Guerrilla marketing is a fun way of reminding the audience of your product. But, hey say there are quite a few challenges involved! The article discusses how guerrilla marketing is a cost-effective marketing strategy for big and small brands alike and why guerrilla marketing is challenge.
When the classic strategies aren’t delivering, you send in the guerrillas. They’re the extra-special forces – the ones that implement killer strategies to turn the tide and defeat the enemy.
Guerrilla marketing is a domain where creativity and imagination beat massive budgets. It tends to be cheaper than traditional methods, relying on smaller, controlled, and more localized strategies.
Guerrilla marketing techniques thrive on the element of surprise. Guerrillas ( army) employ the least expected tactics, and the enemy is taken aback. Similarly, in guerrilla marketing, unconventional, surprising ways are used that take the customers by surprise in their daily lives.
Guerrilla marketing, like any other method, comes with its own pros and cons. It’s marvelous for small businesses that have smaller budgets and financial constraints. But, it’s not restricted to smaller setups; even multinational businesses use guerrilla techniques. Despite being a great alternative to traditional marketing, guerilla marketing is not entirely flawless. It has its own fair share of challenges too.
Characteristics of guerrilla marketing
Guerrilla marketing is the alternate marketing strategy that uses unconventional methods for marketing and branding. Centering around creativity and ingenuity, both online and offline platforms are used for the purpose mentioned above.
Guerrilla marketing is any genius marketing strategy aimed at cost-effective branding and brand socialization. There are no hard and fast rules or strictly demarcated boundaries around the concept, and that’s one reason why a definition in the traditional sense may not be possible.
However, some important features need mentioning when it comes to guerrilla marketing:
- The element of surprise. The whole ideology behind guerrilla marketing rests on the element of surprise. You’ve got to catch your potential clients with a huge surprise and a pleasant one. The surprise and the shock of guerrilla techniques renew the brand’s memory.
- Cost-effectiveness. Another very attractive feature of guerrilla marketing is its cost-effectiveness. Guerrilla campaigns are low-budget ones but drive great results. As mentioned above, campaigns like these are more localized, and this feature directly affects the cost of the campaign.
- Interactiveness. Guerrilla marketing targets the emotions and experiences of its customers to garner a deeper, more effective bond between the brand and the company. Techniques pertaining to this particular type are more relevant for B2C because, in this relationship, decisions are more impulsive. The emotional appeal is one great reason. Guerrilla ways don’t work well for B2B setups where decisions are more practical than professional.
- Provocativeness. Because guerrilla marketing is emotional and even a surprise, it can be provocative and risky.
Is guerrilla marketing illegal?
You must have heard brands getting punished for their guerrilla, aka unconventional marketing techniques, at times. It’s pretty common and makes a layman question the legal character of the campaign. Often people wonder if it’s even legal to use guerrilla techniques.
It’s not uncommon for companies to get punished. For example, Coca-Cola was punished by the New Orleans law for placing their graffiti at a historic site without informing the authorities in advance.
It is important to note here that guerrilla marketing is not illegal. However, certain actions can be categorized as illegal, and to avoid legal sanctions, brands can hire lawyers to advise them on the legal character of their campaign.
Relevance of guerrilla marketing
Guerrilla marketing techniques surprise, engage, attract and provoke soft emotions, but the important question is: ‘do they actually benefit businesses?’
Don’t take our word for it; go through these few stats to see how it’s doing in the world.
- 27% of German decision-makers employ unconventional marketing for brand promotion.
- Guerrilla marketing can bring down the marketing by a staggering 90%.
- 54 percent of decisions are made with just word-of-mouth.
Guerrilla marketing is not like other techniques like SMM or, say, email m arketing. It’s a scattered bunch of ways to target customers unconventionally, so gathering data for its support can be challenging. However, the above data gives a clear enough idea of its efficacy.
Guerrilla marketing benefit
Want a game-changer to turn the tables for your brands, but you don’t have a crazy budget to support a massive marketing plan? You are definitely in a tight spot, and nothing can save you like an ingenious, genuine, and creative guerrilla marketing strategy.
