Chronicle of Guerrilla Marketing:
The term “Guerrilla Marketing” was coined in 1984 by an American business writer, Jay Conrad Levinson in his book Guerrilla Marketing: secrets for making big profits from your small business. Its origin traces back to guerrilla warfare which employs a unique technique to achieve its objective. When a small and independent group uses creative tactics to fight with a larger and more powerful force that is called Guerrilla warfare.
Guerrilla marketing refers to the type of marketing which creatively uses unconventional methods to promote a product/ service. It is a provocative, memorable, and turbulent type of marketing. It is a low investment high-return type of marketing and uses personal interactions through digital media platforms. With the use of unconventional strategies, guerrilla marketing can grab the attention of users and create buzz about the product/ brand being promoted. Thus, Guerrilla marketing is all about connection, impact, and creativity.
Creative guerrilla marketing campaigns can cause emotional outbursts within the customers, like emotions of surprise, delight, curiosity, admiration, etc. and this, in turn, ushers them to take action, refer to friends and get actively involved in the spread and success of the campaign.
Why the name Guerrilla Marketing?
The term “Guerrilla” came up in 1960 after the publishing of the book “Guerrilla Warfare” written by Ernesto Che Guevara. The book mentioned guerrilla warfare tactics which were more anomalous than the traditional warfare tactics. Such cunning tactics were believed to surprise the enemy soldiers.
Further, the book written in 1984 by Jay Conrad Levinson, described this marketing strategy aimed at creating “buzz”. This buzz is about the products/ services to be promoted and which would make the customers talk with other potential customers.
The goal of Guerrilla Marketing:
The main goal of guerrilla marketing is to create a buzz in the market using unconventional and unique campaigns using the least resources. Other objectives of adopting guerrilla marketing are brand building, creating a unique position in the minds of the customers, earning media attention, getting viral, etc.
Guerilla Marketing advantages and disadvantages:
- Allows greater interactions
- Brand recognition grows with word-of-mouth
- Unique and eye-catching
- Specially tailored to meet the needs of small businesses
- Publicity can snowball
- Difficult to measure, brands are uncertain about the success
- Risky, potential backlash, i.e. has higher chances of getting disapproved by the user
- Legal grey area i.e. is vulnerable to legal issues
- Marketing campaigns could have unforeseen obstacles
Main features of Guerrilla Marketing:
- Guerrilla marketing strategies are creative and unique with an element of surprise. This helps the brand to stand out from the crowd.
- Guerrilla marketing is cost-effective and requires less capital to be invested.
- Guerrilla marketing strategies need to be authentic to catch people’s attention.
- Guerrilla marketing gives opportunities to the brand to interact with its target audience and understand its needs in a better way.
Types of Guerrilla Marketing:
|Traditional media methods||Non-Traditional media methods|
Viral marketing- Viral marketing is a word-of-mouth form of marketing, through online media. It allows the brand to make a buzz.
Ambient marketing– Uses the environment of the product/ service/ brand as a marketing medium. It works in a way similar to that of traditional offline advertisements like a magazine, newspaper, or TV by including attractive images in an area.
Stealth marketing– This is a sophisticated version of the product placement, where a company uses the product’s logo in a realistic setting to improve the brand value.
Ambush marketing– Event ambush marketing is when marketers take advantage of the attendees of an event and use them in promoting their product/ service.
Wild posting– It uses striking visuals to make its messages more noticeable. The secret behind successful wild posting is by adding positive texture and color, thereby enhancing space. These aesthetic improvements can draw more attention to your product/ service. Although you should focus on not damaging the environment.
Street marketing– They are street campaigns that act along with elements present in public places. This is an outdoor guerrilla marketing type where the marketing actions take place outdoors.
Guerrilla projections– They are visual projections, generally found on huge buildings, to ensure that a huge number of people see the campaign.
Astroturfing– It is one of the controversial types of guerrilla marketing. The term “astroturf” means “fake grass”. This type is vulnerable to a lack of authenticity by the user, as it involves generating fake puffery of support using fake testimonials, etc.
