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Can guerilla marketing work with a small budget?

What is guerilla marketing?

Guerilla marketing is a strategic approach which uses unconventional and unexpected interactions to boost the awareness of a brand, product or service. This is a publicity activity which has become increasingly popular in recent times due to increased capabilities and skills. The term was popularised by Jay Conrad Levinson’s 1984 book; Guerrilla Marketing.

Is it low cost?

In the great scheme of marketing tactics, yes, guerilla marketing may look flashy but it’s actually pretty affordable. The primary investment you will make here is in the creativity and implementation of the ideas, but still, this doesn’t have to be particularly expensive. 

It’s important to invest in the people executing the ideas to ensure that the end result looks good quality and appealing. You should also spend time considering the best locations, where the people you want to catch are and how your brand can fit into this area.

Guerilla marketing works to repurpose the existing environment, so your guerilla marketing has plenty of scope to get creative. Whether it’s turning a bench into a Kitkat bar or a zebra crossing into french fries, the opportunities are pretty extensive.

The original goal of guerilla marketing is based on the ability for smaller brands to have a fighting chance of upstaging the big brands. It allows them to be agile and utilise their minimal resources, without the red tape faced by many big brands.

Types of guerilla marketing

Typically, guerilla marketing efforts are used in B2C marketing, with less focus on B2B. Guerilla marketing doesn’t necessarily have to occur outside, there are options to disrupt and get noticed within inside locations such as train stations, shopping centres or university campus. 

There are also options such as event ambushing which aims to hijack an event to promote your brand without the permission of the event sponsors or experiential which requires public interaction – such as an installation.

Why should you consider guerilla marketing?

Memorable

When you see something interesting, you’ll likely remember it and share your experiences with others. Brand resonance is critical to remaining front of mind with your customers and can establish salience, an idea of who you are and the difference between you and competitors.

Reach

An interesting public space installation can quickly gain thousands of pieces of coverage on social media, with users constantly snapping away and sharing. If your guerilla marketing efforts are visually engaging, clever or intriguing, people want to talk about them. These often get picked up by sites such as Buzzfeed who curate listicle or online interest pieces, which again, amplifies the brand reach.

Scalable

As previously mentioned, you don’t need to have an endless budget to execute a successful guerilla marketing campaign. Particularly for local businesses, there is the opportunity to invest a small amount of money in executing a guerilla marketing in a high footfall area, to remind and re-engage the community.

It could literally be as cheap as using chalk or a few party supplies (see below) or even a power washer, stencil and a dirty path or wall, to make an impact – and it doesn’t require a cleanup after!

Actionable

Although your exhibition may be engaging, entertaining and exciting, you still need to include a call-to-action. So whether your activity is supported by further activity such as flyering, a QR code, a geo-location filter or free samples, you need to take advantage of this opportunity to present customers with a clear call-to-action.

What to avoid?

Although there are huge amounts of creative scope when it comes to guerilla marketing, there are also things to avoid when planning your campaign. You should avoid anything that could create genuine, widespread panic and damage your brand in the process. You should also consult with the local government to ensure that what you’re planning isn’t going to break the law or offend any of the local community.


Also published on Medium.

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