Marketing and advertising don’t always need to cost a fortune, not even a small one. New small business owners often turn to guerrilla marketing tactics as an intelligent and cost-effective way to run promotions. This guide will help you understand which guerrilla marketing strategies would work best for your business.
What is guerrilla marketing?
Guerrilla marketing is an unconventional and typically low-cost strategy for advertising your product or service. It aims to capture the attention of potential customers using a fresh and creative approach that generates buzz and excitement around what you’re selling.
Common features of guerrilla marketing
The most important ingredient in a successful guerrilla marketing campaign is passion. You need to be excited about what you’re selling in order to get others excited about it. Guerrilla marketing also requires you to think boldly and creatively.
Guerrilla campaigns are usually more economical to run than traditional marketing campaigns. This means you can try a few different approaches and see what works best.
Successful guerrilla marketing campaigns are audacious and original. They aim to take people by surprise and grab their attention and engagement. Getting this right can be a challenge to start with. When you do find a format that works, you can keep replicating it until it stops yielding positive results.
Examples of successful guerrilla marketing strategies
One of the great characteristics of guerrilla marketing is that it can be as elaborate or as simple as you want it to be.
For example, one of the most famous examples of guerrilla marketing is Coca-Cola’s Happiness Machine. This saw a member of staff hide inside a (customised) vending machine. When customers bought a drink, the staff member popped out and gave them a surprise instead.
The campaign was initially run in the US but Coca-Cola later brought it to London. When they did, they changed the surprises to suit a UK audience. Companies running guerrilla marketing campaigns in different parts of the UK could benefit from using a similar approach. In other words, tailor the campaign to the local area as much as you can.
At the other end of the scale, when metal band Body Count released their album Bloodlust, they publicised it with a very simple guerrilla marketing campaign in London (and various other cities in Europe). Their promotional team used stencils and chalk (not paint) to create promotional artwork overnight. In London, they decorated a total of 16, very strategic, locations.
The same image and message were used throughout but the different locations created different backdrops. As the band hoped, the eye-catching displays were quickly photographed and posted to social media. This led to the campaign going viral online.
A step-by-step guide to guerrilla marketing
If you’d like to give guerrilla marketing a try, here are some steps you should follow.
Think about your brand
What kind of image and values do you want to project? Who is your target market?
Host a brainstorming session. Get everyone together and give them a board (real or digital) for their ideas. Invite participants to throw out as many ideas as they can think of — no matter how crazy. Nothing is off-limits at this stage of the process.
Hone these ideas down to a list of options that could, at least potentially, be implemented in the real world
If in doubt, keep an idea in but take out anything that’s clearly unworkable for any reason, including budget.
Discuss how these ideas might work in practice
Think about the costs associated with each one, what it will take to pull it off, how many people it will reach, what it will say about your brand and any potential risks. In other words, analyse every idea from every angle. It’s important not to rush this process — give each idea time to develop.
Choose your idea and think about where to implement it
You want to achieve maximum effect for minimum expenditure, so location is important. Where are the crowds? More specifically, where are the crowds of your potential customers?
Think about how to transfer your campaign to social media
In particular, decide if you will aim to promote it yourself or if you will rely on other people to do that for you.
How do I know if my guerrilla marketing is working?
Once you’ve run your guerrilla marketing campaign, you can use sales and customer data from your point-of-sale system to get a 360-degree view of its impact.
Square’s free point-of-sale app comes bundled with powerful analytics and reporting tools you can view in Square Dashboard. These tools should help you make informed decisions about how well your guerrilla marketing is working and hence whether it might make sense to improve upon it or try something else.
Ultimately, guerrilla marketing is about having fun. If your campaign reflects your passion for your business, chances are good that passion will show up in whatever campaign you choose to run.