Guerilla Marketing Ideas For Small Businesses

In some of my previous articles I have spoken about success stories such as the Million Dollar Homepage  and using viral videos like the Harlem Shake crazeInterestingly, both share one common denominator in that they both have a unique way of selling to the customer. They are both fun -and in the modern marketplace, fun sells!

We are exposed to thousands of marketing messages every day, and it is difficult to compete for the attention of our customers. Marketing which is catchy, thought provoking and entertaining has the best chance of doing that.

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Furthermore, now that it’s possible to share anything quickly through social media, finding new and unconventional marketing techniques is a must for businesses everywhere!

One solution to this problem is guerrilla marketing.

So what is guerrilla marketing?

It’s a low cost method of advertising used to get a message across to a potential consumer using unusual, surprising or funny methods to catch the attention of consumers as they go about their normal lives. 

The term ‘guerrilla marketing’ can be traced back to guerrilla warfare in which unconventional methods are used to gain an advantage in a somewhat awkward or unforgiving environment such as the jungle. In marketing the unforgiving environment is not a desert, or a jungle – but an exhausted market, a brand new and untried product, or a market dominated by companies with much bigger budgets.

Using guerrilla marketing as a marketing method is most successful when it catches the consumer off guard in their daily lives – as they are on the way to work, on their lunch break, at the gym etc.

The more engaging and imaginative the concepts, then the more consumer interaction, word of mouth and, ultimately, sales you will achieve.

Here are some examples of guerrilla marketing in action:

Copenhagen Zoo - painting a local bus in an incredibly imaginitive way:

Copenhagen Zoo Guerilla Marketing

A US-based furniture store furnishing a bus stop:

US furniture store guerilla marketing

King Kong 3D Film Promotion - creating huge footprints in the beach with a 'trampled' car:

King kong guerilla marketing

Nivea designing a sofa to promote an anti-cellulite cream:

Nivea bench guerilla marketing 

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This video contains a whole host of examples:

How small businesses can use guerrilla marketing effectively…..

Here are some simple, effective and most importantly low cost ideas which you could adopt into your marketing:

  1. Have a well-publicised random giveaway
  2. Project your images over your building, or other peoples buildings (with permission)
  3. Hire street performers or musicians in a busy area to create a public event
  4. Paint your company vehicles in an imaginitve way
  5. Use unusual graffiti or urban art on or around your company building to catch attention
  6. Stickers or Post-it notes – use funny or unusual messages on stickers or post it notes and then stick them everywhere you can
  7. Signage - treat your own building as a billboard and put a huge, attention-grabbing sign up
  8. Use chalk to write or draw company messages in pavements or buildings
  9. T-shirts or company clothing
  10. Temporary tattoos or body art for your staff at events or in store
  11. Adapt or amend outdoor installations like park benches, bus stops, street lights

Like all other forms of marketing, the most innovative use social media and mobile/smart phone technology to create or promote their guerrilla marketing experience. A simple method is placing your Twitter or Facebook page name on your guerrilla marketing piece. 

You should also take pictures and video your marketing piece and then blog about it, because this can multiply the reach and impact far beyond the people who physically see it.

Take as an example, this campaign from Volkswagen. It is likely that thousands of people saw this stunt in a german underground station - however the video has now had over 3.5 million views!

You must also remember to identify the risks that come with adopting guerrilla marketing into your business strategy. A rather comical but serious story came from America when a business attempted to promote an animated TV program and placed LED lit boxes around the city. The authorities didn’t see the funny side when they were mistaken for explosives and a number of freeways, subways, petrol stations, bridges and a section of the interstate were closed due to a bomb threat! Of course this caused a lot of disruption and created a bad company image, not something which many marketers are trying to achieve for their companies.

So, thinking of using guerrilla marketing? Get you team together and start discussing what low cost options you could develop. Don’t hold back and most importantly have fun creating whatever it is you decide to do!

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