StickerYou Blog

Guerrilla Marketing: What it is and why it works

July 7, 2014  |  
guerrilla marketing

The average person comes in contact with roughly 5000 ads a day. The constant bombardment of "buy this", "be that", "go here" and "do this" can be overwhelming, which is why people have learned to tune out  most of what they see in advertisements. So how do you make your campaigns stand out so it is actually noticed and perceived by your target consumers? You get creative and take it to the streets with some good old fashioned guerrilla marketing. 

Guerrilla marketing is marketing your product in an unconventional way which catches the consumer unaware and peaks interest. It's different from traditional marketing in that instead of investing money and tracking sales, you're investing time, manpower, and creative thinking, and tracking profits. The main goal becomes maximizing exposure for your company, brand or product while minimizing costs. To do this, you need an effective campaign that will get people talking- generating some positive word-of-mouth is key. Here are some quick tips for executing effective guerrilla marketing:

1) Don't be afraid to go outside the box. Some of the most effective marketing campaigns in existence were those that bend the rules and go in a completely different direction than the expected. No one talks about that completely unsurprising uninspiring advertisement. Be bold. Vodafone, a mobile phone company in the UK, printed hundreds of cardboard ads designed to look like phones. The company then hired professional pick-pocketers to slip the cardboard ads into the bags, pockets and purses of unsuspecting passersby. The targets would find these clever ads later among their personal belongings and read the ad about how easy it is to have their phone stolen right off their person. The back of the ad provided information about Vodafone's phone insurance to protect against stolen devices. 

2) Take a risk. There is a difference between being bold and trying something which might work, or might be awful. But you'll never know until you give it a try, and if everything does fail, at least you will know what not to do next time. No one wins 100% of the time anyways. Microsoft plastered chalk ads all over San Francisco sidewalks advertising the new Windows Phone. The City of San Francisco lodged a complaint against Microsoft for graffiti which would take city workers time and cost money to remove. 

3) Make a plan. This is important. Know what message you want to get across, how many people you want to see your marketing, who you want to see your marketing and then plan accordingly. Who is bringing the masks, who is bringing the spray paint, etc. A guerrilla marketing effort that is not formed and executed properly may fall apart or confuse people. Leading up the launch of a new rock radio station, a company in Glasgow, Scotland left empty guitar stands all around the city outside bars and concert venues with signs advertising free air guitars. The campaign was humorous enough to catch attention and was placed in locations where it would be found by the target audience. It even incited some to display their superstar air guitar skills.

4) Be flexible. Half of guerrilla marketing is monitoring reactions and then responding appropriately. Your campaign may not go exactly as expected or hoped, but with some quick thinking and preparation, your company should be able to respond to different reactions. One campaign developed by a competitor may open up an opportunity for your own campaign. For example, the car company Audi posted a billboard along the Santa Monica strip in LA challenging their competition BMW. Audi's billboard showed a black vehicle with the tag line "Your move BMW". BMW reacted quickly and soon had a similar billboard posted beside it with a white vehicle and the tag line "Checkmate". The best offence is a strong defense.

5) Do NOT do anything that will harass, embarrass, or annoy your target. These create negative feelings that you likely won't want associated with your product or brand. Likewise, don't throw, pour or spray anything on people. No one likes to be unexpectedly wet or sticky. Make sure whatever marketing events you are planning represent your brand properly as you may not receive the desired brand awareness if your message doesn't have a clear concept and message.

With a little innovative thinking, strong planning and execution and quick thinking, you can pull of a great marketing event which will help to create a buzz around your product or business. Usually you can pull it off for less than it would cost to run an ad in a local publication. Now that is bang for your buck!