To remain competitive, businesses need to be innovative – in their products, in their solutions, in their strategies, and in their customer outreach. Innovative, creative, and memorable marketing is one of the best ways to break through the noise of other marketing being done by other brands – even if other advertisers aren’t your direct competition, customers only have so much mental bandwidth to pay attention to any communication going on around them.
One way to approach a more innovative marketing strategy is through guerilla marketing.
What is guerilla marketing?
The Creative Guerilla Marketing agency describes guerilla marketing techniques by saying they’re, “about taking the consumer by surprise, make an indelible impression and create copious amounts of social buzz. Guerrilla marketing is said to make a far more valuable impression with consumers in comparison to more traditional forms of advertising and marketing.”
What to know about using guerilla marketing tactics
Guerilla marketing aims to be shocking, unique, clever, and even outrageous. Done well, it can have a high-impact at a low cost. It’s often broken into four types:
- Outdoor: An attention-grabbing marketing addition to something outdoors, like sidewalk or street art or temporary statue installation on the downtown streets.
- Indoor: Marketing that’s placed in high-traffic indoor locations like train stations, airports, or university campus buildings.
- Even: Using the audience of an event for your marketing – like a flash mob performance at a sporting event.
- Experiential: Any of the above, with the added requirement of needing some kind of customer interaction.
Top Guerilla Marketing Techniques for your business
How can you make this work for your brand? Here are the top guerilla marketing techniques to consider for your business
1. Create a sample strategy
You’ve seen this before in Sam’s Club and Costco, but imagine something much bigger and more surprising, like handing Macbook laptops out at an intersection. This could be part of a software product launch, where the company is distributing free computers or tablets with the software preloaded. It could be part of an event, like a tech conference. You could even consider using drone technology to drop samples over an event, like a sporting event – snacks raining from the sky in a designated area of the stadium would make for classic audience-driven social content. The point is that samples – or things that deliver samples – can be a boost for your brand and something disruptive will get people talking.
2. Consider custom content
These days, it’s not revolutionary to use a branded Snapchat filter at an event, but it can still be disruptive and surprising. Consider creating a filter centered around a specific location, product launch, or holiday like National Beer Day that pops up at a grocery store or train station to promote your nearby brewery. The disruption doesn’t have to be mind-blowing, just enough to get attention and capture interest that otherwise might not have been there.
3. Use your building
What if you made your own headquarters your canvas? This is a higher commitment, higher risk strategy that some other guerilla marketing techniques, but it can make a big impact. If you own your office space, can you use the roof to create marketing message (like “Better Marketing Made Here” for an advertising firm) or use the outside walls to feature a brand refresh (“Here are the logos we’re considering – vote for your favorite on our website). Alternatively, rent a small or popup space to use as a temporary office in a space where your brand might not otherwise appear – like a brewery at a farmers’ market or at an art walk.
How can you tell if it’s guerilla?
If you’re looking for a metric of evaluating if your effort is guerilla marketing, try going through this checklist.
- It’s a one-time only event or installation
- It’s newsworthy (and trending on social media)
- It’s extremely creative – something your brand has never done before
- It’s local, with a limited reach
- It involves audience participation
- It’s hard to track ROI – with a digital ad, you can see clicks and engagement on a dashboard. With graffiti art ads or flash mob marketing, it can be a little trickier to gauge the true ROI of an effort.
The most important thing to remember, no matter what your method, is that your guerilla marketing techniques need to support the overall mission of your business and ultimately fall in line with your brand’s overarching marketing. It’s not a good fit for every marketing need, but it can create a huge impact if deployed deliberately and strategically.
Guerilla marketing is about more than just helping small businesses make an impression – these tools and tactics can be used by any brand and any size company. When you’re going through your creative marketing ideas, if nothing fits your regular strategy or current production needs, don’t discount any ideas – keep them on tap to put towards guerilla marketing down the line. Even if you don’t feel like your business can benefit from guerilla marketing, remember that it’s all about the surprise – and you might even surprise yourself at what your business can do with its marketing.