The term ‘guerrilla marketing’ refers to a brand marketing strategy that is edgy and unconventional yet cost-effective, and is usually a favourite among start-ups and small businesses looking to raise brand recognition levels or introduce new products and services to the public on a tight advertising budget. Limited funding doesn’t have to mean sleep-inducing advertisement ploys that scream cheap!
Many a time, big brands with deep pockets have seen their efforts barely yielding good returns on investment, while simple but inspiring guerrilla marketing strategies have managed to capture the interest of the target audience, subsequently translating into high sales figures.
Jay Conrad Levinson, who first coined the term in 1984, defined guerrilla marketing in this manner:
“The soul and essence of guerrilla marketing [is] achieving conventional goals, such as profits and joy, with unconventional methods, such as investing energy instead of money.”
With technology being so pervasive today, guerrilla marketing has even found its way into the digital marketing and online marketing sphere, effectively complementing digital advertising methods. This is clearly seen through the millions of memes, videos, photos or online content that have been re-imagined, discussed and shared across social media apps such Facebook and Instagram globally. Acknowledging the potential of this unique brand marketing strategy, let’s take a look at some of the tried-and-tested guerrilla marketing methods that have successfully garnered widespread public interest and approval.
Setting up pop-up shops or mini kiosks
This brand marketing strategy banks on the importance of location to trump up sales and push for brand recognition. Many young entrepreneurs have jumped onto the ecommerce band wagon and are reaping the benefits of internet-based sales. However, instead of just relying on online traffic to reach out to new and potential customers, many of these businesses are now participating in bazaars and markets, and setting up mini kiosks or pop-up shops in malls to sell their wares. They go by the simple premise of convenience – bringing the shop to the shoppers – thus making them more willing to shell out money for the products and services on offer. This not only broadens the reach of the brand, but provides an alternative avenue for entrepreneurs to showcase their offerings to a wider customer base.
Giving away free samples
Customers are known to be suckers for free samples. Just the word ‘free’ is enough to drive them in droves to where the action lies! Businesses, being well aware of the public’s propensity for freebies, have long capitalised on samples or free gifts in their digital marketing and online marketing campaigns. Understanding how potential customers think, they are also aware that most people are usually reluctant to purchase a product or service that they are unfamiliar with, hence the draw of samples.
These samples serve to entice customers by giving them a chance to experience a product or service at no cost. If they like what they tried, the sales numbers will naturally grow. Also, most people would feel obligated to appreciate your generosity by either making a purchase or sparing a few minutes of their time to listen to your sales pitch if they are given samples or free trials.
Organising a flash mob
A flash mob is a guerrilla marketing tactic that has risen in popularity in recent years and is being increasingly employed by big brand names to tout their products and services. This quirky and creative advertising method has the ability to draw large crowds and command the attention of everyone in the vicinity, especially in this digital age. It is practical and makes use of readily available resources to encourage mass participation and make a statement. The odds of a flash mob that is well organised and entertaining being captured in photos or videos and disseminated across the various social media platforms is indeed high, and may even have the potential to go viral.
This is a great method to generate strong publicity for your brand, organisation, product or service. What’s more, it generally requires very little in terms of expenditure. Malaysians are known for their love of social media and selfies, and a participating in a flash mob would be right down their alley. Being a highly social advertising tactic and flattering to participants, there are many who would be more than willing to participate as part of the cast, or just be seen as a captive audience in one!
Championing a good cause
Guerrilla marketing tactics and unconventional advertising is not only useful for generating profits and achieving high sales targets, but can also be deployed to raise awareness on social or environmental issues. Take for example, a non-profit shelter for stray animals. Although a significant amount of interest and awareness on the issue of stray animals could be generated through digital marketing and online marketing methods, the impact can be felt more profoundly by volunteers going on the ground to engage with the public. Apart from getting more foot traffic, educating the public on the importance of responsible pet ownership and spaying through face-to-face interactions and by disseminating flyers and brochures is a sure-fire way of getting the message across.
Blogging to spread the word
Brick-and-mortar businesses often rely on word-of-mouth to gain publicity for their businesses, but it is becoming easier to expand their reach to potential customers by utilising digital marketing and online marketing tools. Blogs are one such tool, and its ability to draw a large number of readers has been proven time and again. Bloggers are considered influential figures today, and some are even their own brand. Gaining an endorsement from a blogger guarantees to raise the profile of a business, resulting in an increased number of potential customers.
Food bloggers, in particular, play a big role in growing the popularity of restaurants and cafes through their blogs, as many people prefer to read blog reviews on the food, ambience and level of service before visiting a particular restaurant/cafe. Using fashion and beauty bloggers to review clothing and cosmetic brands is also a popular brand marketing strategy, and a good review would usually ensure a big jump in the revenue generated by these companies.
Regardless of the type of marketing strategy used, fun, simple and witty methods should get the job done perfectly. It is not always necessary to have a big budget to gain more publicity. Guerrilla marketing tactics are a sustainable and cost-effective option for small business owners to build strong brand recognition and grow profitability.
If you need someone to help you with your marketing plans and strategies, head on over to ThunderQuote to find the best marketing professional to help you with some great guerrilla marketing ideas!
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