What’s the first thing that comes to your mind when you hear these two terms – ‘guerrilla marketing’ and “guerrilla warfare”? Surely, there must be something in common! Ah! I know you may be thinking of that light-hearted animal from the monkey family. I thought of it too. Jokes apart, what’s guerrilla marketing or guerrilla warfare and why are they called so?
Let’s put it in simple terms, guerrilla warfare is an unnatural and unconventional war strategy used by small groups of combatants in territories managed by hostile and regular forces. It is safe to assume that the term guerrilla marketing was coined after this unique war tactic. Though it sounds ominous, guerrilla marketing can be defined as a simple strategy of using creative, unconventional and cost-effective tactics and marketing methods to get one’s brand noticed. For ages, it has been an effective method of marketing for small businesses
What Small Businesses Need to Know?
a) Is guerrilla marketing for me? How do I determine?
Guerrilla marketing, for sure, is not everyone’s cup of tea.
The advantage that small businesses have over larger corporations is – flexibility. However, it all burns down to which industry you are into.
For instance, if your business is related to insurance, finance or other highly-regulated industries, launching guerrilla marketing techniques could put you in serious troubles. In such cases, you are better off sticking to conventional marketing methods.
Guerrilla marketing techniques work best when you are marketing physical or fancy products.
What’s the takeaway: It’s important to consider the nature of your business and the risk proposition before choosing guerrilla tactics as your primary marketing plan.
b) What’s the essence of your marketing plan?
Whether you are handing out temporary tattoos at a high-school gathering or installing monstrous statues in your locality, you must ensure that your actions stand out, which is the main purpose of choosing this style of marketing.
Brainstorm yourself with these important questions:
1) What is the message you are trying to convey and how would you best convey it in five seconds or less?
2) Is your campaign a simple business advertisement or a call-to-action plan?
3) What do you want your audience to do? Purchase your product/service or visit your site or share your social media page.
Like any other marketing methods, you get the best results by planning your stuff well in advance.
c) Things you should never try
Remember, guerrilla marketing if done badly, could spell disaster. Here are few things you should keep in mind.
1) Beware, you may scare away your audience: Avoid scaring, provoking or upsetting people using negative techniques. Try something that will make your audience embrace, laugh, have fun and share.
2) Never disguise yourself or imitate other companies: Your business has its own strengths, exhibit it. Never try to imitate other businesses that are more successful.
3) Be lawful: Never mess with the law. Work on your marketing plans to make it a pleasant experience to one and all. Check with the local laws and ensure none of your methods are illegal.
Learning from the Successful as well as the Unsuccessful
Numerous businesses have embarked guerrilla marketing methods and have tasted great success in the past. Obviously, there are few that have experienced negative results as well.
Guerrilla Marketing Done Right
The following are few companies that have used guerrilla marketing campaigns to good effects. Small businesses can learn and get inspired from these examples.
1) Goodyear Blimp
A classic example of guerrilla marketing done right – Goodyear Blimp launched its first airship in 1952. The blimp was an instant hit and a great recognizable symbol for the brand. Today, the company’s airships fly more than 400,000 miles every year, flying across towns throughout the globe.
2) Red Bull Pit Stop
The energy drink company paused a busy traffic in Times Square, New York, for travelers to gaze a NASCAR-styled pit stop in Redbull theme. The event turned out to be a huge hit and just what a company required to grab the New Yorkers’ attention.
3) Taco Liberty Bell
In the 1990s, Taco Bell’s creative stunts made headlines when the company had announced in newspaper ads that it had acquired Liberty Bell and renamed it to ‘Taco Liberty Bell’. This creative and massive joke garnered enormous public clamor.
Guerrilla marketing Done rWong
The positive examples above should give you lots of encouragement; however, it’s also important to learn from businesses that haven’t had much success with their marketing campaigns. Learning from their mistakes can help you stay away from such blunders.
1) Vodafone Streakers: Vodafone, in 2002, recruited two boys to streak during a rugby match in Australia. These boys were completely naked with only the Vodafone logo on their backs. The game was sponsored by Telestra, a competitor of Vodafone. The campaign backfired badly as the streakers were fined and detained and fans were furious as their favorite match was interrupted.
In the end, Vodafone had to apologize for their cheap publicity stunts. The stunt managed to pull a good amount of media coverage for Vodafone, but for the wrong reasons.
For small companies, bad media coverage could ruin their business.
Lesson learned: Unpleasant or undesirable publicity stunts could backfire very badly. It’s important to plan fun activities that everyone would be pleased to see.
As you would have realized by now, pulling off a successful guerrilla marketing campaign is not rocket science. Careful planning, dedication and creativity can take you a long way. So say goodbye to your doubts and hesitations and start planning today. All the best !!