Guerrilla Marketing

Joran Hofman
April 24, 2021

What is Guerrilla Marketing? 

Guerrilla marketing is a form of marketing that uses unconservative tactics to promote products or services, creating a great impact on the consumer's memory and generating a lot of feedback.

When applied intelligently, this inbound marketing strategy produces great results at a very low cost. 

Recommended Reading: Everything You Need To Know About Guerilla Marketing

Why is it called Guerilla Marketing? 

The term Guerilla Marketing was first used in 1984 by American business writer Jay Conrad Levinson in his book entitled "Guerrilla Marketing: Secrets for Making Big Profits from Your Small Business" to compare unconventional advertising practices with guerrillas, which are nothing more than independent and irregular military organizations with few resources that wage small wars against larger armies or governments using cunning tactics to surprise the enemy such as ambushes, sabotage, traps, etc.

Which are the Types of Guerrilla Marketing? 

  • Ambient Marketing: this type of Guerrilla Marketing makes use of every day (existing) indoor or outdoor setting to incorporate a brand or product message. It is usually quite visual and is placed in a busy place to surprise as many people as possible.
  • Experiential marketing: it seeks that the consumer interacts with the product or brand, fixing in the memory an unforgettable memory of the experience and creating a link.
  • Performance marketing: consists of staging one or more sudden actions. In this type of strategy, we can see the famous flashmobs.
  • Viral marketing: one of the purposes of guerrilla marketing is that many people talk about it, that is, that it becomes "viral." This can happen in 2 ways: 
  1. Online actions: When advertising actions are made for online media and then go viral. 
  2. Offline actions: When the actions go viral by being shared in any online media.

Examples of Guerrilla Marketing. 

  • One of the most known examples of Guerilla marketing can be said to be The Blair Witch Project, a film that was promoted using guerrilla marketing efforts. The Blair Witch Project is an American psychological horror film from the late 1990s made by five graduates of the University of Central Florida Film Program with a minimal budget and a camera. The two set up an internet campaign to make rumors of their film by talking about the legend of “the Blair Witch,” creating a website where they talked about the ‘legend’ made by them.
  • Half.com is another great example of Guerilla Marketing, where the owners of the website gave the town of Halfway, Oregon, $100,000 and a new computer lab to rename itself half.com for one year to gather name recognition. Weeks later, when the media outlets got to know the astounding story, half.com (both town and the Webpage) obtained the publicity they were in need of.
  • Médecins du Monde is another Guerilla marketing made right in the late stages of 2005; the French branch of the organization planed an extremely effective campaign to draw attention to the situation of the homeless people in Paris.The group distributed around 300 “two-second tents” to destitute Parisians sleeping in the streets. With the easily deploying tents in their hands, the homeless joined in groups of around eight to ten people along the Quai d’Austerlitz and the Canal Saint-Martin. The prefabricated shelter, which bore the Médecins du Monde logo, gathered immediate attention to the astounding number of homeless people in the area and provoked an incredible public outrage that the city was forced to act to resolve the situation.

Advantages and Disadvantages of using Guerrilla Marketing. 

Advantages. 

  • Low budget: this type of marketing is characterized by being cheaper to execute than traditional advertising.
  • It gives rise to creativity: it promotes the use of imagination to carry out more impactful tactics in the eyes of the consumer. 
  • Word of Mouth Marketing: one of the main purposes of guerrilla marketing is that people talk about it, and the information becomes viral. That is why one of the bases for the success of this type of marketing is the Word of Mouth Marketing or WOMM as it is popularly known. 
  • Advertising impact: When guerrilla marketing campaigns are highlighted, they are usually commented on in the news media, which multiplies the advertising effect on consumers.

Disadvantages.

  • Confusion: when creating a campaign of this type, it is necessary to be careful with the message transmitted; it is usual that it has some mystery and intrigue, but at the same time, if the information is not clear, it can be misinterpreted by the public.
  • Problems with the authority: messages such as graffiti or notices that have not been authorized can cause problems with the authorities.
  • Unforeseen: the execution of this type of marketing strategy can be affected by factors of various kinds, such as the weather, unforeseen social events, extraordinary restriction measures to protect people's health, among many others.
  • Reaction: These types of campaigns are susceptible to receive criticism from intelligent audiences that, if they are not of their approval, can create a whole matrix of opinion against them, which negatively affects the image of the product or brand. 

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