Imagine that one morning you are walking down seventh avenue in New York on your way to work. Suddenly, you come across a six-foot tall coffee cup that is spilling coffee onto the sidewalk. Steam rises out of the cup and the smell of brewed coffee hangs in the air.
Sitting next to it is an ad for Bounty paper towels that says, “Makes small work of BIG spills.”
In 2009, Bounty placed their life-sized spills all throughout the streets of both New York and LA. Very little explanation is necessary and dozens of people stopped to look and take photos beside the displays. This is an excellent example of guerrilla marketing tactics at work.
What is Guerrilla Marketing?
Some people outside of marketing may cringe a little when they hear the term “guerrilla marketing”. It might sound a little aggressive and it certainly leaves quite a bit to the imagination.
Jay Conrad Levinson introduced the term guerrilla marketing in 1984. He used it to describe unconventional ways that businesses can stand out to their customers.
Fortunately, guerrilla marketing (when done right!) is anything but hostile. Guerrilla marketing tactics capitalize on the element of surprise. It is a way to think outside of the box and grab your audience’s attention in a new way.
Let’s look more closely at the four different types of guerrilla marketing outlined below:
- Outdoor Guerrilla Marketing
Some companies refer to this as street marketing. It involves temporarily adding something to a public space as a form of advertising. An example of this would be street art, a unique storefront display, or a temporary statue.
- Indoor Guerrilla Marketing
This is similar to outdoor guerrilla marketing, but it takes place in a public indoor location.
- Event Ambush Guerrilla Marketing
This involves taking advantage of a pre-planned event, such as a concert or sporting event, to promote your product or service. This usually takes place without permission from the event sponsors.
- Experiential Guerrilla Marketing
This can involve all the above tactics but it requires audience participation to carry out successfully. Street teams and pop-up shops are great examples of experiential guerrilla marketing.[Tweet “Guerrilla marketing tactics capitalize on the element of surprise.”]
Are Guerrilla Marketing Tactics Right for Your Brand?
Guerrilla marketing gives you an opportunity to think outside of the box. Of course, there are no guarantees so there is always the risk that your idea could flop. But if it’s a success you will bring exposure to your brand that you couldn’t have gotten any other way.
The best thing about guerrilla marketing is that it is a fairly low-cost marketing tactic. Bear in mind, you may save money but you don’t want to skimp on time, energy, or creativity. Guerrilla marketing demands innovation over investing a lot of money.
Here are a few things to keep in mind before you decide to take the plunge with guerrilla marketing:
1. Be respectful
As the name implies, guerrilla marketing is a more edgy marketing tactic. This means not everyone will be a fan of your tactics and there are certain risks involved.
Makes sure you do your research ahead of time. Ensure that you are in compliance with local rules and regulations. Ensure the environment you choose is appropriate for the activity and will allow passers-by to participate or easily opt out.
2. Plan ahead
Guerrilla marketing does involve a certain amount of spontaneity, but that doesn’t mean you can skip the planning stages. Like all marketing events, you only get one chance to make your guerrilla marketing tactics a success. Planning and goal setting is crucial.
Carefully consider any problems that may arise during your campaign. The implications of a negative fallout from your event can last long after the event itself is over.
3. Choose the right location
The location you choose will be a big factor in the success of your guerrilla marketing tactics. Your goal is to bring exposure to your brand but you want exposure to the right audience. Bad weather, excess amounts of traffic, and competing local events are just a few things that can make it hard to execute an effective campaign.
4. Stand out — in the right way
Your goal is to capture your audience’s attention in a memorable way. But let’s be honest, not all attention is equal. Make sure you keep it positive so that you don’t inadvertently turn people away.
Don’t annoy or intimidate your audience. Your campaign should encourage people to happily engage with your brand. Hiring fun and active professional brand ambassadors can help make people feel welcome and at ease, while working to reach your event goals.
5. Catch your audience off guard
It’s no secret that consumers dislike advertisements. Most people will automatically tune out if they feel like you are pitching them something.
Guerrilla marketing catches people off guard, which is what can make it so effective. Make sure that your delivery is unique and will stand out to your audience in a memorable way. That way, they won’t even realize they are being sold to.
6. Your message should be clear
Ultimately, getting people’s attention is only half of the battle. If your brand message gets lost in the shuffle, all your hard work was a waste. After all, the life-size coffee cup is only so effective without the Bounty slogan next to it.
Make sure your message is clear and connected to your brand. And don’t create an image that doesn’t accurately represent your brand. That way when people search you on Google, they aren’t confused by what they find.
The term marketing brings many different ideas to mind. And the truth is, an enormous amount of avenues can be a potential marketing channel.
Marketing is all about getting in front of your customers to create a positive interaction to drive action. And this idea is at the very heart of guerrilla marketing tactics.
Guerrilla marketing can increase your sales, bring in new customers, and increase brand awareness. Planning and execution are key to implementing your guerrilla marketing campaign.
With the right amount of creativity and forethought, guerrilla marketing tactics can be a great way to bring awareness to your brand. It’s a great way to start a word of mouth buzz and create an experience your audience will remember.
One of the most common forms of guerrilla marketing are street team promotions. EPS has taken our more than 18 years in the event marketing industry and created our Guide to Successful Street Team Marketing to help any marketer make the most of this guerrilla marketing tactic. Download it for free below.