Guerilla Marketing in The New Age of Business

Posted on

Have you ever been intrigued by a saying or a picture for a product or a service, or has an ad ever made you wonder about the universe?

Some ads and marketing strategies bombard the senses and have a way of making you indulge yourself in thoughts about very unlikely things. They also carry some sort of whimsy and make you view the colorful sides of life.

Believe it or not! That’s a strategy used in marketing that is made to specifically induce a positive emotional response so that customers will have a lasting impression of the product or service.

So you might be thinking, what is this strategy? It’s called guerilla marketing, and the term was first used by Jay Conrad Levinson, an American business writer, in his 1984 book entitled Guerilla Marketing. The book was revolutionary in helping small business owners upscale their business, and it paved the way for a new marketing technique.

So what is it? And how can you apply it to your business and get the best benefits from this strategy? Read on to find out more.

What is guerilla marketing?

Everyone knows that in business, the ultimate goal is to sell a product or service created to better an individual’s life or work. And, in doing so, developing a brand and a customer base that will profit you in the end. To do this, you will need a marketing plan that will boost the reputation of said product and service.

The most traditional marketing tactics used to bridge the gap between the producers and consumers are flyers, brochures, print ads, billboards, direct mail, telemarketing, event marketing, face-to-face interactions, etc. These have been used since time immemorial to garner attention towards products and services. Although these tactics have always made an impact, their influence is decreasing in a rapidly growing world and changing its views and concepts.

Guerilla Marketing is an alternative new-age strategy made to incorporate an out-of-the-box style of creating the bridge that has become highly successful. So much so that big brands are now finding different ways of using this technique to reach out to their customers and bring in new potential customers.

Definition of Guerilla marketing.

Guerilla marketing, in its essence, is an advertisement strategy used by businesses to promote, advertise and create hype. This is usually done by using unconventional ways to create awareness in a target group of people or population without causing any disruption in their everyday life.

This type of strategy blends seamlessly into the everyday world. The idea behind it is not to make it look, feel, or even seem like it’s marketing. Instead, use ways to incorporate marketing into ordinary things or apply it to things that usually seem like they can’t be used for advertising.

It will always have the element of surprise and will always look to ambush your senses and your curiosity about what it’s advertising. You will most probably be caught unawares while going about your everyday routine. They play on emotional aspects to draw customers and create a lasting impression.

There are specific strategies that can be followed to apply guerrilla marketing campaigns in your company’s favor. Let look at a few of them, and maybe you’ll find a few ideas or concepts that can help.

Guerilla Marketing Strategies

Marketing strategies are a significant part of the business development process. It sets the blueprint for executing the mission or goal of the business and achieving its vision.

So, what plan of action can you use while trying to use guerilla marketing. Here are a few options for you that have been proven to be remarkably successful.

Event Ambush Marketing

This requires you to use the potential of the current crowded space to invigorate the people around you into paying attention to the ideas you’re trying to share. Some examples of an event ambush are:

  • Flash mobs
  • Signage

It’s a very inexpensive way to draw attention to your campaign and make sure people pay attention. You will only need to make sure the execution is precise, which may need a little extra time on the drawing board. You also probably won’t require any permission slips or sponsorships.


It’s is one of the less tactful strategies in guerrilla marketing. Companies usually pay customers or agents to help create hype about their products in non-traditional ways. These could mean paying people to leave good reviews and positive feedback on social media platforms or websites.

Although it may be risky in case people realize that such a tactic is being used, businesses use it frequently because it can be extraordinarily efficient and minimize traditional marketing costs.

Some examples of marketing strategies used are

  • Influencer marketing.
  • Affiliation marketing.

Buzz Marketing

Buzz marketing is the complete opposite of astroturfing. The tactic uses actual endorsements from high-profile individuals to project positive views of their products. It relies heavily on organic word-of-mouth buzz to achieve its goals. Sometimes, it can be hard to generate because it happens without planning and any encouragement.

Some examples are,

  • Controversial Content
  • Bizzare marketing

Usually, this kind of marketing does not require payment since it uses opinions and shout-outs stated over the media. They can also be in the form of memorable stories people remember when they think of the brand or the product.

Experiential Marketing

In this type of strategy, people use the active involvement of viewers to increase the excitement for a product. If you’re trying to apply this type of strategy, you may believe that your customers need to be involved in the marketing campaign.

It’s a very creative way to encourage co-creation and helps develop a clear outline of features your customers want in the product or service. The strategy also helps create an emotional attachment, trust and a mutual sense of ownership. Customers become more comfortable with the business and the products if they believe in the product’s reliability.

Here are some ways to use Experiential Marketing

  • Step out of the comfort zone that traditional marketing creates
  • Use gaming concepts to create excitement.

This tactic can be as affordable or expensive as you want it to be. It all depends on what kind of ideas you want to implement and how you execute the plan.

Grassroots marketing

The grassroots marketing tactic is usually applied to reach out to concentrate customer bases and is generally used by small-scale businesses to reach their clientele by engaging with them on a personal level of mutually shared interests and visions.

