Guerilla marketing is quite the phenomenon in the advertising world. Coined in 1984 by Jay Conrad Levinson, this form of advertising relies less on big marketing budgets and more so on creating a message for consumers that is creative, interactive, and most importantly, of little cost to the company.
The technique has been employed by companies such as Nike, IKEA and many others over the last few years but was initially geared toward those with less name recognition. For the newcomers and upstarts out there, guerilla marketing can be risky, but certainly worth the reward and exposure.
Above all, guerilla marketing campaigns, in their purest form, are inexpensive. Rather than spending millions on billboards and other big budget adverts, small companies can make use of stickers, custom wallpaper, and in some cases, graffiti to get their name out to the public.
If you and your company don’t condone the use of graffiti, or simply can’t afford more grandiose installations, there are still plenty of safe and cost-effective guerilla marketing tactics that will suit your needs.
- Reverse Graffiti: Graffiti artists like Banksy have guts. They’re willing to risk life and limb for their art, but if you’re unable to, reverse graffiti is a great alternative. All you need is a power washer and some imagination to makeover the dirtiest of walls with your logo.
- Yarn Bombing: Knitting may seem pretty tame, but through the art of yarn bombing, you can resuscitate areas that need a little life. It is still technically illegal, but unlike other graffiti that’s permanent, it’s easily removed if necessary.
- Projections: Projections are fairly new in the guerilla marketing scene but are undeniably effective. You will need a permit in order to broadcast in a lot of areas, but when it comes to drawing a crowd, projecting images or a video on the side of a building is a good way to do so.
Going viral is all the rage in the 21st century. Whether it’s a clever YouTube video, or a well-crafted tweet, producing media that is widely appreciated and shared is an excellent way to reach your target audience. You can’t promise that everything you put out will automatically be trending all over the world, but you can better your chances by getting to know the niche you’re a part of.
Guerilla marketing should always represent the population it intends to reach. In other words, it should reflect those that are creating it and those that are consuming it. This usually requires a great deal of research and a sense of immersion in a particular niche. If you’re trying to take your brand to the next level, spending the time to understand the culture that is attached to your company is important.
- Bloggers: Bloggers get a bad rap sometimes, but they’re often tastemakers in their particular niches. Read what they’re writing about and reach out to them. If you can get a shout out on a popular blog, expect a lot of attention from others in the scene.
- Competitors: Before establishing yourself or your company, look at what others are doing around you, especially your competitors. You never want to blatantly imitate someone, but if something seems to be working for them, put your own spin on it and see where it goes.
- Predecessors: History has a way of repeating itself. Study those that came before you and where they went wrong. If you can avoid certain mistakes they made early on, it will only lead to bigger gains later.
At the end of the day, guerilla marketing is fun. It’s hands-on, it’s a worthwhile creative endeavor and it’s an opportunity to breathe life into your brand. Campaigns are challenging to complete at times due to the amount of work required, but are definitely worth the extra effort.
It may seem like a daunting task to break into a market as new blood. Nobody wants to be the new kid on the block, especially in a business setting where money is on the line. But, there is always hope for the little guys so long as they’re able to reinvent the game.
Guerilla marketing is a way to do this; it helps you stand out among the competition. By creating memorable advertising, you can reach audiences that you never thought possible. It may be a lot of work at first, but your labors won’t go unnoticed.
Photo by crochetlatte
Chris Garrett is a freelance writer who has worked in marketing for many years. He currently writes for MegaPrint, producers of high quality commercial décor.