How to Use Guerrilla Marketing to Get Your Brand Seen Fast

“How to Use Guerrilla Marketing to Get Your Brand Seen Fast” by Jack Teare

Low cost with high impact possibilities? Guerrilla marketing sounds ideal for those with a small marketing budget wanting a big return on investment. The issue is coming up with a successful strategy and putting it into practice the right way. 

  • Guerrilla marketing definition
  • Tips to create your guerrilla marketing strategy
  • Quick and simple ideas to consider

Marketing your brand doesn’t need to be big-budget and super professional, let’s discover another way…

For smaller companies who need to save wherever they can, the temptation to throw everything into trackable marketing to build your brand, check your return on investment and grow your audience is high. But you don’t have to do it the conventional way. Set yourself a realistic budget for the essentials such as digital and social ads and PPC, but why not save a little for some unconventional and experimental ideas using guerrilla marketing?

What Is Guerrilla Marketing?

Typically, this tactic involves surprising customers with some non-traditional marketing that creates a viral buzz or word-of-mouth interest. It’s in your face, exciting and unusual – and therein lies the interest and brand impact possibilities.

It’s not free marketing, but it is generally low budget. The idea of it has been around since the 1980s and focuses on lower costs and higher impact by making customers pay attention (which, as we know, is not easy).

Some types of guerrilla marketing include:

  • Buzz or viral marketing – using video and social media to drive interest or go viral.
  • Stealth marketing – using influencers to promote a service, making a fake viral video, product placement in a movie – this is sneaky advertising
  • Ambient marketing – using large installations or imagery in the everyday world that stand out.
  • Ambush marketing – hijacking another company’s ad or essentially mocking a competitor. Not the nicest way, but any publicity is good publicity.
  • Wild posting – on-street advertising whereby you stick posters and ads anywhere you like but typically on drab, dark areas where the ad will stand out.
do something great

Tips to Create Your Guerrilla Marketing Strategy

  1. Make it cute and personal. Coca Cola may be the best at this as they often find fun ways to involve their customers. They have the budget to go big, but boy, does it work. Think of the Christmas Coca Cola truck tour (ambient marketing) or the free bottle and can giveaways with your name on (viral marketing) – these are all branded events that promote healthy and positive word of mouth or buzz about the brand.
  2. Keep it clever. Try to help your audience recognise your product and stick it in their memory – like a music store using a zebra crossing to make piano keys and noises. It’s all about memory retention, so keep it smart.
    IBM did a series of ambient ads where they created rain shelter, seating and wheelchair ramps and called it ‘Smart Ideas for Smarter Cities’ – this was a whopper as it was clever, ambient, memorable and got the public involved.
  3. Involve others. Getting the general public involved without them knowing is a great way to leave a lasting impression and spread word of mouth. Frontline did a fun one where they covered the floor of a mall with an image of a dog scratching and their logo and tagline. The creative bit was when people began walking across it, and they looked like the fleas to the floors above.
  4. It doesn’t have to be in your face. It’s not always the big things that make a buzz, small and subtle changes can make a difference. For example, the advertising team for the 2012 disaster movie went with conventional subway posters but bought the graphics onto the floor of the subway as well to look like a flood. A small, cost-effective change that increased the buzz. Similarly, there’s been instances of KitKat using graphics to make benches look like the chocolate bars and coffee shops adding decals to drain covers and using the steam to look like a hot coffee.

Quick and Simple Ideas to Consider

There are plenty of ideas to be had, you just need to think differently and outside of the norm. Here are a few examples:

If you’re a small independent coffee shop, why not get some branded stickers made up and do some wild posting on people’s bags, or give them to kids, or stick them on community boards, etc. This kind of marketing is incredibly low cost and highly targeted to your area, so you should see a good return on investment.

Consider an experiential marketing strategy if you want to immerse your audience in the brand. This is anything interactive where the audience can get involved like a car sales company hosting a pop-up shop where you can have a virtual reality experience of driving a top-end car. Or how about a sports background with props for a photo op?

This one is completely free – retweet and reshare any positive comments on social media. These are recommendations from real-life people which can help generate Buzz marketing. Equally, share any controversial comments while asking for opinions to start a dialogue around it for more of a buzz.

Grassroots marketing is a good option for SME’s – it’s essentially your getting involved with smaller groups and communities and relying on them to spread the word to a larger group. You can do things like provide free branded beverages or sponsor a charity event. You could also post tear-off flyers in local community centres, capitalise on trending topics with content and make your advertising emotional.

Guerrilla marketing isn’t for everyone, but it’s a great option if you have a limited marketing budget and want to maximise your return on investment. Just be creative, unconventional and don’t be afraid of the buzz.