Send in your guerrillas to surprise the audience and win them over with the emotional overtones of the content. Guerrilla marketing is great, and we are listing some ways how:
- Increased brand awareness. Guerrilla techniques are great for brand building. They are perfect for building a buzz around your brand. With their creative slant and genius ideas, these campaigns are as good as it gets in building brand awareness. Guerrilla marketing is all about creating a buzz around a company.
- Standing out from competitors. A smart strategy supplemented by bold and impressionable guerrilla marketing tactics works wonders for your company. You’ll stand out among the crowd and have a solid standing amidst your competitors sooner than even your imaginations. Guerrilla tactics are wonder moves for brands looking to create their name or shake things up a bit.
- Emotional connection with a brand. Since guerrilla marketing works at an emotional level, a single campaign can lead to a memorable and strong relationship between the brand and the customers. Nothing, absolutely nothing, beats an emotional connection with your customers when it comes to marketing. It is good at provoking emotions; a single campaign can create a strong connection between a brand and a customer. When your potential customer is emotionally attached to you, they make decisions impulsively, and that’s great for you as a business owner.
- Building partnerships. Guerrilla marketing requires quite a lot of collaboration. Different companies and businesses will come together to make a success out of one campaign, which means collaboration among companies. This may not be a direct benefit, but it’s a great one in the long run and builds a social base for a brand.
Types of guerilla advertising
You must think that any out-of-the-box marketing idea can be guerrilla marketing, right? It’s true to an extent, but creative marketing techniques are sorted into different categories regarding guerrilla marketing. That’s just another way of saying that there are different types of guerrilla marketing as listed below:
1- Ambush marketing
Ambush marketing is a super-risky, predatory way of forwarding your brand’s name.
It’s all about the hijacking, literally hijacking an event of your adversary or competitor to forward your own gains. In this type, a company interrupts an event organized by another brand and gets all the benefits of the event.
Various methods are employed while ambushing an event: you can be at odds with your competitor or do it cooperatively. Companies choose the ways that best serve their objectives.
For instance, your competitor organized a cooking event for brand awareness, and you sponsor decors and kitchen accessories during the whole event. This way, both you and your competitor get to create memorable occurrences and market your brand.
Brands even use harsh ways of ambushing their competitors’ events, like indirectly taking hits at each other to defame the opponent. This method can sometimes backfire and even result in costly legal penalties.
2- Undercover marketing
As the name implies, undercover works conspicuously. Typically, products and services are promoted in films, dramas, and TV shows, without the protective customer even knowing about it. The images of your favorite personalities using a certain brand leave a subconscious impact on the customers, and that’s a win-win situation for any business.
Product placement is the usual way undercover marketing works, but definitely not the only one. Brands can come up with various genius and interesting methods of product promotion. Take Sonny Ericson’s ingenious marketing strategy, for instance, where the brand hired actors to pay travelers with Sony Ericsson cameras for taking mesmerizing photos.
The beautiful pictures positively impacted the viewers, cheered them up, and made them happy, and guess what the brand got? A happy memory related to its name, and that’s a huge achievement. Sonny Ericsson became synonymous with happiness for the users.
3- Ambient marketing
Ambient marketing is the most commonly used type of guerrilla marketing. It simply refers to the placement of an indirect but impactful image or message in an unlikely or unexpected place. Choosing a surprising but offensive place is crucial because a usual advertisement spot doesn’t evoke the same feelings.
Ever heard the phrase “finding happiness in the most unlikely places?” There is a feeling of gratification involved in it. Ambient marketing works the same way: surprise your audience with a positive, happy message.
One important thing is to find an appropriately unexpected place for an advertisement. “Unexpected but pleasant” is the right kind of unexpected when it comes to ambient marketing. In an astounding example of ambient marketing, Louis Vuitton displayed a gigantic red suitcase in a square, which was a marvelous reminder for all the brand’s prospective customers.
4- Experiential marketing
The gist of experiential marketing lies in ostentatiously building and creating an emotional experience involving the brand and the potential customers. Building a close emotional bond is at the heart of experiential marketing, which is done in myriad ways.
How is it done, one may ask? The simple answer is: by organizing or sponsoring events of the public liking, for instance, a fair or a convention. There are more attractive and compelling ways of advertising your product, though. You do not necessarily have to stick with organizing an event or sponsoring one.
