If you are hearing it for the first time or just getting to know it, guerilla marketing might not sound like a nice term, most likely because of its similarity to the term guerrilla warfare. But it isn't as ominous as it sounds.
The term came to life in the 80s and it simply referred to unconventional and cost-effective tactics that a business could use to raise awareness for its brand, idea, service, and/or product. And that's pretty much what guerilla marketing is all about, even today.
Like other forms of marketing, the aim of guerilla marketing is to achieve the typical conventional goals, such as increased sales and lead generation, but what sets it apart is the unconventional methods it employs, most of which use lots of energy, imagination, and existing resources rather than loads of money to make a statement or inspire mass participation.
If you are a business owner on a mission to build a strong brand, guerilla marketing could be the solution you’ve been looking for. Today, we share guerilla marketing ideas that will transform your brand.
1. Art Illustrations
Art illustrations basically involves use of things such as street art, stencils, flyers and pamphlets, graffiti, and the like to pass on a message. And for such illustrations to be effective, one has to put their power of creative imagination to best use.
Unfortunately, that’s not easy as it sounds. If you’ve never done this before, it would be best if you first begin by familiarizing yourself with the creative process. Nonetheless, there are multiple ways to skin a cat, and here’s one of them.
You really don't have to come up with new ideas. Instead, you can borrow from old successful ideas and find a way to improve on them or tweak them a little bit to make your own unique campaign.
Jeep's stair advertisement remains one of the best art illustrations examples of guerilla marketing. Capitalizing on its reputation as a car that can go places other vehicles can't, the ad created parking spots in unusual places, such as stairs, as in the image below.
The campaign was a success judging by the buzz it generated online and offline around the brand.
Another ad that ranks among the few successful guerilla marketing examples is the Alex SEO crisis campaign. To depict the realities of homelessness in a grim way, the campaign went ahead and drew chalk outlines of human bodies on the streets and walls across major cities in the world, like in the following image:
They paired the images with facts about homelessness relevant to each city. This gave rise to debates, created awareness, and inspired action, and the majority of these came from commuters who ran into the art.
Generally, you can use art in a clever way to achieve numerous things with your brand without spending much.
2. Audience Participation Tactics
Besides surprising your audience through the different creative ads positioned in their surroundings, you can also involve them in your ad. What sets this kind of ad apart is that it's an easy and comparatively better way to reinforce your brand into the minds of your prospective customers.
Of the many guerilla marketing examples you could try in this category, one that has stood out is a flash mob. It works because it's hard for people to ignore when, out of the blue, an unassuming group of performers start to dance, sing, or act in an active and busy space.
The T-Mobile Flash Mob dance at the Liverpool Street Station, for instance, remains popular to date. 350 dancers took commuters by surprise at the station and the ad successfully strengthened the brand's image and increased user engagement. Watch it below.
Another ad that took audience participation to a whole new level was Labello Lip Balm's Kissing Point in which a spot was provided for the audience to part from their loved ones with a goodbye kiss. The train station Kissing Point below is a famous example.
With such an ad, participants are likely going to take photos and share on social platforms, which could have a positive effect on your brand. Should you create such a campaign, it's best if you come up with a hashtag that those who get involved could use.
You can also use competitions and games in a creative way that will get your audience involved in your event.
3. Use The Internet To Create A Buzz
Even though plenty of guerilla marketing tactics seem to appear to do well in the real world, there's a chance to take this online and be equally successful. But you have to remember that the rules of game don't change. In other words, a guerrilla marketing campaign always has to be drastic, unexpected, temporary, or humorous, in addition to being inexpensive and customer-centric. You could use the different tools available online to pass your message.
Video stands out as one of the best tool today due to its potential. This is evident in many statistics, some of which state that nearly 50% of internet users scout for videos related to a product or service to watch before they visit a store.
Those that emerge successful mostly utilize technologies such as video personalization, which is a creative way to surprise and delight your viewers. Compared to other guerilla marketing tactics, most of which require time, energy, and plenty of resources, videos that incorporate this kind of technology provide a more convenient way to get the attention of an audience.
A website is another great tool for this. You can use it to launch a contest, offer a free give-away, issue a challenge to your target audience, and so on.
The Blair Witch Project is a perfect example of guerilla marketing that utilized a website . By making the movie appear real through fabricating news stories about the characters and making the audience constantly guess whether the movie was a real-life documentary or fiction, the movie was able to spark a huge debate among its fans and gain popularity.
Other online tools you can use include emails, online games, webinars, social networks, and e-books, just to name but a few.
Things to note
Before going ahead with your guerilla marketing campaign, take time to evaluate the effect it may have on people who may not be familiar with your brand, product or service, or on the environment it is placed in.
IBM's Peace, Love, and Linux graffiti campaign is a classic example of guerilla marketing blunders. After spraying peace symbols on walls and sidewalks, like in the image below, the supposedly biodegradable stencils refused to wash off as they anticipated.
Thus, the company had to resort to extra measures to remove the ads. Later on, the city fined the company $100,000 plus an additional $20,000 in cleanup costs.
Other than that, also make sure your guerilla marketing campaign doesn't break the law. Note that in some cases you may require special permits or permission from property owners before proceeding with your idea. Should you skip this step, you risk ruining your brand's reputation and getting fined for your avoidable mistakes.
Even though the majority of guerilla marketing ideas seem to have a limited reach, the greatest reward from these techniques is that you get to make an extremely valuable impression with your audience. However, at the same time, there’s an opportunity to expand your reach with techniques such as the use of videos that incorporate video personalization technologies, not forgetting to mention that they perform well in attracting the attention of an audience.
Above everything else, with guerilla marketing, there’s no limit to your creativity. And despite the risk that an idea may fail to work, you won’t have much to lose, besides the fact that your brand could suffer. However, should your idea work, you stand a chance to reward your brand with a level of exposure not possible to acquire through any of the other ways.