Experiential marketing- Gives importance to customer experience via pop-ups and interactive experiences. The best approach to experiential marketing is one that will connect the customers with something that symbolizes the brand. For that, you have to identify a good location to interact with your customer base and leave an everlasting impression. On identifying the event, your marketing team should design an experience that connects all. Organizing a “flash mob” is a classic instance of experiential guerrilla marketing in action.
Undercover marketing– It is one of the controversial types of guerrilla marketing where a consumer makes a sales pitch without even knowing that he/she has pitched it. It is sometimes even referred to as buzz marketing.
Guerrilla Marketing strategies:
Due to its low budget, small businesses use this strategy to the maximum extent. Let us look into some popular guerrilla marketing strategies which are easy to implement and would result in enhanced brand visibility.
- Audience participation- User-generated content can drive in surprisingly best results and are different from other marketing techniques. An Instagram photo competition that asks users to click short videos and share their stories, is an example of an effective guerrilla marketing technique. During the pandemic, Nike had launched a video presenting the humiliation of many home videos, where few celebrities and other users shared their videos while being at home.
- Advertise using transport- An eye-catching logo on your delivery vehicle can yield great results for the passers-by who have seen the advertisement. Your message must get conveyed to the potential users.
- Graffiti as a popular method- These are artistic creations and are cheap. Graffiti is a convenient form of marketing as it is innovative, low cost, and does not harm the environment.
- Use of innovative packaging, flyers, and labels- The main objective is to convey a message to the potential users, using interesting labels or flyers.
- Projected video- Guerrilla marketing is easy to become viral. Video production can be a cheaper method for conveying a message. A video can become a mini ad and will be more interesting than the traditional billboards which cover large areas. The visual message of the company shall be positioned at a higher level to catch the attention of many people.
- Mascots are always in fashion- People love to take pictures with mascots. It is one of the most effective guerrilla marketing strategies. You can put a mascot in front of an event or capture its image and share it on your social media platforms.
Guerrilla Marketing examples:
- Coca-cola happiness machine– The “happiness machine” is a collaboration between Coca-Cola and an interactive marketing agency that featured a Coca-Cola vending machine, distributing free drinks and other merchandise in crowded places like shopping malls, etc. In an Istanbul mall, Coca-Cola installed a love machine that gave away free Cola cans to the couple who proved their love.
- Another Happiness Machine campaign was used to unite India and Pakistan.
- Duracell lights up Being an American company, Duracell manufactures batteries and other power systems. They added glowing flashlight posters in well-illuminated areas to remind people about Dracell’s power.
- Chai carts: Amazon– This campaign in Bengaluru is aimed at spreading awareness among the local entrepreneurs and sellers about the company.
- Copenhagen Zoo campaign– The Copenhagen Zoo is among the most visited places in Denmark. The Danish advertising agency created a fictitious ad campaign that was mesmerizing. The ad showed a giant snake that crushes a metro bus.
Some tips to create successful Guerrilla Marketing:
- Be creative – The ‘memory remembrance’ approach depends mainly on offering a creative and fresh point of view. To be more notable, the campaign should look smarter than others. For instance, Discovery Channel reminds beach tourists about the upcoming Shark Week by placing Shark bitten surfing boards all across the beaches.
- Consider your target audience- Understand your target audience’s needs. Choosing an appropriate space is important for a successful marketing strategy. For example, if you are a member of a conference, then you must put your brand in front of a huge audience. This is the best way to target those who are interested in your brand.
- Location is a very essential element– Location is very important for your campaigns. Brands like T-Mobile use this technique to a large extent. In 2009, the brand organized a grand flash mob at Liverpool Street Station. It targeted hundreds of people and recorded and broadcasted the event live on TV screens. As a result, many people witnessed the event and enjoyed it, which further saw an increase in user engagement and higher brand visibility.
