Take It To The Streets

In the world of marketing, the types of strategies for reaching consumers are ever evolving and changing. Companies of all types and sizes are fine-tuning the perfect marketing mix for them. Today, everything from traditional media, such as newspapers and magazine ads, to digital marketing, such as Facebook ads and influencer outreach, is available to brands. And many companies are now looking into “non-traditional” routes of marketing to have a greater impact when distributing their message.

On the non-traditional side of things, there’s guerrilla marketing—a low cost, disruptive, and impactful way of promoting your brand, product, or service. Guerrilla marketing is derived from the term “guerrilla warfare” in which “the little guy” uses unconventional tactics to win against their opponent. Similarly, in marketing, guerrilla marketing catches the public’s attention and typically does so in a very creative and unconventional way—something different than traditional or even digital marketing.

Guerrilla marketing is an important tactic for a number of reasons. One of the top being that the need for face-to-face interaction to build relationships with consumers is still very relevant, even in our digital world. Businesses have to constantly be innovating their marketing strategies in order to break through the cyber clutter and make a lasting impression. Physical interaction through guerrilla marketing tactics and campaigns has greater influencing power than traditional passive advertising.

What is Guerrilla Marketing Exactly?

The beauty of guerrilla marketing is that it can take many forms—everything from street marketing to ambient marketing; ambush marketing to viral marketing; grassroots marketing to wild posting to flash mobs, and more. There really is no limit to what you can do when it comes to guerrilla marketing.

However, some of these strategies are riskier than others, such as ambush marketing, for example. This approach leverages the success of one event and capitalizes on it without being officially part of the main attraction, i.e. setting up a pop-up shop outside of a concert where you know there will be a large crowd. This can be risky when dealing with large events that have paying sponsors who’ve invested a substantial amount of money to participate.
Each form of guerrilla marketing has their own set of advantages and limitations. Let’s take a closer look at each of these strategies:

Advantages and Disadvantages

Each form of guerrilla marketing has their own set of advantages and limitations. Let’s take a closer look at each of these strategies:

  • Ambush Marketing
    Ambush marketing, as mentioned above, takes advantage of existing high traffic events such as concerts, festivals, and conferences—and then tags along in hopes of capturing the existing audience’s attention. SXSW tends to attract innovative guerrilla marketing campaigns because of the immense audience it brings—providing the perfect platform for a company looking to make an impact.
  • Flash Mobs
    Flash mobs are coordinated groups of people that unexpectedly start a choreographed dance in public spaces. Some are paid actors, others join in, but the end result (when done well) is a contagiously fun tactic that has serious viral power. In 2009, T-Mobile did a flash mob advertisement at the Liverpool Street Station in London, which has garnered more than 40 million views on YouTube.
  • Grassroots
    Grassroots marketing is focused on one-on-one interaction and usually targets a very specific audience or demographic. Brands look to connect and engage with individuals in order to influence their perception of the brand, build relationships, and make a lasting impression. In one grassroots marketing campaign, WestJet and “Santa” surveyed passengers prior to boarding asking what Christmas gift they’d most like to receive during the holidays. WestJet employees then rushed out while the plane was airborne to buy those gifts and deliver them to passengers.
  • Street Marketing
    Street marketing takes place quite literally in the streets of public places. The campaigns are interactive and usually involve a team of brand ambassadors that are directly engaging with people on behalf of the company and promoting a specific message or action. One brand that does this regularly is Prego with their taste test commercial asking store shoppers which sauce they prefer.
  • Viral Marketing
    Viral marketing, just like a virus, spreads exponentially by design. The goal is to create shareable content that organically snowballs. Perhaps some of the most famous viral marketing content is Dove’s Real Beauty campaign. In 2013, their viral video using artist sketches to prove that “You’re more beautiful than you think” garnered more than 67 million views and more than 12,000 comments on YouTube—without pushing a product.
  • Wild Posting
    Wild posting refers to static poster campaigns that are posted in high traffic urban areas without any real permission. These areas can be lamp posts, alleys, sides of buildings, bulletin boards, parks, etc.

Guerrilla marketing is a relatively low-cost marketing effort. For these types of campaigns, the costs are substantially less than billboards and traditional advertising because you are utilizing street teams, projections, or impactful images in unexpected places to grab the attention of the public. Campaigns usually take place over a shorter timeframe as well so the goal is big impact in less time.

How Do You Choose The Right CTA For Your Business?

Guerrilla marketing can also be an alternative way to implement a specific call-to-action (CTA). This CTA can support your already existing online efforts, but rather than measure impressions and clicks, you would measure traffic and revenue. Some examples of CTAs that work well for these types of campaigns are:

  • Enter To Win
  • Sign Up To Receive X-Amount Off Your First Purchase
  • Share With A Friend
  • Download Now

In each of these examples, the messaging is concise and clear when done effectively. When it comes to a call-to-action, the more straightforward and easy to understand, the better.

If your end goal is collecting emails to build up a list, a good CTA would be “Enter to win.” This provides some value and purpose behind the consumer pulling the trigger and giving their email. Say your goal is simply to see an increase in revenue, then offering a percentage off or discount on purchases within a specific timeline will allow you to compare a lift in sales in conjunction with the campaign.

Some Awesome Examples Of Guerrilla Marketing

As more and more companies look at unique and creative ways to get their brand and messaging out there, we see more and more types of guerrilla marketing campaigns that are having an impact. Here are three examples of awesome guerrilla marketing campaigns:

    • Ex Machina
      The 2015 movie Ex Machina executed a grassroots marketing campaign at SXSW by way of the popular dating app Tinder. They created a fake profile for the main character, Ava, and started innocent conversations with people who matched with her on the app. The campaign led up to the premiere of the film that weekend and using SXSW as an ambush platform was a stroke of genius. Tinder has since shut down fake accounts—this is definitely not the way the app was intended to be used—but the movie’s out-of-the-box thinking connected them with real people and got the word out about the movie.

