forward. Whether it’s increasing brand awareness, working on public image, announcing a new product or service, or launching a promotion, guerilla marketing is a creative way to market your organization outside of traditional channels. Here’s some more information on guerilla marketing and how you can use it to grow your business.
The Guerilla Marketing Basics
Guerilla marketing has some inherent advantages. While it’s not as loud and visible as traditional marketing ads or promotions, it can be just as effective. You’re often reaching different audiences in new ways outside your core demographic. Here are some of the benefits of guerilla marketing:
It’s Cost-Effective – If you’re a business owner or somehow involved in corporate marketing, you know how expensive something like a television ad or a commercial on YouTube can be. With guerilla marketing, the investment is a creative one rather than a financial one. Sure, you’re still spending money, but guerilla marketing can be much cheaper. In the past, companies have placed temporary ads on structures, commissioned some form of art, or arranged a performance in hopes the event goes viral. Ideally, people in the area will take video and pictures of what’s happening and spread the message organically.
It’s Fun – As we said, guerilla marketing is all about pulling off the unexpected. Ross Kernez from Marble says that “You want your campaign to increase buzz around your brand, product, or service.” That means creating a campaign that leaves a lasting impression on the people who see your marketing efforts. That could mean setting up an unannounced pop-up at a park or convention where there will be a critical mass of people. You can hand out swag and talk to people about your company one on one. People love marketing that brightens their day or is something pleasant they can talk about with the friends and family over dinner. If you can make a fun impression and promote your company at the same time, that’s the sweet spot.
It’s Current – The right guerilla marketing campaign is somehow related to current public sentiment. It ties in with the mood of the day without speaking too directly about any political or controversial social topic. There are plenty of case studies that should warn you away from touching anything sensitive. It can end up biting back. Stay away from politics but strive to find a way to put your brand in the zeitgeist.
It’s Shareable – The best guerilla marketing is experienced directly by a small number of people and shared widely to a massive audience. That saves money, logistics, and time, all while yielding incredible results. Make anything you do photogenic, as stylish as possible, and something that translates easily over social media and amongst friends. The shares you get on social media are marketing gold. The best guerilla marketing campaigns generate millions of views and social media touch points that would have cost millions of dollars in marketing costs if they were to be manufactured. This type of free marketing is the goal of guerilla marketing. It’s not always going to happen, but when it does it’s fantastic.
The Bottom Line
Guerilla marketing should be a component of your overall marketing strategy. It should be used in conjunction with traditional marketing channels, and how much you use guerilla tactics will bleed into your brand message and your identity as an organization. It works across all sectors. All it takes is the right people in your organization who can come up with the right idea that touches a nerve and spreads quickly. Done right, guerilla marketing yields a huge return on your investment and leaves a lasting impression on your current and potential customers.