Guerrilla marketing: It’s a jungle out there

Guerrilla marketing is a catch-all term for unconventional marketing campaigns that take place outside of the traditional advertising model. Guerrilla marketing primarily involves word-of-mouth, social media, and digital marketing initiatives. It can be particularly useful in capturing the attention of millennials who are often quick to share product experiences online.

A traditional marketer will bombard you with messages, hoping that one of them sticks. Guerrilla marketers don't do this. Instead, they’ll use surprising and unconventional strategies to build brand awareness and ignite word-of-mouth campaigns for their products or services.

Guerilla marketing has a bad reputation as a cheap, dirty tactic. But leveraging it to your advantage can have a tremendous impact on your brand. With the right product and dedication, a guerilla marketing campaign can easily result in fantastic results at a fraction of the cost.

In this blog post, we’re going to dive deep into the jungle of guerilla marketing . It is a vast and exciting place — many marketers still aren’t sure how best to use it. But when done right, its power can be undeniable. Learn how you can reap its rewards — and avoid falling prey to its perils.

What is guerrilla marketing?

Guerilla marketing is a form of unconventional marketing. It's fast, trendy, and it's all about being creative. This form of marketing generally involves sources outside the brand to increase awareness of new products. These tools are often used for small business marketing because they are more affordable than traditional advertising methods.

Guerilla marketing consists of tactics that are used to create an immediate impact on consumers. These could include drive-by graffiti, flash mobs, street marketing, and guerrilla television. Such tactics are meant to grab consumer’s attention in unconventional ways.

The term "guerrilla marketing" was coined by Jay Conrad Levinson in his bestselling book. Guerrilla Marketing was first published in 1984, and has sold over 21 million copies. It has been so influential that Time Magazine named it as one of the top 25 most influential business management books ever written.

Types of guerrilla marketing

Guerrilla marketing tactics are designed to be low-cost, diverse, and innovative. While businesses can see huge success with guerrilla marketing, it can feel like a big risk when you're in the implementation phase. Luckily, there are several different types of guerrilla marketing to choose from, so you can focus your energy on the type that's best for your company.

There are many different ways to covertly incorporate guerrilla marketing into your marketing plan, depending on your budget and the general creativity of your marketing team.

  • Event ambush marketing

This is all about getting the right audience in the right spot at the right time. While everyone else is focused on what's happening in front of them, your brand will be sneaking in from the side and grabbing their attention.

Marketing opportunities don't come as serendipitous as this: imagine witnessing a large gathering that has no way to leave, as they've already paid for the attraction. This would provide an excellent setting for guerrilla marketing; your message could be heard by hundreds of people at once, and those who continue daydreaming through the event would still be exposed to your guerrilla marketing tactics.

Aligning your brand with a major event is one of the most powerful ways to get attention from new consumers. You can get in front of a massive audience with a relatively small investment. However, there are a few drawbacks. Since event ambush marketing occurs without the event's sponsor's permission, it's typically regarded as illegal.

  • Astroturfing

There are few guerrilla marketing tactics as controversial as astroturfing . Everything from LinkedIn to Yelp to Yahoo Answers are commandeered by astroturfers, who make it their mission to make their clients the most popular choice in any given area. The name itself comes from Astroturf, a plastic grass substitute that’s only slightly less convincing than real grass.

Astroturfing is a risky strategy. Inauthentic marketing can have serious effects on a customer's perception of a brand, from putting the quality of the product in question to a loss of credibility. On a strategic level, astroturfing is even more damning: it can undermine a company's reputation and lead to litigation.

  • Experiential marketing

Marketing doesn't have to be an obstructive force that keeps your customers away from your product. Guerrilla marketing is a strategy that gives customers a chance to create content and build connections — and you keep all of the benefits without having to give anything in return. If you're running a promotion, you can ask your customers to post pictures with or without products and tag them with your brand on Facebook and Instagram.

At its core, experiential marketing is about more than just leveraging your brand's products. It is about getting your customers actively involved in the process of advertising your brand. Instead of telling them how wonderful you are, let them experience for themselves how wonderful you are.

  • Buzz marketing

Buzz marketing is a marketing technique that integrates word-of-mouth and social media marketing to create an environment in which a brand message spreads from person to person, creating online buzz. By using a variety of influencers including celebrities and trusted friends, brands can leverage endorsements from these role models to spread positive input about their brand. The more positive buzz a brand creates the more it increases its brand awareness and enables it to reach further across social media networks.

Unlike astroturfing, high-profile endorsements and recommendations aren't bought — they're earned. By participating in a discount program, you'll see a boost in customer loyalty and a spike in revenue.

If you're looking for the most cost-effective way to grow your brand, look no further — buzz marketing can be an invaluable tool in brand development and customer acquisition. Although it's difficult to initiate and to maintain, buzz marketing is a naturally occurring phenomenon that can be harnessed by small businesses with minimal financial investments.

  • Grassroots marketing

Grassroots marketing isn't about flashy TV adverts or radio jingles — it's an idea, a belief. And when it's shared by each individual in the group, the power is exponential. Once everyone chips in, businesses not only get their message out to potential customers but they can also help shape that message.

Grassroots marketing is great for small businesses looking to expand their reach on a budget. Instead of hiring an agency or ad executive, brands can reach out to local communities and organisations to share the same values and vision of success. Small businesses use grassroots marketing because it's natural, with no hard sell necessary.

This strategy targets a small customer base and hopes that the group will spread a business' message or vision to a much larger audience.

  • Street marketing

Street marketing campaigns use out-of-the-box tactics that target consumers in unconventional ways to grab their attention and encourage them to engage more with the brand.

Street marketing is the unpredictable kind of marketing that often catches consumers off-guard. Well-placed advertisements on everything from bus stops to benches can be seen daily by thousands of customers who are constantly on the move, but would have never expected to catch a glimpse of your brand.

Creative placement of advertisements can help you reach just about any audience — whether it be people who are out on the go or those who spend most of their time at home. If you're looking for a new way to draw in consumers, consider advertising in an unexpected place!

  • Stealth marketing

Every brand wants to get their product in front of consumers' eyes and ears without the need for a highly visible and expensive advertising campaign. Stealth marketing is one of the best ways to do just that. Rather than relying on flashy billboard ads, or noisy commercials, businesses can get closer to their target audiences by using more subtle and creative strategies.

No one likes to be spoon-fed marketing messages. Stealth marketing is a strategy that gives consumers just enough information about your business to allow them to seek out more details. If done correctly, this strategy will help build interest in your product or service before you've even made an effort to begin selling.

Product placement is one of the most cost-effective strategies in the marketing world. It uses the power of association to boost brand awareness, generate positive feelings around products, and increase sales. It’s a psychological strategy that aims to drive your target audience to your product(s) by subtly inserting it into TV shows, movies, documentaries, or news.

Don't be afraid to mix things up!

Guerrilla marketing is one seriously powerful marketing strategy. When implemented well, it can become the low-cost yet potent marketing strategy that any business needs in order to break ahead of the competition. It’s an incredibly beneficial tool for businesses big and small. It's remarkably easy to set up, has a low cost barrier to entry, and can quickly jump start your business's growth.

Don't be afraid to mix things up as a business owner. While the tried and true method of advertising for local companies is still showing signs of growth, businesses are increasingly turning to guerrilla tactics as a means of increasing foot traffic. By focusing on creative marketing and out-of-the-box thinking, you can inject new life into your business and gain the attention of your target audience.