- Maintain originality in concepts for the campaign– If the concept of your campaign is similar to some other brand’s campaign, then people will never even look at them. People prefer to see things which they have never seen before. The element of surprise should be your key focus. For example, Ariel India 2015 created a campaign “#ShareTheLoad” which turned out to be a movement. The movement was created to address the unequal expectations of society on men and women. The campaign aimed to create a happy household where men and women share “The Load” equally.
- Stay relevant with your content– A good guerrilla marketing strategy and its execution can earn you huge rewards. Grasp current trends and use them creatively to create your content. You should always focus on speaking to your audience’s hearts and brains.
For example, L’Oreal’s “real-time pre-purchase experience” campaign focuses on the pre-purchase experience of customers on their digital platforms. The company also launched the “L’Oreal Genius App” to give the users a real-time pre-purchase experience with the help of a digital makeover. The app provided an option to choose the best possible makeup combinations as per the skin tone of the user.
- Measure performance– You can consider important KPIs to measure the success of your guerrilla marketing campaign like social media shares, sales, brand recall, user engagement, etc.
- Make it memorable– A New York company Folgers Coffee printed stickers that transformed manholes on the road into freshly brewed cups of joe. Steams coming out from the manholes became an eye-catcher to the viewers and became a brilliant advertisement.
- Don’t tell them everything– Leaving a message open for interpretation will bring in elements of surprise and mystery which will keep people attached for a long. It thus can create more engagement. To understand this tip, you can take the example of bahubali, that was created the buzz using this approach.
Guerrilla Marketing ideas:
Let us now look at some interesting guerrilla marketing ideas which can help you create a memorable campaign in the eyes of your target audience:
- Infographics– Use data to visually create an interesting set of ideas. Such data can be collected through conducting surveys or by searching statistics on the internet.
- Creative use of coasters– Coasters can add to your surprising and creative marketing idea of yours. Many times, people raise their glass of water to read what is written on the coaster. Some even finish their meal by looking at the coasters.
- Use your landscape in the best possible way– It is believed that Guerrilla marketing sometimes manipulates urban landscapes through subway signs, crazy shop windows, etc. You can also use such ideas in your business to grab peoples’ attention.
- Use of business cards– Business cards are a good way of advertising your brand. At an event, people often ask for business cards for further communication.
- Funny signboard ideas– We have seen funny sidewalk signs on streets having some interesting and hilarious elements written on them like jokes, etc. People click pics of such signs and post them on their social networks, spreading the word about your brand to a larger community.
Can we do Guerrilla Marketing online?
As I have discussed earlier, guerrilla marketing is mainly found in offline media. But if smartly used, then the strategies can be used in online media too. For that, you have to create a group of people sharing the same interest and then add members to it. For example, you are a fancy bag seller and your target audience is a college girl. You can give a fancy bag to a waitress of a cafe, largely visited by college girls, for publicity. You may even post a pic or other details of the bag on social media forums.
Then you can stay active on social media networks to answer any query about such bags. People will be interested and will try to contact you and may even purchase, thus increasing your overall sales.
Another way is that you can visit a page/ group, and post about your brand and the products you sell. This might be a time-consuming method but will yield good results.
Many people are on the internet in today’s digital world. So to stand out in the crowd, you should adopt creative ways of marketing and that is what guerrilla marketing is all about.
Guerrilla marketing can be an effective way of marketing any type of business. It has been effective for many brands, as we have seen in our examples. So guerrilla marketing can be a good option for you when done in a well-planned manner. Sometimes, such unconventional marketing is illegal. So before adopting any of them, you should first read about their pros and cons to avoid any legal issues which may arise at a later date.
Creating a unique campaign will also help you to connect with your customers emotionally.
FAQs related to Guerrilla marketing:
What do you mean by Guerrilla marketing?
Guerrilla marketing is a strategy where low-cost unconventional methods are used in a localized fashion for marketing.
Is Guerrilla marketing legal?
Yes, guerrilla marketing is believed to obey the highest code of ethics.
Which type of company uses Guerrilla marketing?
Guerrilla marketing is mainly used by small businesses, that have low capital to invest.