Guerilla Marketing: The Subtle Art of Attracting Customers
Guerilla marketing is a marketing technique created by a renowned marketer Jay Conrad Levinson back in 1984. At the time, the idea of it was revolutionary because, like any respectable guerilla, it focused on achieving devastating results with very little resources. Simply put, this kind of marketing relies on little to no funding, yet it can make a big impact on the consumer and lead to a huge boost in sales.
Just like guerilla war tactics, which work today despite the technological prowess of the enemy, many of Levinson’s ideas are just as effective when influencing modern consumers. However, the author of Guerilla Marketing couldn’t know that the twenty first century will bring about the rise of social networks.
This invaluable tool managed to elevate the already devastatingly effective marketing technique to a new level and make it even less expensive at the same time. Therefore, every business owner of today should learn how to use various guerilla marketing tactics.
Originally, guerilla marketing was designed to help beginner entrepreneurs who do not yet have the budget to dedicate to large-scale advertising campaigns. For that purpose, the marketing strategy focused on achieving maximum value at minimum price. That’s why some tactics used under the name of guerilla marketing are rather controversial. However, all of them are extremely efficient.
The main thing that made guerilla marketing stand out back in 1984 was the call for thinking outside the box. In that age of traditional advertising, Levinson was looking for untraditional and outright innovative ways of promoting products and brands at low cost.
Today, this marketing strategy remains one of the main tools of startups and small businesses. However, some of the guerilla marketing tactics have proven to be so effective, that large corporations use them as well. And you shouldn’t forget that modern technology helps boost these promotion techniques further by making them all the more sophisticated.
The consumers of today are used to seeing advertisements everywhere, so to attract their attention one must do something extraordinary. Coming up with and implementing such extraordinary ideas is what guerilla marketing is about. To achieve these results the strategy relies on the following principles:
- Creative presentation of the product or brand and the use of original approaches when developing their marketing strategy.
- Using a variety of tools that aim to grab the consumer’s attention through shock value. Some of these might be less than moral.
- Reducing costs to the minimum or finding ways to promote the product/brand for free.
- Only using one trick once.
In the majority of cases, using the same shocking tactic the second time proves inefficient.
- Using psychological tricks that will motivate consumers to buy at the subconscious level.
As you can see, the guerilla marketing of today is all about using your creativity to the fullest. It calls for mixing both traditional and innovative promotional tools to elicit the highest shock value and make your brand truly memorable.
- To achieve maximum impact on the consumer at minimal investment (for example, impressive window displays that motivate people to come in and explore the shop).
- To place captivating information in unexpected places (disposable tableware, flowerbeds, rental bikes, etc.)
- To draw attention to the product using inexpensive tools (flashing lights, brightly-colored stickers, etc.)
- To develop more effective targeting tactics (giving away photographer’s business cards at a cosmetics shop).
All in all, we can define the main objective of guerilla marketing as raising brand awareness and increasing sales and product popularity among consumers of varied ages and social status.
Viral, also known as “buzz” marketing is a type of marketing that aims to motivate consumers to spread information directly. It’s the word-of-mouth working on the grand scale with the message spreading like a virus.
This type of marketing became possible with the rise of the Internet and social media, in particular. This might be the reason why Levinson, the “father of guerilla marketing”, didn’t write about it in his book. But today this is the kind of strategy that can produce the best results and literally make the business a fortune overnight. The most common types of content to go viral are videos and social media posts.
Street marketing focuses on promoting the product or brand by drawing attention to it through messages placed in unexpected places. The basic street marketing tactic is putting attention-grabbing posters in high-traffic public areas. If one gets a chance to place a great number of posters in one place, this tactic can be elevated to “wild postings”, which is sure to attract tons of attention through making even a small thing appear like something momentous. After all, they wouldn’t be putting 20 posters of the same product on one wall if it wasn’t the next big thing, right?
Other street marketing tactics include:
- Human and product animations
- Flyers distribution
You can also add tissue-pack marketing to this type of guerilla promotion strategies. In this case, the brand can give away packs of tissues with the marketing message on the cover and be sure they won’t be discarded immediately, as flyers often are.
Stealth marketing is extremely vast because it encompasses a multitude of strategies and there is always room for more. This type of marketing is all about advertising without actually advertising. For example, product placement in videos and movies, authentic reviews of different products and brands on social networks, and dozens more options are all different applications of stealth marketing.
Note that this type of promotion relies on using a variety of methods at the same time. This is what makes it so effective as a whole. With the low cost and high efficiency, this is the ultimate type of guerilla marketing.
The key advantage of stealth marketing is that it can bring results within days or even less if the thing you post goes viral. To achieve this kind of results, you can:
- Interact with your prospective customers through social networks.
Even big corporations today have groups and accounts for their brands and products. You simply cannot succeed in the modern business world without having a good social media presence.
- Place your advertisements directly in the path of your target audience.
Targeting is essential for your marketing success and you need to place your ads strategically. For example, a retailer selling children’s clothing should place ads on women’s and moms’ forums. You need to use a variety of online tools to ensure your advertisements are delivered to the right audience at the right times. These tools can take into account the consumer’s location, local time, search queries, etc.
- Create a story for the product or brand.
Storytelling rocks with the consumers of today, so you need to make sure that your product or brand comes with a well-established legend. Provide some truthful facts but also add some cool stories to grab and hold the audience’s attention.
Bear in mind that these are only a few of the most common stealth marketing tricks that you can use to boost your sales fast. Professional marketers can come up with multiple creative ideas to build fantastic campaigns. And as everything is fair when it comes to advertising, some of those ideas and tricks can be outright shocking, and yet devastatingly effective.
One of the most important rules of guerilla marketing is that it must be unobtrusive. The ultimate level of this advertisement technique is making an ad that the consumer doesn’t perceive as an ad. Therefore, they will buy without even realizing that some external promotion motivated them to make this purchase.
Some of the best channels used to achieve this effect are:
- Social media – the best channel for viral ads.
- Theme forums – can be used to provide positive feedback about the product/brand or negative about the competitor from a “regular person” account.
- Influencers – you can hire a variety of influencers to promote your product or brand to their personal audience.
- Videos – posting interesting and creative videos at your own YouTube channel will help promote your products and increase visibility.
The best methods to work at the aforementioned channels are:
- Product or brand reviews.
Note that you can also post reviews about your competitors. These reviews can be posted both from regular people’s accounts and by influencers.
- Reviews of popular events.
These reviews are about something different that’s of great interest to your targeted audience, but they will conveniently include a mention of your brand/product. These can be videos, short articles, or photo reports from the event.
- You can post comments with subtle promotions in suitable discussions in various social media groups, blogs, advertisements, etc.
Guerilla, and stealth marketing in particular, are becoming more popular these days, while the popularity of “traditional” advertisements is going down. It’s because this marketing method has proven to be extremely effective. That’s why all businesses, regardless of their size, are using it today to both cut the costs and find the best approach to every prospective buyer.
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