Today, people are swamped with marketing messages. Everywhere we go both online and off, we get a massive dose of aggressive marketing. How can you cut above all of this noise and get your message to your market?
This has led marketers to think outside the box and develop bold, creative new ideas for getting their marketing to the masses. The buzzword 'guerrilla marketing' is used to refer to these tactics.
What Is Guerrilla Marketing?
Guerilla marketing means marketing that is unconventional. Jay Conrad Levinson, who coined the term, calls it, “The achievement of conventional goals (e.g. profit) using unconventional methods such as investing energy and ideas instead of money.”
It is intended to achieve maximum results for as little cost as possible. This makes it a great alternative for small businesses that are operating on a shoestring budget. A small business can't pump the advertising dollars a big company has into a massive campaign, so it has to leverage its creativity.
The Risks of Guerrilla Marketing
This unconventional approach isn't appropriate for all niches or industries. Part of the point of guerrilla marketing is to ruffle feathers, surprise people, and shake things up. In industries where security is a major issue, such as finance or insurance, it's not such a good idea. Instead of subverting the paradigm, you could show your company to be untrustworthy.
However, for most businesses in retail, it's a great way to pique curiosity and get people interested.
There is no standard for guerrilla marketing since it thrives on creativity. But common methods include creating urban art, turning unused space into art, or making ads that are optical illusions. Some companies set up funny scenarios that are straight out of a hidden camera television show. For example, they might have live people in their window displays.
Other ideas include leaving interesting post-it notes or branded merchandise in public places such as cafes and bars. Humorous or eye-catching stickers can be printed cheaply and put in unexpected places. You can create flyers to hang around town that are in an interesting shape or particularly eye catching. Business cards can be made in wildly creative styles.
Free stuff is often part of guerrilla marketing. The offer of something valuable for free is always an attention grabber. Talk to other businesses and put together a package of free stuff to give away to potential customers.
Finally, a common guerrilla marketing tactic is to throw a party. There's no promotion involved here. Just invite your customers to come and have a good time, thus building a stronger connection with your business.
The idea is to get media attention, so let people know. An effective strategy to boost your guerrilla marketing is to issue a press release each time you employ one of these tactics.
If you're going to try guerrilla marketing, remember that the goal is to surprise and engage, not to insult, offend, annoy, or upset people.
Pat Simes is a Business Strategist, blogger and Founder of Innovative Business Solutions and Innovate Academy. She currently resides in the Midwest and is committed to inspiring and empowering entrepreneurs to transform their vision to reality.