Guerrilla Marketing Tactics to Help Put Your Small Business on the Map

Updated: August 6, 2020

There will be hardly a few of us who did not follow Felix Baumgartner’s free-fall from the edge of space. The record breaking 120,000-feet fall was made possible because of the marketing zeal of Red Bull, a stellar crew of scientists and a huge chunk of money. But regardless, it managed to put Red Bull in the minds of the millions that saw it.

This was guerrilla marketing at its flashiest. For the most part, however, guerrilla marketing is about the use of low-cost unconventional methods and materials like flash mobs, sticker bombing and graffiti to promote ideas or products.

This is a marketing tactic which involves using innovative approaches to engage customers while providing a brand experience that cannot be easily forgotten. Instead of money, this strategy demands an investment of time, energy and most importantly, an acute understanding of the audience.


The Guiding Principle behind Guerrilla Marketing

Human psychology is the best tool a marketer has at his disposal. Using that along with calculated guesswork, judgment and experience is what sets this form of marketing apart from others. The focus of the marketer in this form of marketing is to create a number of new relationships with the consumers.

Understanding the perception of the brand being marketed as it currently is, as opposed to how the client wants, can be handy in devising your plan. There are risks to this form of a marketing campaign, but the dividends, too, are many.

Here are a few ways you can use guerrilla marketing to your advantage:

Stay Relevant

Guerrilla marketing does not make use of the traditional media. Keeping this in mind, explore how your audience is communicating. Getting in touch with them in a way that is relevant to you is going to make your campaign more memorable. There are a variety of ways to promote the brand, but trying to find one that will speak to your audience is the key. Trying to sell adult diapers at a concert will only get you laughed at.

Street Marketing or Grassroots Marketing

The archetypal style of guerrilla marketing, it is highly effective if executed right. We have all seen flyers being handed out, or mascots waving a sign at passers-by, but those are tackier versions of the old street marketing tactics. But the right street marketing for the right target audience will indubitably be profitable.

Get up a notch with your street marketing. Get colorful brochures with unique designs printed and handed out by an employee dressed in a tail coat, you can come up with any strategy provided you keep in mind the point above – stay relevant.
Create branding that can go on the street and still stand out as unique. Promote street marketing with social channels as well. Every photo taken by your customer is equal to twenty that you take. Tell your customers where to find you and back the on ground hype with what is going on online.

Catch the Fancy of Your Audience

Be it handing out branded fruit, or having a flash-mob made up of people dressed in leotards, your guerrilla campaign should be able to shake its audience out of their usual stupor and take notice.

Being expensive is not the only way to be creative, like how McDonald’s painted a pedestrian street to look like McDonald’s French fries. A similar tactic could work brilliantly for a small restaurant or agency looking to brand itself locally. Get your timing on the spot. A relevant concept marketed similarly to another campaign can make the concept look stale.

Keep Your What-Ifs in Sight

Every guerrilla marketing campaign is fraught with risks. A smart agency would always keep contingencies prepared in case of a plan misfiring. Most campaigns do not go a 100% seamlessly, there will be frayed ends and issues will crop up. Having a secondary plan to put in place for situations that you know can go wrong is always a wise idea.

Have an Efficient Team

A strong team is the backbone to a successfully executed guerrilla campaign, Mr. Guevara would attest to that. Having a strong street team is as essential as having an efficient group of people handling your social channels. Make sure your team is on board with the plan and understands every stage of it. Clear whatever doubts a team-member has before going on ground with a campaign.

Carpet Bomb Your Target Group

Leave no proverbial stone unturned. Diversify your campaigns to reach out to your TG at all stages of their day. From getting a flyer in their hand, to observing a cavorting mascot of the same brand, to finding an emailer about the same brand, make sure your TG knows it is your TG, and then some.

And when you have finally gotten their attention, drop something unexpected on them. Not a kitchen sink or something, just a brilliantly devised stunt. Include at least a few of these into your guerrilla marketing campaign to get a well-rounded impact:

  • Hand-to-hand flyer distribution
  • Strategic store drops
  • Postering
  • Graffiti / stencil work on the street
  • Unique product sampling opportunities
  • Installations
  • Segway marketing
  • Cross branding with relevant products or services

Thump Your Chest

One of the best parts about guerrilla marketing is that it allows you the opportunity to boast, guilt-free, of how good a job you are doing, so make the most of it. Communicate with your clients and audience through social media about a particular activity you are doing. Launching smartly promoted teaser campaigns would be a good idea too.

During the event, gather as much evidence as you can about the proceedings. Use all available social channels to promote the campaign. This can create further traction for an ongoing campaign as well as help you gauge immediate reactions to it. Hiring someone to shoot a video, or creating a “making of …” video is also a good idea if you hope for it to be a recurring activity.

Guerrilla marketing is the best bet for small businesses hoping to widen their reach on shoestring budgets, while established companies use it to support existing marketing campaigns. This technique, while not apt for all products or services, can have far reaching positives when implemented correctly.

If you are seriously considering a guerrilla marketing campaign, throw out of the window all the conventional wisdom of marketing and think way outside the box. The audience is waiting to be wowed.


Photo Credit: Red Bull Stratos – Felix Baumgartner by cattias.photos

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