Take notes from Rick & Morty, who sent a cartoon-shaped vehicle all over the States and created a buzz around their product by amusing people in the most fun way. It went viral, and that’s all they wanted.
Guerrilla offensive strategy
In the guerrilla marketing arsenal, there is a small but smart bullet that’s known as a guerrilla offensive strategy. This strategy is a special favorite of small but capable challenger companies. It gets pretty interesting when a smaller and often new competitor tries to take on the bigger, more affluent, as well as an established company. For a daunting task like this one, a guerrilla offensive is launched:
“Guerrilla offensive is a series of attacks led by an opponent to dislodge the target from its strong market position.”
What’s the objective of guerrilla offensive?
Guerrilla offensive strategy revolves around bombarding and confusing the opponent with a seemingly never-ending series of attacks. The opponent should be overwhelmed with the attacks. This strategy is never organized: it is all about random, least expected, and indiscernible patterns of attacks so that the competitor is always caught off guard.
A successful series of indiscernible attacks will leave the opponent with little time to react, and that is exactly what the guerrilla offensive seeks- disable the opponent in every possible way.
Social media, inventive stunts, and price promotions are used to launch an offensive. It’s interesting, innovative, and crisp, quickly affording your brand a commendable spot among credible competitors.
Advantages of Guerilla marketing
Guerrilla marketing comes with some amazing benefits which are definitely worth mentioning:
1- Low budget
One great benefit and a chief defining feature of guerrilla marketing is its extremely low budget. Even smaller start-ups can experiment with guerrilla techniques without worrying about their scant financial resources.
In addition to being a cheap alternative, guerrilla techniques have a broad outreach. It means you can target a great number without spending a lot. Guerrilla marketing is a perfect solution for newbies and smaller setups lacking bigger marketing budgets.
2- Great reach
Guerrilla marketing is extremely promising in reaching out to more people in less time and money, not to mention little effort. With ambient marketing as a guerrilla type, you can send your message to millions with just one smartly placed advertisement.
3- Provides Creative Freedom
If you are thinking of going out of the box and trying something really different, you are thinking of guerrilla marketing. This type allows creative freedom more than any other type. In traditional marketing, for instance, there are always some defining boundaries and quite a lot of professional red tape. But no such thing when it comes to guerrilla marketing.
There is all the freedom in the world to explore and test your wildest ideas.
4- Capable of going viral
Guerrilla campaigns can even go viral: their creative content can garner massive social media support. If that happens, you don’t even have to make an effort to spread the message: your message reaches far and wide on its own at a ferocious speed. This is almost impossible with traditional marketing.
5- Leaves a lasting impression on the minds of people
With its emotional and engaging content, guerrilla campaigns are more likely to leave a ‘long-term and lasting impact on the people.
6- Return on Investment
Spend a little on guerrilla, and you can reap bigger benefits. Guerilla marketing has the scope to give the best returns for your investment if things go right. The budget is always small, but the scope is broad, and these features make guerrilla techniques a big favorite of businesses.
Disadvantages of guerrilla
Like any other strategy, guerrilla marketing also has a few drawbacks. Here are a few notable ones:
1- Risky investment
Guerrilla marketing works wonders when it does, but it can also be extremely risky. There is a potential danger of you losing your money altogether if things go downhill. When you embark on the journey of guerrilla marketing, you should bear in mind the potential risks involved. Since it’s unconventional and unorganized, it’s slightly more unpredictable than a conventional marketing strategy.
2- High chance of the wrong message
Guerilla can be read quite differently from the intended way in some cases, and such an instance can totally distort the meaning of the given message. The creative nature and unique delivery can confuse people about the message’s meaning. In some instances, the message may even be read negatively.
Creative or not, you have to make sure that your message is clear and not alluding to unwanted things.
3- The legal issues
While Guerrilla techniques are fun, interesting, and highly impressionable, they can slip off the legal edge ever so slightly and get you in trouble without knowing. You may be sued for property vandalizing or other charges of the same nature when too relaxed about the public’s legal rights.
Why guerilla marketing is challenge?
