Guerrilla Marketing Tactics to Help Put Your Startup on the Map

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May 2015
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Author : Pete Peranzo
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There will be hardly any 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.

(Image credit: https://juliannewman.org/wp-content/uploads/2014/01/Space_Dive-mpx-test-dive.jpg)

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 her disposal. Using psychology along with calculated guesswork, judgment and experience is what sets guerrilla marketing apart from others. The focus of the marketer in this form of marketing is to create a number of new, varied and constantly changing relationships with consumers.

Understanding the perception of the brand being marketed as it currently is, as opposed to how consumers would like it to be, can be handy in devising your plan. There are risks to such marketing campaigns 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

Given the archetypal style of guerrilla marketing, it is highly effective if executed right. We have all seen crumpled flyers being handed out, or mascots waving a sign at passers-by, but those are tackier versions of old street marketing tactics. However, street marketing at the right time, targeted at 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 tailcoat – 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.

(Image credit: https://adsoftheworld.com/media/ambient/mcdonalds_macfries_pedestrian_crossing)

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 team members have before going on ground with a campaign.

(Image credit: https://rogaziano.deviantart.com/art/Che-Guevara-87608178)

Efficient teams also need efficient tools to keep up their effectiveness. Arm your team with a simple collaboration and task management tool that can be used quickly from a browser or even over Gmail or one that and make sure they’re fully equipped to coordinate on the strategy.

Carpet Bomb Your Target Group

Leave no proverbial stone unturned. Diversify your campaigns to reach out to your target audience at all stages of their day. From getting a flyer in their hand, to observing a cavorting mascot of the brand, to finding an email about the same brand, make sure your audience knows it is your audience, 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
• Posters
• 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 are also good ideas if you want video to be a recurring activity.

Guerrilla marketing is the best bet for startups and small businesses hoping to widen their reach on shoestring budgets, while established companies use it to support new 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 all conventional wisdom of marketing out of the window and think as if there’s no box. The audience is waiting to be wowed.

 

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