What’s Guerilla Marketing?
Guerrilla marketing is a marketing technique that employs unconventional, and often surprising tactics to promote a product or service. Unlike traditional marketing methods, guerrilla marketing relies heavily on personal interaction, operates with a smaller budget, and focuses on specific groups of advocates responsible for spreading the word in a particular area, rather than through extensive media campaigns. This approach seeks to engage potential customers through creative and unexpected means, often through immersive experiences that captivate and leave a lasting impression. By utilizing these unorthodox methods, companies can differentiate themselves from competitors, build brand awareness, and generate buzz amongst targeted audiences.
Understanding Guerrilla Marketing
Guerrilla marketing is a highly effective strategy that companies use to spread their promotional content through viral or word-of-mouth marketing, reaching a broad audience at no additional cost. To achieve this, guerrilla marketing must first establish a strong emotional connection with consumers, which is key to its success. It is important to note that guerrilla marketing is not suitable for all types of goods and services and is primarily used for products that are considered “edgy” or aimed at younger consumers, who are more likely to respond positively to this approach.
Guerrilla marketing campaigns are carried out in public spaces with high visibility, such as streets, public parks, concerts, festivals, beaches, and shopping centers. Choosing the right time and place for a guerrilla marketing campaign is crucial to avoid legal issues. This technique can be conducted both indoors and outdoors, as an “event ambush,” or as an experiential marketing approach designed to encourage the public to interact with a brand.
Types of Guerilla Marketing
Viral or Buzz Marketing
Buzz marketing is a marketing technique that focuses on word-of-mouth distribution. Often deployed through social media platforms. The goal of buzz marketing is for a single user to share content from a company with their social network, friends, or family, which in turn spreads awareness about the product or company organically. Unlike traditional marketing strategies that try to generate excitement on their own, guerrilla marketing leverages customers to help raise awareness of a product or company.
A low-cost strategy that aims to market to customers without them realizing they are being marketed to. For instance, when you watch TV, you may not be fully attentive during commercials. However, companies that use TV advertisements may be trying to market their products to you without you explicitly realizing it. This is an example of stealth marketing, where products are marketed in a subtle and indirect way.
Aims to blend into a natural environment. Rather than being explicit, ambient marketing seeks to be more subtle and blend in with the surroundings. For example, instead of a guerrilla marketing campaign that obviously sticks out, some marketing departments may opt for more subdued campaigns such as promotions on a bus bench. This strategy is aimed at minimizing the risk of turning off potential customers.
Coat-tail marketing is a strategy in which companies try to appear as event sponsors, even though they are not officially sponsoring the event. This tactic is often used during sporting events, where companies may try to capitalize on the popularity of the event without paying the high costs of official sponsorship. Ambush marketing is a type of guerrilla marketing that is commonly used in these situations, where companies try to promote their brand and products by associating themselves with a popular event or brand without actually paying for the sponsorship. This strategy is often more affordable for smaller companies or those with limited marketing budgets.
Projection advertising is a form of guerrilla marketing that involves displaying large, eye-catching advertisements on the sides of buildings or other flat surfaces. This type of marketing allows companies to create personalized and engaging promotions, particularly for events. Projection advertising is often a more informal and cost-effective alternative to traditional forms of advertising that require long-term agreements or significant investments of capital.
Grassroots marketing is a guerrilla marketing approach that relies on fewer resources. Companies that embrace grassroots marketing often employ low-cost marketing strategies that rely on people’s time (such as handing out flyers) as opposed to larger marketing strategies. Often employed by local or small companies, grassroots marketing is a more simplistic strategy to embarking on a marketing campaign.
Pros of Guerrilla Marketing
- Often a less expensive option compared to other marketing campaign techniques
- Usually allows for greater creativity
- May reach a broader audience compared to traditional marketing campaigns
- May be more fun for marketing professionals to embark on
Cons of Guerrilla Marketing
- Less structure often leads to less successful endeavors
- May not deliver consistent messaging
- May be seen as a “turn off” by some individuals
- May be more unpredictability due to difficult to track or collect data for
Is Guerrilla Marketing Illegal?
Guerrilla marketing is a legal form of marketing. Although some of its techniques may raise ethical concerns, there are no laws prohibiting these strategies. Companies often resort to guerrilla marketing due to limited resources or to take a more creative approach to their marketing campaigns.
Why Is It Called Guerrilla Marketing?
Guerrilla marketing is named after guerrilla warfare, a style of warfare that emphasizes the use of unconventional tactics and strategies, as opposed to large, organized armies and battles. Similarly, guerrilla marketing relies on unconventional and creative marketing tactics to achieve success, often with a smaller budget and a more targeted approach.
What Makes Guerrilla Marketing Campaigns Successful?
Guerrilla marketing is effective because it is often a more memorable and unconventional approach to marketing. Conventional marketing may be more straightforward, deliberate, and safe. However, consumers may be more likely to feel surprised or impressed by guerrilla marketing tactics. The primary objective of a guerrilla marketing campaign is to leave an impact on a customer, and this approach may be more successful compared to more traditional strategies.
The Bottom Line
Guerrilla marketing is a marketing strategy that involves unconventional methods to promote a company, product, or brand, often using low-cost or no-cost techniques. Rather than relying on traditional marketing approaches, companies that use guerrilla marketing strive to be more creative and unique in their promotions, using tactics that stand out and grab the attention of potential customers. This approach often involves taking risks and thinking outside the box, in order to achieve maximum impact with minimum resources.