What Is Guerrilla Marketing And Why It Matters In Business

Guerrilla marketing is an advertising strategy that seeks to utilize low-cost and sometimes unconventional tactics that are high impact. First coined by Jay Conrad Levinson in his 1984 book of the same title, guerrilla marketing works best on existing customers who are familiar with a brand or product and its particular characteristics.

Understanding guerrilla marketing

Unconventionality is the key to guerrilla marketing because it creates a buzz and gets people talking. 

Guerrilla marketing gets its name from guerrilla warfare, where small, independent groups use irregular tactics to fight a larger, unified force.

Effective guerrilla marketing campaigns take consumers who are engaged in their daily lives by surprise – tying emotions to a brand in the process.

Guerrilla marketing is cost-effective in that it seeks to repurpose existing promotional content in the environment the target audience operates in.

The real “cost” of this technique is in the ability to think in a creative fashion and create buzz around a brand at minimal expense.

The ultimate goal of guerrilla marketing is to create enough buzz that campaigns go viral online.

Thus, these campaigns are usually executed in highly visible public spaces including parks, shopping malls, beaches, and at sporting events.

Types of guerrilla marketing

Guerrilla marketing may appear to be relatively specialized at first glance, but there are several sub-types. 


Outdoor marketing adds a surprise element to existing urban environments. For example, Volkswagen hung cartoon thought bubbles over parked cars of various competitor models in Dubai.

The thought bubbles read “I wish I was a Volkswagen.”

Numerous cancer awareness organizations have also placed morgue toe-tags on sleeping sunbathers to start conversations about sun protection.


Indoor guerrilla marketing is most commonly seen in shops, train stations, and public thoroughfares and can be more targeted than outdoor marketing.

Guinness created custom advertising that wrapped around pool cues in pubs, reminding players to make the very natural association between pool and beer.

A Swiss skydiving school also used stickers on the floors of public elevators to simulate the view a consumer might have while plummeting to the ground.


Experiential guerrilla marketing involves the design of immersive or pop-up experiences that allow consumers to get a “feel” for the brand.

These experiences are usually sensory in nature and foster emotional bonds between brands and consumers.

Energy drink Red Bull partnered with extreme athlete Felix Baumgartner to document the world’s highest skydive, solidifying the catchphrase “Red Bull gives you wings” among loyal fans.

Paper towel company Bounty left giant, edible popsicles on the streets of New York to melt in the sun with an accompanying billboard reading “Makes small work of big spills.”

Other interesting cases of Guerrilla Marketing

A great example of outdoor guerrilla marketing below.

Also great copyrighting in the right street environment can be a great guerrilla marketing tactic.

Another great example of transforming a bench into a real-life shaped KitKat.

Key takeaways:

  • Guerrilla marketing is a low-cost, high-impact form of unconventional marketing.
  • Guerrilla marketing relies on the element of surprise to form emotional bonds between consumers and brands.
  • Guerrilla marketing has many indoor and outdoor applications. It can also be used so that consumers experience a brand before buying from it.

What is an example of guerrilla marketing?

An example of outdoor guerrilla marketing is when Volkswagen hung cartoon thought bubbles over parked cars of various competitor models in Dubai. The thought bubbles read, “I wish I was a Volkswagen.” 

What are the types of guerrilla marketing?

Three main types of guerrilla marketing are:

Connected Marketing Concepts 

Affiliate Marketing

Affiliate marketing describes the process whereby an affiliate earns a commission for selling the products of another person or company. Here, the affiliate is simply an individual who is motivated to promote a particular product through incentivization. The business whose product is being promoted will gain in terms of sales and marketing from affiliates.

Ambush Marketing

As the name suggests, ambush marketing raises awareness for brands at events in a covert and unexpected fashion. Ambush marketing takes many forms, one common element, the brand advertising their products or services has not paid for the right to do so. Thus, the business doing the ambushing attempts to capitalize on the efforts made by the business sponsoring the event.

Brand Building

Brand building is the set of activities that help companies to build an identity that can be recognized by its audience. Thus, it works as a mechanism of identification through core values that signal trust and that help build long-term relationships between the brand and its key stakeholders.

Brand Equity

The brand equity is the premium that a customer is willing to pay for a product that has all the objective characteristics of existing alternatives, thus, making it different in terms of perception. The premium on seemingly equal products and quality is attributable to its brand equity.