Once the message is shared with the targeted audience, it becomes a gamble of whether the customers share the information with larger groups of people, and they often do, making it an excellent, unconventional and innovative way of generating an extensive customer base for small-scale businesses.

It’s also less expensive than the usual advertising campaigns and gives the business a chance to interact with their clients.

Some examples are,

  • Emotional marketing
  • Supporting good causes and charities.

Stealth Marketing

Another pervasive and easy way to develop hype for products is using stealth marketing. Most will be familiar with the ideas and concepts used in this type of campaign. Some of the methods used are,

  • Product Placement
  • Undercover marketing

These tactics can be applied in movies or sitcoms where the actors or the props used may have certain brand logos, ultimately creating awareness of the product.

This strategy aims to create interest, excitement and show the customers the products in unseemly environments to help people remember the product.

It’s a very cost-effective method of advertising your brand without having to invest in repetitive and other costly ad revenues.

Street marketing

As the name suggests, you can use this marketing strategy to promote products in ordinary setups. This can be either street art or signage on busy marketplaces.

When people think about ads, they assume they’ll show up on high billboards that litter the city skyline or shopping streets and malls where the ad would be relevant or animated billboards that can flash the ad at different intervals. However, street marketing is more low-key and can be used in unique ways to capture people’s attention and make them start thinking about what they just saw, thus motivating them to check for the product.

Some ways of using street marketing are,

  • Product Placement
  • Undercover marketing

Components for Guerilla Marketing Campaign

Guerilla marketing campaigns are considerably cost-effective and unquestionably a unique way to divert attention to your brand and vision. This type of marketing campaign is used to increase recognition and customer base. If you’re wondering if it’s the same as gorilla marketing, it’s not. Since gorilla marketing is an actual company that provides marketing solutions, but they’ve cleverly coined their name to generate interest amongst potential customers.

This is just one example of the great use of this marketing technique that works. Here are a few components you’ll need to apply so that your strategy works too!

  • Keep it 100% real. If you have an original and genuine idea, use it.
  • Location is key. It would help if you prioritized where you launched the campaign.
  • It should be unexpected. It would be best if you utilized the element of surprise.
  • The execution must be flawless. Just because they don’t cost much doesn’t mean they should be done just for the sake of doing things.
  • Keep in mind that this is mainly to create awareness and direct the viewer’s attention to your vision and your company. You still need to follow the traditional strategies too for a full-proof plan.

Effectiveness of Guerilla Advertising

Since Guerilla marketing is a non-conventional advertising strategy, it can be hard to measure its effectiveness. No matter how great and compelling it seems, you sometimes tend to wonder if it was the strategies you used or some other reason why your company has received a sudden surge of clientele.

Here are some statistics that SendPulse has assembled on unconventional ad tactics that may help you figure out if you want to use guerilla marketing.

  • After applying guerilla marketing tactics, marketers from around the world have seen a 90% reduction of costs and expenses on traditional advertising.
  • In Germany, 27% of marketers use unconventional methods to promote their brands.
  • Word of Mouth marketing seems to be the most effective and most trusted strategic campaign. It brings in more than 5 times the sales compared to paid media. 92% of consumers trust recommendations from people they know. It also accounts for 54% of all purchasing decisions made by consumers.

Even with very positive outcomes, most marketers still hesitate to use this tactic to promote their businesses. However, we can clearly see, these strategies are becoming more popular and relevant, and they are incredibly effective.

What is Viral Ideas Marketing?

Speaking of Word of mouth marketing, the viral marketing campaign primarily uses this tactic to develop interest and awareness of products. It’s a strategy that spreads quickly from person to person at an ever-increasing rate and is a highly efficient tactic for promoting brands.

Social media and the internet have become the forerunners in viral campaigns with the massive advancements in technology. The ads can be seen in memes, forwards, tweets, short videos, shares, likes etc.

The strategy’s objective is to spread the information among targeted groups in the hopes that it spreads rapidly and becomes viral, thus exposing other people to the brand.

If you want to use this tactic, you’ll have to think of very creative ways to share your vision and spread the word. The content needs to connect with your audience and resonate with them, so they hit the share button.

Guerrilla Marketing Examples

Still not sure how to create a guerrilla marketing strategy? Well, here are a few examples to lend you some inspiration.

  1. Discovery Channel had a creative solution to remind all beachgoers of their upcoming shark week by placing surfboards that had huge chunks bitten off that looked very much like shark bites.
  2. Spotify’s use of cosmic playlists was a great way to promote its application. They used whimsical art and the promise of curated tracks based on their astrological themes for a certain period of time.
  3. Fiji goes to the Golden Globes. It’s probably one of the most iconic guerilla marketing tactics that stole the red carpet with model Kelleth Cuthbert as the #FijiGirl carrying a tray of bottles of Fiji water and photobombing stars. It stole the show and generated a lot of publicity for the brand.
  4. Finally, Samsung found an elegant and clever way to leverage their competitor’s success and use it to their advantage by handing out free Galaxy S9s to an entire Dutch village. The stunt was positively accepted by people and created great publicity for the company.

Leave a Reply