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.”
- 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.