Brand Positioning

Brand positioning is about creating a mental real estate in the mind of the target market. If successful, brand positioning allows a business to gain a competitive advantage. And it also works as a switching cost in favor of the brand. Consumers recognizing a brand might be less prone to switch to another brand.

Business Storytelling

Business storytelling is a critical part of developing a business model. Indeed, the way you frame the story of your organization will influence its brand in the long-term. That’s because your brand story is tied to your brand identity, and it enables people to identify with a company.

Content Marketing

Content marketing is one of the most powerful commercial activities which focuses on leveraging content production (text, audio, video, or other formats) to attract a targeted audience. Content marketing focuses on building a strong brand, but also to convert part of that targeted audience into potential customers.

Digital Marketing

A digital channel is a marketing channel, part of a distribution strategy, helping an organization to reach its potential customers via electronic means. There are several digital marketing channels, usually divided into organic and paid channels. Some organic channels are SEO, SMO, email marketing. And some paid channels comprise SEM, SMM, and display advertising.

Growth Marketing

Growth marketing is a process of rapid experimentation, which in a way has to be “scientific” by keeping in mind that it is used by startups to grow, quickly. Thus, the “scientific” here is not meant in the academic sense. Growth marketing is expected to unlock growth, quickly and with an often limited budget.

Guerrilla Marketing

Guerrilla marketing is an advertising strategy that seeks to utilize low-cost and sometimes unconventional tactics that are high impact. First coined by Jay Conrad Levinson in his 1984 book of the same title, guerrilla marketing works best on existing customers who are familiar with a brand or product and its particular characteristics.

Inbound Marketing

Inbound marketing is a marketing strategy designed to attract customers to a brand with content and experiences that they derive value from. Inbound marketing utilizes blogs, events, SEO, and social media to create brand awareness and attract targeted consumers. By attracting or “drawing in” a targeted audience, inbound marketing differs from outbound marketing which actively pushes a brand onto consumers who may have no interest in what is being offered.

Integrated Marketing

Integrated marketing describes the process of delivering consistent and relevant content to a target audience across all marketing channels. It is a cohesive, unified, and immersive marketing strategy that is cost-effective and relies on brand identity and storytelling to amplify the brand to a wider and wider audience.

Marketing Mix

The marketing mix is a term to describe the multi-faceted approach to a complete and effective marketing plan. Traditionally, this plan included the four Ps of marketing: price, product, promotion, and place. But the exact makeup of a marketing mix has undergone various changes in response to new technologies and ways of thinking. Additions to the four Ps include physical evidence, people, process, and even politics.

Marketing Personas

Marketing personas give businesses a general overview of key segments of their target audience and how these segments interact with their brand. Marketing personas are based on the data of an ideal, fictional customer whose characteristics, needs, and motivations are representative of a broader market segment.

Multi-Channel Marketing

Multichannel marketing executes a marketing strategy across multiple platforms to reach as many consumers as possible. Here, a platform may refer to product packaging, word-of-mouth advertising, mobile apps, email, websites, or promotional events, and all the other channels that can help amplify the brand to reach as many consumers as possible.

Multi-Level Marketing

Multi-level marketing (MLM), otherwise known as network or referral marketing, is a strategy in which businesses sell their products through person-to-person sales. When consumers join MLM programs, they act as distributors. Distributors make money by selling the product directly to other consumers. They earn a small percentage of sales from those that they recruit to do the same – often referred to as their “downline”.

Niche Marketing

A microniche is a subset of potential customers within a niche. In the era of dominating digital super-platforms, identifying a microniche can kick off the strategy of digital businesses to prevent competition against large platforms. As the microniche becomes a niche, then a market, scale becomes an option.

Relationship Marketing

Relationship marketing involves businesses and their brands forming long-term relationships with customers. The focus of relationship marketing is to increase customer loyalty and engagement through high-quality products and services. It differs from short-term processes focused solely on customer acquisition and individual sales.

Sustainable Marketing

Sustainable marketing describes how a business will invest in social and environmental initiatives as part of its marketing strategy. Also known as green marketing, it is often used to counteract public criticism around wastage, misleading advertising, and poor quality or unsafe products.

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