What is Guerrilla Marketing and How to Nail It

guerrilla marketing

Guerrilla marketing has been labeled unconventional and non-traditional. But really, the word that fits it most is creative.

But their one more cool thing about it. It demands minimal funding – just your imagination!

You might wonder why guerrilla marketing isn’t a go-to for businesses. The process is fun and low cost. Isn’t that a dream? Turns out it isn’t.

And that’s because to stand out with a guerilla campaign is not an easy job. It requires time, energy and innovation. Some businesses just prefer to minimize the risks by throwing in some money.

Origins of guerilla marketing

First of all, why guerrilla? The term was coined by Jay Conrad Levinson in his book Guerrilla Marketing. And it was inspired by something you would least expect – guerrilla warfare.

Basically, it is a form of irregular warfare employing small tactic strategies used by armed civilians. Most of which are surprising in nature, such as sabotage, raids, and ambushes.

Therefore, guerrilla marketing is about taking people by surprise in the midst of their day to day life, making an impression that lasts.

Types of guerrilla marketing

So far so good. You seem to like guerrilla marketing but it’s still a bit foggy in your head. So let’s get more specific. Here are the four common types.

Outdoor Guerrilla Marketing plays with the existing urban environments. Temporary artworks on streets and sidewalks are a good example.

Indoor Guerilla Marketing falls into the same pattern as the outdoors only using indoor spaces such as train stations, shops, university campuses.

Event Ambush Guerilla Marketing allows businesses to promote their products and services during concerts or sports events.

Experiential Guerilla Marketing includes three types above only in a way that lets the audience interact with the brand.

All of this makes guerrilla marketing perfect for small businesses and independent professionals. Because with little funds – that’s the ideal way to understand the market and put yourself in the spotlight.

Where to start?

To start brainstorming a guerrilla campaign, you need to inhabit a very specific mindset.

First, what is your message and what is the best format to communicate it? The guerrilla campaign demands you to have clear objectives from the start. Since creativity can take you places you never imagined, you have to stay focused.

But first,  do what you usually do – think about your customer. Ask what will intrigue them? What will appeal to them on a more personal level?

A good tip for trimming down your ideas is to imagine what types of media headlines and social media posts you would like to see in response to your campaign. Because one aim of your campaign is to create media and social buzz.

An important thing to remember is that you should be able to live up to your customer’s expectations. If you come up with a killer guerrilla campaign that goes viral, but your customer service isn’t good enough, customers who were in awe of your creativity will be greatly disappointed.

“The soul and essence of guerrilla marketing is achieving conventional goals, such as profits and joy, with unconventional methods, such as investing energy instead of money.”

Jay Conrad Levinson

Enough talk, let’s take a look at the coolest guerrilla campaigns in action!

Frontline: Finding a unique perspective

Don’t you want to get those fleas off that dog? I have to tell you something – those are actually humans.

Frontline put this image on a full floor space is a multi level mall. So, to customers looking down from the second or third floor those people wandering around their business appeared to be bugs!

With just a sly way of using space and perspective, Frontline got everybody looking and talking!

Coca-Cola: Creating interaction

The goal of this campaign was to market a new Coca-Cola bottle with a better grip for holding.

This is what they thought was the coolest way to introduce the change.

They created posters on Velcro and placed across bus stops in Paris. People were playfully drawn to the posters and they loved it! Want a proof? Coca-Cola had seen a 3.8% brand volume growth in France.  (Advertising Agency: Marcel, Paris, France)

Colgate: A playful reminder

Toothbrush-shaped wooden sticks inside an ice-cream – a creative reminder to take care of your dental hygiene after having your favorite treat!

Don’t you just want to brush your teeth right now? I do. Which means Colgate knows what guerrilla marketing is all about.

Guerrilla marketing is arguably the most memorable and creative way to put yourself in the limelight. No matter how small your business is, if your guerrilla campaign is awesome it will set you apart from the competition. Plus, you will also earn a reputation of a brand that’s creative and fun. I know, guerrilla marketing is truly awesome!

Armen Margarian

Armen Margarian is an attorney with The Margarian Law Firm.

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