Looking to mix up your marketing a bit? Have a tight budget? Then look no further than guerrilla marketing.
If you’re not familiar with the tactic, here’s the full definition, courtesy of Investopedia: “Guerrilla marketing is a marketing tactic in which a company uses surprise and/or unconventional interactions in order to promote a product or service. Guerrilla marketing is different than traditional marketing in that it often relies on personal interaction, has a smaller budget, and focuses on smaller groups of promoters that are responsible for getting the word out in a particular location rather than through widespread media campaigns.”
Essentially, guerrilla marketing relies on finding the right promotion, the right location for said promotion, and hoping word-of-mouth catches on. With a heavier focus on proper planning, creativity of ideas, and execution, a full-scale marketing campaign, it is not. There’s an experimental element at play, and when it all succeeds, it can be like capturing lightning in a bottle.
For small businesses, hitting a homerun on a guerrilla marketing campaign can yield enormous dividends. These campaigns have the potential to really viralize, capturing everything from widespread word-of-mouth to press attention.
So, how does one get started with guerrilla marketing? To start with, here’s two affordable (and easy) ways to test the water.
- Distribute free branded merchandise. Find a public place or event, and hire a promoter to distribute branded merchandise that fits the occasion. The key is finding a product that will be used repeatedly and seen by others. For example, let’s say you run a business that’s close to the beach. You might try handing out branded beach bags so that beach-goers have a place to store all their sandy stuff.
- Put on a public performance. It could be anything from a flash mob to an impromptu live concert. Ideally, it’ll be something that people are going to see and think “Wow, I should take a video of this!” Next thing you know, there are videos of the performance on Facebook, YouTube, Instagram, etc.
At the core of it all, one of the most important things to remember is that all of this works best when you’ve found a promotion and place that are consistent with both your audience and brand.
Of course, guerrilla marketing can get so much more elaborate than the general, all-purpose ideas I’ve listed above. If you really want to get inspired, go read up on some campaigns that big companies have tried out. Run a quick Google search on top campaigns to see some wild stuff.
A brief word of caution before you start coming up with your own ideas. While an idea might look great on paper, with this type of marketing, there’s always the potential for an idea to backfire. Without proper planning and consideration, it can be very easy to run into issues with guerrilla marketing, as many businesses have in the past. These can include situations where the audience misunderstands the campaign, or even legal issues with local municipalities.
That’s not to say you shouldn’t give it a shot, especially if you think you’ve got a killer idea. Just be prepared, check your boxes, and think it through. To get a bit of an idea of what not to do, check out the Investopedia article I linked to above, which lists a couple of examples of campaigns that didn’t quite go right.
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Has your business tried guerrilla marketing? How did it go? Sound off in the comments!