Guerilla marketing tactics and tips

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Guerilla marketing embraces scrappy, non-traditional campaign tactics designed to help brands break through the noise without breaking the bank. Tactics could include street art or performances, viral online events, or undercover stunts meant to disguise any hints of marketing. Whether direct or deft, the goal of these campaigns is the same: Find out the spaces — digital and physical — your target customers already inhabit and insert your brand into those spaces in unexpected ways.

Guerilla marketing tactics.

Like other marketing methods, guerilla marketing seeks to communicate with surprise, or elicit a response from a consumer. The difference between “regular” marketing and guerilla is in context. Guerilla marketing shuns commercial ad slots in order to occupy spaces, and particularly physical spaces, where audiences don’t expect to find advertising. Where it does employ traditional venues, it does so in groundbreaking ways.

Ambient marketing

Start by exploring locations, items, or other elements that already exist in the public sphere but do not exist for the sake of advertising. The foundation of ambient marketing is not to obstruct the viewer’s personal space, but to create intrigue as they pass by. This can be an easy first-step into guerilla tactics, and a natural way to run a few audience-focused experiments. Bored Panda shows a few examples, including a bench in a park that appears simple until you approach and see that it is shaped like a large Kit Kat chocolate bar.

Stealth marketing

Stealth marketing, in contrast, allows marketers a softer touch by downplaying the fact that consumers are interacting with an ad in the first place. The classic example here is product placement. Done right, it allows marketers to fit their product into a movie, event, image, or other attention-grabbing medium in a way that both feels natural and builds association to something consumers already love. Another way to think about stealth marketing is as indirect marketing, and it does not have to be a massive undertaking. Selling T-shirts? Find a creator you love with a wide audience and ask them to make a video wearing one of your bestsellers. Regardless of who you team up with, just be sure their audience overlaps with yours and you both get something out of the collaboration.

Viral marketing

The point of using viral marketing is to get the consumers to spread the word for you. Success hinges on engagement. Marketers use tools, such as social media platforms, to send out specially crafted messages to their audience. These messages get the audience to participate and share alongside the trend. This includes creating and editing video content, posting or reposting images, or recreating and reposting as a trend.

Grassroots marketing

Working intentionally with a small target audience is a great way to stretch your creative dollars. An example might include a brand offering free products to a group of people they consider influential to their market in return for a promotional photo or video. These promotions might be “unboxing” videos posted on social media or discounts for good reviews of the product on the company’s website or social media pages. Here again, the trick is ensuring your audience overlaps with your influencers’ audiences.

Street marketing

If you want to shake things up, take advertising off the screen and put it into the physical world, getting your products in front of a fresh audience. In one now-famous example, promoters of the movie IT (based on the Stephen King novel) attached red balloons to city street drains ahead of the 2017 premiere — a stunt that doubled as ambient marketing. Graffiti, flash mobs, ambushes, and street performers have long grabbed the attention of busy pedestrians. It only makes sense that marketers are turning to them as vehicles for building brand awareness.

Guerilla marketing tips

Deploying a successful guerilla marketing campaign hinges on your ability to be surprising and authentic. It’s about generating buzz and interest for your brand creatively. Consider the following tips for your first unique campaign.

Create Content

While guerilla marketing happens both in the real world as well as online, your guerilla campaign needs to be as well-crafted and shareable as possible. This means that if you plan to deploy your campaign in the real world, you may need to consider how people can capture and share your content on social media.

If you plan to deploy your campaign digitally, consider:

A successful guerilla campaign is not scalable or replicable — the execution has to be on-point on your first go.

Understand your audiences

To be truly authentic, you must know your brand and the audience you are targeting.

Get out of your comfort zone

There is no use in creating something authentic if it doesn’t turn heads. Generate news and views by rejecting a business-as-usual mindset and pursuing bold, unique ideas other brands will have a hard time replicating.

Make it interactive

Create an impact by involving your audience in your campaign. One of the essential concepts of creating guerilla marketing is curating an experience that imprints on the consumer. By including your audience as an integral part of the experience, guerilla marketers can make a lasting impact.

Pick the right location

Consider the time and space that you will use to reach your audience. A guerilla marketing campaign is typically a one-shot endeavor, so careful planning is crucial. The last thing you want is to become an inconvenience or annoyance to your audience.

Guerilla marketing requires you to be both innovative and bold. Most of all, it requires you to know your audience better than most traditional approaches to marketing.