In light of the recent US presidential election, it feels as good of a time as any to discuss a concept in marketing and advertising that took the nation by storm over the past year and a half: Guerrilla Marketing. Love him or hate him, the president elect, Donald J. Trump (in case you haven’t heard yet), used this type of marketing to tap into a following and grow a grassroots campaign that was effective enough to eventually make him the leader of the free world. We by no means are endorsing his actions throughout his campaign, but it did provide us with a timely example of some of the techniques at the core of guerrilla marketing and how they are used to sway consumers.
What is Guerrilla Marketing?
Guerrilla marketing is defined as innovative, unconventional, and low-cost marketing techniques aimed at obtaining maximum exposure for a product. Guerrilla marketing is about surprising, shocking, making enduring impressions and creating ample amounts of social buzz amongst consumers–sound familiar? These types of marketing campaigns are aimed to connect with consumers at a more personal and memorable level.
Guerrilla Marketing is by no means a new concept in the advertising and marketing industries, especially for small businesses, but compared to traditional advertising it has had a much shorter lifespan. It was conceived, in part, due to widespread disdain for traditional advertising and consumers exhaustion from being marketed to.
In 1984, Jay Conrad Levinson coined the term with his book ‘Guerrilla Advertising’. Levinson says that the essence of guerrilla marketing is “achieving conventional goals, such as profits and joy, with unconventional methods, such as investing energy instead of money.”
Connecting with consumers
Two of our biggest takeaways from guerrilla marketing are focusing on personal connection and inserting energy more so than money into advertising and marketing campaigns. We believe that creating a community between businesses and consumers is the key to driving sales and building long-term, reliable consumer bases. There are studies that reportedly show this, but it is also our experience that much of the time consumers don’t always buy the best product in a given market, instead they buy the story, or the message behind what a business portrays through their product. In short, they invest in the people, not the product.
When we work with our clients, we understand that people are the most important aspect of any sales campaign. We want to work with clients that share our values and energy towards promotional events so that we can run the most effective and successful campaigns possible. Often, simply referring to a possible buyer by name and having a personal conversation with them will have a longer lasting effect than creating flashy labels (spending tons of money) for your products.
Examples of Guerrilla Marketing
There are endless ways to effectively use guerrilla marketing to your advantage, and this is due to the fact that it relies on originality and creativity. At Modern Talent, we focus on finding fun and engaging new ways to catch consumers attention at Trade Shows, Bar & Restaurant Demos, Live Events, etc… as well as positioning Brand Ambassadors strategically to represent your company in a professional and energetic fashion. Investing in a promotional staffing agency is already a step in the right direction if you are looking to break away from expensive, traditional marketing tactics, but we take pride in continuously searching for new ways to engage with consumers.
To paint a better picture, here’s some other really fun and innovative examples of how companies have used guerrilla marketing in the past:
- Graffiti: a better term might be “controlled” or “regulated” graffiti, being that as a company you would be wise to get permission to spray your logo in alleys or on the side of buildings, but companies such as Hummer, McDonald’s and Coca Cola have hired professional graffiti artists to plaster their ads on buildings.
- Viral Videos: easier said than done, but creating a strange, funny or shocking video for the web is a great way to get your consumers to work for you. Once your video gains traction, online users will begin sharing it with their friends and many other like-minded people (target audiences!) who will organically run your marketing campaign for you.
- Stealth Marketing: also known as “undercover marketing,” is performed by hiring actors to use your product out in the public eye and interact with strangers who may be interested in the product as well. Example: in 2002, Sony hired actors to wander around cities and ask strangers to take photos of them. During the interaction the actors would rave about their awesome new phones and all of its capabilities.
When should you use Guerrilla Marketing?
As budgets constrict and alternative methods for advertising and marketing grow, guerrilla marketing will continue to grow as a strategy as well. In this day and age, it has become almost a necessity to invest in guerrilla tactics. But, as we mentioned earlier, this doesn’t mean investing money, it means investing time and energy. We understand that businesses, especially small businesses don’t have a lot of spare time or energy to spend on such campaigns, so hiring a promotional staffing agency is a great way to cost effectively accomplish such a need.
Traditional advertising costs continue to grow as print and television space continues to shrink due to consumer habits and consumption trends. AdBlock exists for a reason: consumers see hundreds of ads every day and they are growing tired of it. Guerrilla marketing offers an alternative to both overspending on ads and exhausting your hopeful buyers, so if you haven’t already, it’s time to start refocusing your marketing strategy.