Guerilla Tactics

We Discover the Most Cost-Effective Ways to Creating Customers

What is Guerilla Marketing?

The term “Guerilla Marketing” was inspired by guerilla warfare–a form of irregular warfare used by civilians that include sabotage and ambushes. More casually, guerilla has come to refer to any actions or activities performed “in an impromptu way, often without authorization.”

So for a marketing strategy, a guerilla advertising campaign focuses on unconventional, imaginative, and often low-cost tactics. With strategic execution, guerilla efforts take the consumer by surprise and make a long-lasting impression. In turn, they create a social buzz that leads to new customers. To go, guerilla, is a decision to stray away from other marketing channels that have become so crowded with your competitors. Guerilla marketing is personal and memorable and is ideal for business owners that are interested in uniquely reaching a targeted audience. 

The real keys to guerilla success are spontaneity and brainpower.

Doing a Deep Dive: Guerilla vs. Traditional

Traditional approaches to advertising involve both digital ads (Google, Bing, Facebook) as well as TV advertising, newspaper, radio, and even billboard ads. All of the above usually require a more robust budget than guerilla marketing. Also, most of your competition is already utilizing these traditional marketing channels with similar sales messages, so there’s already a ton of white noise.

The goal of traditional advertising is to get your potential customers to see how brighter and shinier your product is compared to your competitors, while guerilla marketing focuses on unconventional tactics to take your potential customers by surprise to make a more profound, psychological impact.


Pros & Cons: Guerilla Marketing

There’s no finite structure to guerilla marketing, which means it can be customized to fit the needs of any business or budget. Guerilla allows companies to “make do” with what they have and get creative about what they don’t have, so it’s often more cost-effective than traditional marketing.  

The biggest issue with guerilla marketing is that you have to be willing to fail. In other words, these kinds of campaigns either greatly succeed or profoundly fail.

Pros & Cons: Traditional Marketing

Traditional marketing is a much more direct and proven channel to reach your potential customers. You can choose what keywords you want to use as well as how you want to reach your target market. Digital ads can reach a broad audience and can take your clients by surprise. Another pro is that email marketing, coupons, and billboards, can create effective brand awareness that leads to more sales. Traditional marketing can also be more predictably budgeted, which is a pro if you’re worried about the unconventionality of guerilla tactics. 

That said, one potential weakness is that traditional marketing can be expensive. If you’re working with a limited budget, traditional marketing can quickly spend your monthly budget. Another issue is that traditional marketing can be a short-term fix. For example, Google Ads are a great way to get you at the top of page one, but you’re just renting space at the top of the search results since after you receive your daily amount of clicks, your ads disappear from the top of Google until the next day.

Similarities & Differences

Guerilla marketing takes time, patience, and, most importantly, creativity. Traditional marketing tactics require less time and less imagination, but their results are much more predictable and often more scalable.

Guerilla marketing is more focused on what competitors aren’t doing, which demands out-of-the-box thinking. It can be a little scary in practice because that requires an investment of time and resources into something that doesn’t have proven results. Traditional marketing, in contrast, focuses on brand awareness and tactics that will win potential customers over time, based on proven results. 

Yet, these approaches can work hand-in-hand instead of being pitted against each other. A business that relies solely on one or the other will have a gap. Guerilla-only companies may tire their audience out, or their ideas may begin to seem stale. Traditional marketing has proven success, but if your business only relies on it to produce new customers, it can become cost-prohibitive.

Allowing your business to utilize both approaches will enable your company to be more relevant to your target audience. If you run a successful guerilla campaign, your audience will think of that campaign whenever they see one of your traditional ads. And vice versa, if you have a recognizable brand with great digital or print advertising, your guerilla efforts will come as a welcome surprise and improve the results of your overall outreach.



Three Creative Guerilla Tactics That Work

Guerilla marketing is designed to evoke an emotional reaction from any person that encounters it, making a company, product, or brand very memorable.

Here are three guerilla tactics that can heighten business strategy, gain new clients, and improve current customer satisfaction. 

Creating Art Installations

A cool way to conjure up an impromptu feeling in your marketing plan is by placing an art installation in an unexpected location. One example (admittedly on the expensive side) is the car manufacturer Alfa Romeo, who created an art installation in a shopping mall of a full-sized car tipped over into a regular-sized grocery cart. It was certainly unusual but helped shoppers envision putting a vehicle in their cart, which drove sales. 

Plastic dishware companies have been known to install sculptures in grocery store aisles. Immigrant-rights groups have featured migrant-made artwork around urban spaces. 

The options are limitless—new channels and methods to convey your message are continually appearing, so it’s up to you to evaluate relevant channels of outreach and then determine your unique message.

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Revamping Public Spaces

Another fun way to utilize guerilla tactics is to revamp or bring new ideas to a commonly-used public space. For example, a furniture company may add a new product, such as a few comfortable chairs or footstools, to a popular courtyard or train station. This evokes a feeling of familiarity and a sense of home among the people that pass by. 

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Utilizing Off-the-Path Social Media Encounters

Guerilla marketing efforts can also be digital! Burger King recently staged a dramatic breakup in their Instagram comments that revolved around a cheating partner picking up a Whopper burger for “the other woman.”

The breakup drew significant attention to their online presence because everyone wanted to witness the relationship drama, which also led to an increase in sales. While the comments were staged, they drew people to Burger King, yet not for their food. This is one of the most successful indirect approaches to guerilla marketing.

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Our Clients Aren’t One-Size-Fits-All

Every industry and business is different, and their hidden levers to growth are usually challenging to uncover. So before any marketing campaign begins, our goal is to gain a much better understanding of our client’s company, service/product, industry, goals, and competition.

It’s our dedication to the process of discovery, testing every hypothesis, and continual optimization that has enabled us to be on the winning end of thousands of successful campaigns, spending over $19m on the Google & Facebook Advertising platforms.

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As growth partners, we help our clients tackle their most challenging barriers to growth. Rather than meeting behind closed doors, we involve our clients in every facet of the strategy and its ongoing management—from the formation of the marketing campaign to the implementation of every customer acquisition channel. This robust approach provides clarity and focus that will galvanize your company’s growth goals. Say hi and we’ll say hi back!