15 Psychologically Based Facts on How and Why Guerrilla Marketing Works

People are so used to having messages, information, and products thrown at them every day that it’s easy to become numb to it all. Guerrilla marketing, however, wakes up your customers from drowning in traditional, mundane marketing tactics and uses fresh, novel ways which actually make a lasting impression.

But there’s more to guerrilla marketing than trendy murals on city walls and slapping brand stickers on street signs.

Guerrilla marketing is a way to get your message inside the deepest part of your customer’s brain and wake them up from the droning buzz of mainstream marketing… and it’s success is backed by psychology.

These are the 15 psychologically based facts by Jay Conrad Levinson, the actual dude who coined the term “guerrilla marketing,” on how and why this strategy really works. Understand these and your marketing campaign will stand out from the rest, and translate into sales.

1) Decisions are made in the unconscious mind

Even though we can consciously choose when to think about or say something, our brains have made decisions way before we are even able to comprehend them.

2) We know that repetition can access the unconscious mind

Aka: repeat your message over and over and over. That doesn’t mean you have to literally copy and paste the exact marketing tactics you’ve used before, but the essence of your message needs to be there every time.

3) People are either right brained or left brained

The right side of your brain is where creativity is born and the left side is more analytical. Right brained people respond better to emotional and personal appeals while left brained people like knowing logical and mathematical reasons behind something. Guerrilla marketing includes both sides of the brain and appeals to both sides.

4) Businesses succeed by forming both a human bond and a business bond with customers

Connect with your potential customers as human beings before trying to sell them anything. People appreciate when you get to know them aside from the message or product you’re trying to promote because emotional appeal is a strong marketing tactic.

5) All marketing communicates two messages

Your stated message is what you actually verbalize and your meta-message is how your message looks visually. Make sure both of your messages work together so your marketing can speak the loudest.

6) Increase your share of mind to increase your share of market

Your share of market is the place your business occupies in your respective industry and your share of mind is your business’s brand making itself a household, reliable name in the minds of your customers.

7) There are two schools of marketing

Freudian Marketing states that purchasing preferences take place in the unconscious mind with colors, visuals, and tactile materials subconsciously helping. Skinnerian Marketing is based upon detailed experiments that concluded a cue triggered people to engage in activity that offers a reward, like posting a certain Instagram picture to get likes. Guerrilla marketers choose both.

8) Guerrilla marketers use soft steps

Soft steps include free videos, free pens, infographics, newsletters and stickers amongst many others. Soft steps are used because marketers know it takes customers a little while before making the hard step of actually buying.

9) Color increases retention to buy by 57%

The colors you use when marketing can make or break a purchase. Here is the quick and dirty on color psychology:

  • Red: creates a sense of power and authority and holds customer attention the best
  • Blue: makes things seem trustworthy and is easy on the eyes
  • Green: creates a sense of health, goodness, and money
  • Yellow: generates optimism, positivity, and happiness
  • Orange: gives off energy, ambition, and a new attitude
  • Black: shows stability, strength, and intelligence
  • White: ensures purity, cleanliness, and safety

10) Use as many non-verbal gestures as you can

Written words are used so often in marketing campaigns that we become desensitized to the messages they’re trying to send. If you’re marketing tactic includes a video or picture of someone, make sure the non-verbal messages they’re sending evoke just as much emotion as words would–if not, more!

11) Blend customer insight with product insight

Feelings, opinions, sentiments from your customer combined with feedback about your product itself will help make your product that much better. Your product can be great in your eyes but you have to make sure your customer likes it too.

12) Make each of your customers feel special and necessary

Make your customers feel like you are targeting them specifically and personally by taking the time to listen to their questions, get their feedback, and let them know their business matters. When you make a person feel important, they will feel more obliged to return the favor and buy.

13) Genuinely show interest in your customer’s success

When you show that you care about your customer’s success, your return on customer investment in the long-run will pay off, your brand will be more trusted and you will gain repeat customers for a lifetime!

14) Never be fully content with your marketing strategies

Work to always create better ways of reaching your customer base so your work doesn’t become stagnant. Be careful not to veer too far off your brand or product purpose, but don’t be afraid to take risks and always be working toward something “better.”

15) If facing a recession, rely on your current customers and offer valuable guarantees

If your offer is good enough, people will still be willing to buy. Stretch your guarantees and throw in extra incentives to improve your deals and make it hard for a customer to turn away from your product.


Before the term guerrilla marketing was coined by Jay Conrad Levinson in 1979, marketing strategies were successful but we didn’t have as much research on what emotionally stirred and moved customers like we do today.

Now that we know the psychologically rooted fundamentals of marketing, we know what is appealing, convincing, and memorable.
And with that, we can create a truly successful marketing strategy.

Now check out these 42 Kickass Ambient Marketing Examples to get some inspiration, and then Start Promoting Your Business with These 10 Guerrilla Marketing Ideas.


Tag us at @madefreshly on your Twitter and Instagram to share your creative guerrilla marketing in action!

Written by Rachel Daley

Rachel is the resident Content Fairy at MadeFreshly, the ecommerce platform that makes your passion pay off. Click here to get her actionable tips and inspiration for entrepreneurs every week!

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