November 15th, 2018

Guerrilla Marketing: Innovative Tactics to Build Brand Awareness

You’ve heard the term. You’ve seen some examples. It’s everywhere, and sometimes it’s really memorable. Sometimes it generates buzz — a lot of buzz.

The term originated with Jay Conrad Levinson’s 1983 book ‘Guerrilla Marketing’ and has blown up into its own genre. Give it a Google and you’ll see some mind blowing examples.

So, what exactly is Guerrilla Marketing?

Basically, Guerrilla Marketing has become Out of Home advertising, outside of the box — way outside of the box. It even has sub-genres: ambient, ambush, stealth, viral, and street marketing.

It’s unexpected. It’s eye-catching. It’s clever.

Red Bull went viral when 8 million viewers on YouTube watched Felix Baumgartner set a 2012  skydiving record by jumping from 128,100 feet for the Red Bull Stratos campaign.

How’s that going to work for you?

Guerrilla marketing can be effective without going viral or attracting news crews. Focus on your unique selling proposition — your USP. What sets your business apart from every other one in the world? You’re a husband and wife team — a decorated vet — a former sports star — an average-looking good-hearted soul. Pick an angle and work it.

Go beyond what’s comfortable.

If you’re a former high school sports star, become your team’s biggest fan. Hire the cheer leaders and athletes to wash cars for free. Run ads celebrating the game’s MVP. Have every one of your staff wear your school’s colors on game day. Give 5% off for every touchdown or goal scored.

If you’re a veteran, park a tank in front of your shop. Fly the biggest flag. Give a 20% discount to other vets. Make Memorial Day and Veterans Day your days. Hand out flags on the Fourth of July. Paint the side of your building with a patriotic mural.

If you’re just a good-hearted soul, buy ten dozen cases of girl scout cookies and have the girls give them out to passersby with a nice note from you stuck to every box.

What’s guerrilla about that? Everything. It’s outside the normal marketing channels and it sets you apart.

If you’ve got zillions of dollars, you can send a daredevil into the stratosphere. You can paint the tallest building in your town chartreuse with your logo in purple. You can wrap busses to look like a shark chasing a goldfish. But if your budget’s a little more earthbound, just think outside of the regular channels.

Pay the city to rent a block of parking meters and bag them with your logo for one Saturday a month.

Mailers, inserts, radio, Out-of-Home, print, bus wraps etc. are all great ways to keep your brand in the public eye but it’s the unexpected campaigns that make those tried and true channels really pay off.

Here’s where consistency is key.

If you really did paint the town’s tallest building chartreuse (you’re awesome), your mailers, outdoor boards, and business cards better be the same color. If you’re the town’s favorite ex-quarterback, every piece of collateral has to call back to that fact. If you paid off the girl scouts because you’re really nice, um…call us and we’ll make that sing.

And don’t let up. Advertising is a long-term investment. It takes time and repetition to build momentum.

Whatever you do, grab attention. Seth Godin, in his book ‘Purple Cow,’ says that if you’re driving by a thousand cows and one of them is purple, that’s the cow you’re going to slow down and stare at.

How can you make your business stand out?

Ryan Holiday, when he was the director of marketing for American Apparel, actually vandalized his own tastelessly provocative outdoor boards and blamed it on protestors to generate controversy and buzz. It worked. Don’t do that.

Get on Google and explore the crazy Guerrilla Marketing big brands have done. What can you do that will make your customers talk?