When you hear the phrase ‘guerrilla marketing’ some people picture brutish Silverback gorillas strutting about, waving colourful signs all over the place – and as awesome as that would be, unfortunately, the word ‘guerrilla’ means something else entirely. So, what is meant by guerrilla marketing and is it still effective today? Read on and let’s take a closer look…
What Is Meant By Guerrilla Marketing?
The literal definition of the word: ‘guerrilla’ is “a member of a small independent group taking part in irregular fighting, typically against larger regular forces.”
In reference to marketing: “referring to actions or activities performed in an impromptu way, often without authorization.”
As for ‘guerrilla marketing’:
“Guerrilla marketing is an advertisement strategy in which a company uses surprise and/or unconventional interactions in order to promote a product or service. It is a type of publicity.”
So, for businesses that have limited resources but want to make as big an impact as possible when promoting their products or services, adopting guerrilla tactics (inspired by smaller armies with limited resources going up against formidable foes), can be a viable option.
Guerrilla Marketing Examples
Here’s a quick look at some guerrilla marketing examples:
- Nike ran a campaign where they spray painted their logo and “RUN” onto old, broken park benches.
- A local bar called The White Rabbit put “Follow The White Rabbit” stickers up all over the city, leading a ‘breadcrumb trail’ to their location.
- The movie Smile (2022) is a great case study for incredibly ‘creepy’ marketing where actors were photobombing in the crowds at televised sporting events. *Shudders*
Is Guerrilla Marketing Still Effective Today?
Is guerrilla marketing as effective today as it once was? And should small businesses consider adopting a similar strategy in their broader marketing efforts?
Guerrilla marketing certainly has the potential to be highly effective, however, it’s never a sure thing. Here are some pros and cons to be aware of before you make any decisions:
- Low Cost – One of the most attractive benefits of guerrilla marketing is the fact that it can often be pulled off with a very minimal investment – particularly when compared with other marketing channels.
- Great Potential Reach – If all goes well, your guerrilla marketing strategy could be so impactful that it goes viral, thus delivering an exceptional reach.
- Leaves a Lasting Impression – Some of the greatest guerrilla marketing campaigns in history have left a lasting impression and if you manage to pull off a similarly memorable stunt, it can bring huge perpetual value to your brand.
- Massive ROI – Considering how low the initial investment is, guerrilla marketing can deliver a seriously impressive ROI. Again, depending on how well it is planned and executed.
- Slim Chance of Success – Unfortunately, guerrilla marketing isn’t an easy win – otherwise everyone would be doing it. You could invest a lot of time and effort into it and it could ultimately fall flat on its face. This is why you are always better off investing in other forms of marketing in the background, as a priority (e.g., SEO with a reputable marketing agency for sustainable, long-term results). That’s not to say you shouldn’t experiment with guerrilla marketing – just don’t put all of your eggs into one basket.
- May Be Misunderstood – Another potential risk is the message being ill-received. Some guerrilla marketing campaigns might be seen as disruptive or dangerous, ultimately damaging your brand irreparably. This is why so much time and effort must go into the planning and research process.
There are many ways to market your business (some more controversial than others), and it’s always worth exploring all your options and making the right decision for your brand at this point in time.
In conclusion, guerrilla marketing is a unique, disruptive, and potentially transformative form of marketing that has the potential to propel brands and businesses to unimaginable heights.
Again, you should almost certainly have an on-going digital marketing strategy running in the background, however, there’s no reason why you shouldn’t explore the immense potential that guerrilla marketing can bring!