The term guerrilla marketing borrows heavily from the idea of guerrilla warfare where a non-tactical army fights a bigger, more organized force. In the same way, guerrilla marketing is where a smaller company uses scrappy and innovative marketing tactics to level the playing field and capture the attention of their audience. The big pull of a guerrilla marketing strategy is that it needs to be newsworthy to be effective. If consumers aren’t taken by surprise, it’s not guerrilla. The idea is to elicit an emotional reaction from a disruptive and unconventional strategy that will draw an audience to your company, no matter the size or strength of your competition.
Elements of guerrilla marketing
Just like any other marketing strategy, guerrilla marketing has certain elements that make it work. While these elements are similar to any other marketing strategy, they are what specifically makes guerrilla marketing work.
- Timing – For it to truly be guerrilla marketing, it has to surprise your target audience. It works best when it’s at a place and time where your audience least expects it.
- Limited budget - The main element of guerrilla marketing is the limited budget. This strategy is meant to thrive for businesses that don’t have the budget to compete with bigger businesses.
- Execution – With guerrilla marketing, you won’t get another chance to make it work. The execution has to be perfect the first time.
- Authenticity – Authenticity is important for any marketing strategy, but especially for guerrilla marketing. If you’re doing something that’s been done before (or looks like something that’s been done before), it isn’t guerrilla.
Types of guerrilla marketing
Guerrilla marketing can take different various forms and shapes, depending on what you are trying to accomplish. Not all of these would be included in your strategy, but these types are a good place to start planning what you might want to do with your guerrilla marketing. We have a few of the types of guerrilla marketing below:
- Street marketing – Street marketing uses public areas for all of your branding and marketing. Artists might take to the streets to post cryptic messages about their new projects to build buzz. For instance, Arcade Fire utilized a street mural to showcase the release date of a single from their 2013 album Reflektor.
- Ambient marketing – Ambient marketing is all about placing ads and branding in unusual places. This works best when the vehicle of your messaging sticks out in a peculiar way from the surroundings.
- Viral marketing – Viral marketing, likely the most well-known approach, is when your strategy encourages passing a marketing message from one person to another. Much like an actual virus, this strategy takes advantage of the rapid spread of your branding to expose your company to exponentially more people than a regular strategy would.