We are listing a few challenges in the successful application of guerrilla marketing strategy:
With creativity, ingenuity, uniqueness, and emotional appeal, you may think it’s a walk in the park, but it’s not! The same unique message can be ambiguous, confusing, and mysterious in the negative sense. Striking the perfect balance between creativity and charity is a huge challenge when it comes to guerrilla marketing.
No one wants the audience to read the message the wrong way, right? A clear message with a fun, emotional, and attractive element is the objective of guerrilla marketing.
Confusion can reach unprecedented and sometimes even dangerous heights. Take the example of Aqua Teen Hunger Force installing (2007) flashing LED circuit boards around the city of Boston in a bid to promote an upcoming animated series. The act caused a huge uproar and turbulence when the public mistook the LED devices for bombs.
Ultimately, bomb disposal squads had to be called in to clear the situation, and a supposed marketing hack turned into a security situation. The installers were even arrested at first. However, they were released later on when the situation became clear.
In short, it was just a fiasco that caused nothing more than confusion, disorder, and public anxiety instead of winning over some hearts for the upcoming broadcast.
So, we can say it’s one of the challenges of guerrilla marketing to curate strategies that are both genuinely appealing and unique, as well as clear in terms of the embedded marketing message.
Another big challenge that brands face while implementing guerrilla marketing is tension with authorities. Acts like putting up graffiti without permission can lead to tension and may even cause some heavy charges against the brand.
In addition, the brand may even lose a good image in the eyes of the customers and be seen as an irresponsible part of society. Guerrilla strategies can be disrupted and failed by weather conditions, bad timing, public mood and sentiment, and other unpredictable factors.
Such factors may seem insignificant, but they have a far-reaching impact. They can undermine the whole objective of the strategy and lead to an outright failure of it, not to forget the waste of resources and talent.
Savvy audiences can be very vocal against brands when the message interpreted is against values and the common good. This can be a massive failure for brands because such a backlash can have lasting impressions in the minds of the audience.
Guerrilla marketing is awesome, but it suits only those who are fine with taking risks and are not afraid of taking a leap of faith. The creativity behind guerrilla techniques and a positive surprise can be fantastic for sales, but one must be careful, too, so the challenges do not undermine the whole purpose of the marketing campaign.
Examples of guerrilla marketing
The purpose of guerrilla marketing, as explained above, is to ambush people in their lives, leaving lasting, preferably emotional impressions in their brains. Here are some examples that were simple, cost-efficient, yet successful:
Simple, almost cost-free, and still a perfect, lasting reminder for the customers is Mr. clean’s picture on a crosswalk. The picture itself is enough for a reminder but what’s awesome for brand identity is another small feature – the stripe that’s got the picture is wiped clean to be bright white! A perfect guerrilla tactic.
In a perfect example of guerrilla marketing, McDonald’s took people by surprise when it painted its famous fries on a sidewalk using a crosswalk sign- a splendid reminder! Kids are gonna insist on getting a pack of fries or a happy meal when they cross this street for sure!
Axe did an awesome job for guerrilla marketing when they simply added a sticker of women following the exiting man at various establishments. It’s fun, meaningful, interactive, and attractive- it fulfills the real purpose.
Do you think your kids are just playing nonsense with legos? Lego, the company, doesn’t think so, and they are big on making it known. In an attempt to emphasize the importance of child’s construction-oriented play, lego puts a giant piece of a block on a construction crane, reminding parents how children feel when they are busy building with their apparently meaningless toys.
It, the movie
You don’t just have to be promoting some product; even movies are promoted through these techniques. Consider the example of the movie adaptation of Stephen King’s clown thriller, It, for which red symbolic balloons were placed all over storm sewers across many cities with writing alluding to what the balloons meant and when the movie was going on air.
Guerrilla marketing is all about creativity, surprise, shock, and a positive reminder to the audience. It’s about leaving an impressionable impact on the minds of the audience through simple but deep acts. It’s cost-effective and highly impressionable. However, there are quite a few challenges involved in creating a successful guerrilla marketing strategy, and there are drawbacks. The article discusses each and every aspect of guerrilla marketing in detail and sheds light on why guerilla marketing is a challenge.