If marketing is warfare, guerilla marketing is the most eccentric combat strategy. It is an unconventional way of marketing for brand awareness among large audiences. The term was first used in 1984 by Jay Conrad Levinson in his book ‘Guerilla Advertising’. It was inspired by guerilla warfare which is a kind of irregular tactic strategy practiced by the armed civilians.
Guerilla marketing is commonly used to drive public attention and brand awareness by promoting a product or service using unconventional methods to evoke wonder, shock or surprise among the audience. This marketing strategy is aimed at striking the consumer at a more subjective and memorable level.
Guerilla Marketing is Creative
Guerilla Marketing is an investment of time and effort. The real investment is intellect and creativity. This alternative to traditional marketing thrives on imagination and original thinking. In 2002 Sony ran a unique marketing campaign, where hired actors would roam around the city asking people to take a photo of them. During the interaction, actors take out their new phones, and would start talking widely about their features and uses. This was guerilla marketing, which is particularly known as undercover marketing or stealth marketing. Some other types of guerilla marketing are as follows:
- Reverse graffiti
- Stencil graffiti
- Flash mobs
- Treasure hunts
- Publicity stunts
Guerilla Marketing: Urban Environment & Online
One of the most effective marketing strategies is associated with the existing environment and having physical presence or interactions with the public. Making use of the urban environments or spaces around the public is part of clever guerrilla marketing strategies. On the other hand, the whole world has become one, connected online with the global village concept. As the whole marketing game has acquired its online presence, guerilla marketing has also found its way into the internet. Some of our daily interactions with online guerilla marketing campaigns are:
- Creative landing pages
- Viral videos
- User-generated content competitions
Guerilla Marketing is Budget-Friendly
Advertising and marketing don't have to be expensive. As the idea of guerilla marketing is to create a buzz through word of mouth or social media, this type of marketing demands creativity more than investing money. It is perfect for small and medium businesses to promote their products and services. Guerilla marketing is fairly low-cost in nature. At the same time, for big companies, it is a high-risk, high-reward strategy. Big companies are already established, hence they would always go for proven conventional marketing methods to avoid risks. If it's successful, guerilla marketing can capture more market share for large companies. But if it fails, it could damage the whole company's brand image.
Pros & Cons of Guerilla Marketing
Every marketing tactic has a risk factor. Similarly, guerrilla marketing to has advantages and disadvantages.
- They are cheap to execute, whether a simple graffiti or sticker, guerilla marketing is cheaper compared to conventional advertising.
- It relies heavily on word-of-mouth marketing. It makes people talk about the company or brand.
- Similar to word of mouth, the publicity guerrilla marketing gets is like a snowball. If the event or activity goes viral, it will be picked up by local news sources and bring even more publicity.
- One of the most common disadvantages of guerrilla marketing is authority intervention. Some events/ activities may require permissions such as street graffiti, flash mobs, treasure hunts etc.
- Also, unpredicted events may ruin the campaigns, like rainy weather, or traffic jams.
The changing marketing environment has gracefully adapted to guerilla marketing. More creative ideas are being exposed to the digital world. From guerrilla marketing in crypto to marketing in the metaverse, things have drastically changed in the marketing landscape. The future of guerilla marketing is as exciting as the future of digital marketing.