What is Guerrilla Marketing?


The term guerrilla marketing was first used by Jay Conrad Leninson. The term got its inspiration from the covert operation tactic the people of Vietnam had adopted to counter their better equipped opponent. The key here is going for an ambush by surprising the adversary (The Daily Egg, 2018). The same element of surprise has been incorporated by marketing experts to promote the goods and services being provided. So, the basic idea is to offer the potential prospects an experience filled with delight and impress them to the extent where they don’t mind saying yes to a sale proposal (Workzone, 2018).

Marketing method
The trick here is imagination and innovation rather than spending just money.The prime objective of this off-beat marketing method is to achieve the following:

    • Delighting the target audience.
    • Brand promotion and retention (customer level)
    • Feedback from customers.
    • Exploring the scope for referrals.
    • Enhancing profits.
    • Making this an USP of the concerned business.

It has been found that the advertisements displayed on Medias like the radio, television, banner, hoarding, computer or hand device screen (pop-ups) on most occasions are delivered at a time when the recipient is not expecting it. This leads to a situation where these efforts literally go down the drain. There is where the guerrilla marketing strategy comes in (Workzone, 2018).

This strategy is free of any fixed rule or process. The only objective is to ensure that the target audience feels privileged and delighted (Workzone, 2018). This results in a positive response leading to increased word of mouth publicity compared to the existing techniques (The Daily Egg, 2018).

Benefits of the Guerrilla Marketing Tactic
The foremost advantage of this campaign (over classic advertising) is – it is a comparatively economical method than the rest. It involves the use of tolls and resources like a normal stencil or maybe a huge sticker. It could also be a tattoo on someone of the company logo or whatever message the business setup might want to convey to its prospects (Study.com, 2018). These can be conducted during regular public events or even at a party. If organized and done appropriately, the result can be shocking and worth the effort and price (Study.com, 2018).

There is a tremendous scope for creative people. Since understanding and imagination is a key factor, there is scope of employment for such people (Top Interactive Agencies, 2018). Since this is not something on-going, it could easily be conducted on an as and when required basis. So, again cost effective.

The foremost benefit is the word of mouth marketing which till date still stands to be the best means and the most stable form of promotion (Study.com, 2018).

Another benefit of this approach is the ripple effect. There are moments when such campaigns attract the attention of the local media. This results in a second wave of promotion for no cost and effort at all.

Cons of guerrilla marketing:
At times, the message being conveyed might be misinterpreted since the basic of such a campaign is mystery. Therefore, care should be taken to ensure clarity. There could be intervention from the local authorities at times (Wordstream.com, 2018). To avoid that, ensure that proper intimation and permission(s) are acquired before running the show.

How effective is it for big brands?
This strategy can work well for established firms as well if things are done in the right way. However, precaution needs to be taken to ensure that they don’t have a negative effect on the emotions or beliefs of the target audience (Workzone, 2018). Else, there might be a possibility of a back-fire leading to negative results.

A prominent reference of such an incident was the bomb scare. This happened during the marketing campaign of Aqua Teen Hunger Force (a new cartoon network show) in the year 2007. Things took a different turn when LED boards were installed and those looked similar to detonation device(s). These devices were installed all over Massachusetts, Boston as well as in the surrounding cities. The placement was at random and things were all fine throughout the day. After sunset, the LEDs lit up to show the character of the cartoon flaunting the middle finger. It resembled features of explosive devices and caused panic. For this, Turner Broadcasting and Interference, Inc. had to pay almost $2 million as compensation (Marketing?, 2018). No doubt the approach was quite innovative but it’s unfortunate that it took a different turn that no one could anticipated.

How can this approach help the smaller brands?
Since this form of marketing does not involve a huge monetary investment, this can pretty well be the secret formula of a small enterprise (The Daily Egg, 2018). Discussed below are three ways how small companies can benefit from this strategy.

  • Sending across open letters (cold email campaign) – Nobody wants to get anything out of the blue. But, if things are planned properly to ensure that the receivers don’t feel spammed, cold mailing can be a very effective tool for small enterprises. An example would be the challenge given by Neil Patel (Co-founder of CrazyEgg) in the year 2007. He openly condemned the advantages of SEO through a blog. His target was Jason Calacanis. Neil had challenged to prove the latter wrong and offered to share his tactic for free. The challenge was a success as he was able to show that there was an increase in the traffic by 20% (The Daily Egg, 2018).

Examples of Guerrilla strategy marketing
The Coca Cola Happiness Machine: At a mall in Istanbul, Coca Cola had installed a machine that would pop out cans of coca cola (apart from other products of the company) for free. This was aimed at couples who were able to prove their love. Couples found it quite cute. Similarly, Coca Cola came up with the ‘Small World’ campaign to unite India & Pakisthan. The campaign was a success and it received an extraordinary response from the public of both the nations (Pahwa and Pahwa, 2018).

It can be concluded there is absolutely no doubt that this marketing strategy can lead to fantastic outputs. However, this approach would best suit businesses that have an open minded approach and do not hesitate to take moderate risks (Wordstream.com, 2018).

Marketing?, W. (2018). What Is Guerrilla Marketing?. [online] Creative Guerrilla Marketing. Available at: http://www.creativeguerrillamarketing.com/what-is-guerrilla-marketing/ [Accessed 21 Dec. 2018].

Pahwa, A. and Pahwa, A. (2018). What is Guerrilla Marketing? Explanation, Strategies & Examples. [online] Feedough. Available at: https://www.feedough.com/guerrilla-marketing-strategies-examples/ [Accessed 21 Dec. 2018].

Study.com. (2018). What Is Guerrilla Marketing? – Definition, Strategies & Examples – Video & Lesson Transcript | Study.com. [online] Available at: https://study.com/academy/lesson/what-is-guerrilla-marketing-definition-strategies-examples.html [Accessed 21 Dec. 2018].

The Daily Egg. (2018). What is Guerilla Marketing? The Crazy Egg Glossary. [online] Available at: https://www.crazyegg.com/blog/glossary/glossary-guerilla-marketing/ [Accessed 21 Dec. 2018].

Top Interactive Agencies. (2018). 10 Brilliant Examples of Guerrilla Marketing Campaigns | Top Interactive Agencies. [online] Available at: https://www.topinteractiveagencies.com/digital/agency/articles/10-brilliant-examples-of-guerrilla-marketing-campaigns/ [Accessed 21 Dec. 2018].

Wordstream.com. (2018). 20+ Jaw-Dropping Guerrilla Marketing Examples. [online] Available at: https://www.wordstream.com/blog/ws/2014/09/22/guerrilla-marketing-examples [Accessed 21 Dec. 2018].

Workzone. (2018). What is Guerrilla Marketing: Examples, Advantages & Strategies. [online] Available at: https://www.workzone.com/blog/guerrilla-marketing/ [Accessed 21 Dec. 2018].

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