Ex Machina
The 2015 movie Ex Machina executed a grassroots marketing campaign at SXSW by way of the popular dating app Tinder. They created a fake profile for the main character, Ava, and started innocent conversations with people who matched with her on the app. The campaign led up to the premiere of the film that weekend and using SXSW as an ambush platform was a stroke of genius. Tinder has since shut down fake accounts—this is definitely not the way the app was intended to be used—but the movie’s out-of-the-box thinking connected them with real people and got the word out about the movie.

    • Mophie
      Another great example from SXSW is Mophie’s #MophieRescue campaign that worked in collaboration with the Saint Bernard Rescue Foundation to raise funds and awareness. They created a small Rescue Lodge outfitted with several very adorable St. Bernard dogs. Ambassadors were handing out small flyers talking about #MophieRescue and there were also flyers posted all around town on poles (a wild posting and grassroots hybrid campaign). Consumers tweeted @mophie using #MophieRescue with their current location and a screenshot of their smartphone’s battery level for a chance to get one of these adorable canines to come to their rescue with a battery pack.

Mophie
Another great example from SXSW is Mophie’s #MophieRescue campaign that worked in collaboration with the Saint Bernard Rescue Foundation to raise funds and awareness. They created a small Rescue Lodge outfitted with several very adorable St. Bernard dogs. Ambassadors were handing out small flyers talking about #MophieRescue and there were also flyers posted all around town on poles (a wild posting and grassroots hybrid campaign). Consumers tweeted @mophie using #MophieRescue with their current location and a screenshot of their smartphone’s battery level for a chance to get one of these adorable canines to come to their rescue with a battery pack.

Sharpie
Remember writing on your friend’s cast when they broke a bone? Sharpie played on that childhood memory most of us have probably had in their 2009 interactive billboard campaign. These billboards had photos of a broken arm in a cast and encouraged people who were waiting for a bus or walking by the area to grab an imitation Sharpie marker and write on the digital cast. Nostalgic and interactive—this was a big win.

    • Snapchat
      The social media network built a perceived demand over their Snap Spectacles with smart marketing and public relations. As a part of their campaign, “Snapbots” traveled around the country with vending machine pop-up shops in various cities. Until recently, the Snap Specs were only available from these vending machines—often dropped with little to no notice—causing lines to wrap by the thousands as crowds gathered to buy a pair of the $130 frames.

Snapchat
The social media network built a perceived demand over their Snap Spectacles with smart marketing and public relations. As a part of their campaign, “Snapbots” traveled around the country with vending machine pop-up shops in various cities. Until recently, the Snap Specs were only available from these vending machines—often dropped with little to no notice—causing lines to wrap by the thousands as crowds gathered to buy a pair of the $130 frames.

    • BMW
      BMW: Car maker BMW ran a “reverse April Fool’s” campaign in New Zealand. They actually ran simple ads in local newspapers inviting people to visit the dealership for a free car. The ad was titled “April Fool’s Sale” and most thought it was a joke—but it wasn’t! A reader came to the dealership and actually won a car while BMW filmed it in real time. This is a great example of viral, grassroots marketing that was a hit on YouTube.

BMW
BMW: Car maker BMW ran a “reverse April Fool’s” campaign in New Zealand. They actually ran simple ads in local newspapers inviting people to visit the dealership for a free car. The ad was titled “April Fool’s Sale” and most thought it was a joke—but it wasn’t! A reader came to the dealership and actually won a car while BMW filmed it in real time. This is a great example of viral, grassroots marketing that was a hit on YouTube.

Best Practices For Guerrilla Marketing

Producing and successfully executing creative marketing campaigns are increasingly challenging as new technologies, brands, and industries grow. First and foremost, the message has to be simple. Whether the goal is to change the perception of an existing brand or launch a new one to the market, be sure to keep the messaging clear and easy to understand.

There are a lot of variables in disruptive interaction, such as emotional triggers, first impressions, and the element of surprise. Those can easily be misconstrued negatively in an unintentional way, or be confusing to people in general. An example of this is when the Jamaica Tourist Board launched an ambient marketing campaign that involved giant stress balls placed around New York City to allow people to “squeeze their burdens away.” Not only were the stress balls unsqueezable, but they were also a massive eyesore and only targeted potential tourists in hopes of them visiting Jamaica on their next trip. That’s a great way of leaving a sour taste in the public eye and essentially serve no purpose.

While Jamaica’s misstep gives you a reason to approach guerrilla marketing with caution, it’s still important to be creative with your campaigns. The only way to really make an impact is to catch people off guard, make them notice, and stop them in their tracks. It’s not an easy thing to do but it’s not impossible with the right messaging, placement, and audience. With thorough research and understanding of your target audience and a clearly defined strategy to communicate your key message, a successful guerrilla marketing campaign can be achieved.

Conclusion:

As you can see, guerrilla marketing can be as little or as much as you want it to be. This type of marketing can be a hyper-effective way of communicating a simple message for brands of all sizes and across all industries. It is creative, disruptive, and often involves trailblazing strategies. A well thought out campaign can have viral appeal through social media as well as a one-on-one grassroots connection with new customers. Creativity is king here, think outside the box and watch the magic happen!

NOT QUITE READY?

No sweat. Let’s get to know each other a little better. We will send you all the details on what makes Hawke, Hawke.