At its best Guerrilla marketing is a low-cost way of boosting your company profile, as well as profits. At its worst, you efforts could fall flat, or even damage your company’s reputation.
So how do you avoid the latter? Guerrilla marketing has been around since the term was coined by Jay Conrad Levinson in his 1984 book, Guerrilla Marketing. Essentially it is an advertising strategy using unusual techniques to create a buzz around a product or company, without blowing the budget.
However, in recent times, big budget is often what is needed as large corporations and charities use it to get their message across. A recent example got LG international coverage for their television screens. Placing screens inside an elevator, when people got in the screens showed the floor falling away – scaring the elevator passengers, and getting LG the kind of viral coverage unheard of through traditional marketing.
On the face of it, this was a relatively small layout for the company considering how much attention they received from the world’s press outlets. But for small businesses this kind of financial layout isn’t possible.
It needn’t be that way. For small businesses, especially those who know the audience they want to target, guerrilla marketing can be also be effective, you just have to be more imaginative.
For example, a dental firm wrapped paper gums and tearaway teeth around telegraph poles. Passers-by could tear off the teeth to get the dentists details. It was fun, creative, and easy for people to interact with.
Another simple example of guerrilla marketing is to have a series of arrows, feet chalked onto the pavement, leading people to your shop front, or office. This is where you have to be careful though. There has to be a pay-off for the inquisitive person following your trail… a give-away or some money off your promotion line. Don’t leave people hanging or you’ll do more harm than good.
The trick to good guerrilla marketing is to leave people smiling, or to provoke a positive reaction. Toothpaste manufacturer Colgate used wooden stick inside an ice cream in a way that surprised and gently reminded people to clean their teeth. As the ice cream was eaten the hidden part of the stick was revealed to be a wooden toothbrush. Along the side were the words ‘don’t forget’. Simple, yet brilliant.
It’s all about surprising people. Taking an ordinary situation and turning into something that makes people stop and take notice. Wherever you find lots of people gathering is the best place to start. Yet even the traditional marketing tool, the carrier bag, can be turned on its head.
Guerrilla Marketing is an established tool, so get creative, look around the net for inspiration, and make the most of your marketing budget.