Guerilla Marketing Tactics Revealed: Understanding the Shock and Awe Factors

Annually, over $500 billion is spent on advertising (almost half of that in the US alone). However, a good chunk of that doesn’t lead to a sizable increase in sales at all. At a startup or a small business, you might not have the luxury of risking a big budget on an ad only to see all of it down the drain. This is why the marketers in startups and small businesses need to pay more attention to guerilla marketing.

Guerilla marketing is a tactic involving unconventional use of imagery or interactive aids to surprise your prospect and make them sit up and notice your promotion. Since many consumers have grown resistant to conventional ads, the guerilla marketing can be a great way to grab eyeballs, if done well.

Advantages of Guerilla marketing include:

  1. Works well for low budgets.
  2. More attention per dollar spent
  3. Increased chances of virality through social media
  4. Better chance of stickiness with the user
However, you should also understand the disadvantages:
  1. High level of creativity is required to pull off a successful campaign.
  2. Can damage your brand if you cross a line.
  3. Can invite legal or regulatory issues. Zynga (the makers of the Facebook games Farmville and Mafiawars) placed a number of fake $25,000 bills in various parts of San Franciso as a part of the promotion. It invited significant rebuke from the law enforcement officials and the municipality (which had to clean up all the bills).

Here is how planning works for a typical guerrilla campaign:

  1. Hire a very creative person to plan the campaign. The entire success of the campaign hinges on the creativity.
  2. Collect as much data as possible about your potential customers. Brainstorm on the ideas that would really stun a potential customer. Test it out with a couple of test subjects not directly connected with the team.
  3. Make the campaign really interactive. For instance, if you are a furniture company trying to transform a part of footpath into a living room as a part of the guerilla campaign, you could make it possible for your onlookers come sit & enjoy a sip of coffee in the “living room” or some spotlight thrown in as soon as somebody walks into your set.
  4. Talk to the local law enforcement agency and the municipality if you are doing something really wacky. Get their permission and give them a heads-up on what you are planning.
  5. Connect the guerilla marketing with your social media campaigns. Grab photos, videos and live feed from the campaign to instantly post in your social media accounts. Timeliness can increase the virality.