Guerrilla marketing is an advertising strategy which increases brand exposure through the use of unconventional campaigns which initiate social discussion and "buzz". This can often be achieved with lower budgets than conventional advertising methods, allowing small and medium-sized businesses the chance to compete against larger competitors. Through unconventional methods, inventiveness and creativity, guerrilla marketing leaves the receiver with a long lasting impression of the brand as most guerrilla marketing campaigns target the receivers at a personal level, taking them by surprise and may incorporate an element of shock. Guerrilla marketing is typically executed exclusively in public places, including streets, parks, shopping centres etc., to ensure maximum audience resulting in further discussion on social media.
Guerrilla marketing is the term used for several types of marketing categories including street marketing, ambient marketing, presence marketing, alternative marketing, experimental marketing, grassroots marketing, wild posting, guerrilla projection advertising, undercover marketing and astroturfing.
Jay Conrad Levinson coined the term Guerrilla Marketing with his 1984 book of the same name. Through the enhancement of technology and common use of internet and mobile phones, marketing communication has become more affordable and guerrilla marketing is on the rise, allowing the spread of newsworthy guerrilla campaigns.
When establishing a guerrilla marketing strategy, there are seven elements to a clear and logical approach. Firstly, write a statement that identifies the purpose of the strategy. Secondly define how the purpose will be achieved concentrating on the key advantages. Next Levinson (1989) suggests writing a descriptive summary on the target market or consumers. The fourth element is to establish a statement that itemizes the marketing tools and methods planning to be used in the strategy (for example, radio advertising during 6.30am – 9am on weekday mornings or window displays that are regularly updated). The fifth step is to create a statement which positions the brand/product/company in the market. Define the brands characteristics and give it an identity is the sixth element. Lastly, clearly identify a budget which will be put solely towards marketing going forward.
For a successful overall guerrilla marketing campaign, combine the above steps with seven winning actions. These seven principles are commitment – stick to the marketing plan without changing it; investment – appreciate that marketing is an investment, consistency – ensure the marketing message and strategy remains consistent across all forms of, confidence – show confidence in the commitment to the guerrilla marketing strategy, patience – time and dedication to the strategy, assortment – incorporate different methods of advertising and marketing for optimum results, and subsequent – build customer loyalty and retention though follow up marketing post-sale.
Levinson suggests guerrilla marketing tactics were initiated to enable small businesses with limited financial resources to gain an upper hand on the corporate giants who had unlimited budgets and resources at their disposal. Large companies cottoned on to the success of guerrilla marketing and have had hundreds of effective attention grabbing campaigns using the strategies originally designed for smaller businesses with minimal marketing budgets.
Non-traditional, unconventional and shocking campaigns are highly successful in obtaining media coverage and therefore brand awareness, albeit good or bad media attention. However, like most marketing strategies a bad campaign can backfire and damage profits and sales. Undercover marketing and astroturfing are two type of guerrilla marketing that are deemed as risky and can be detrimental to the company.
“Advertising can be dated back to 4000 BC where Egyptians used papyrus to make sales messages and wall posters. Traditional advertising and marketing slowly developed over the centuries but never bloomed until early 1900s” ("What Is Guerrilla Marketing?", 2010). Guerrilla marketing are relatively simple, use tactics to advertise on a very small budget. It is to make a campaign that is “shocking, funny, unique, outrageous, clever and creative that people can’t stop talking about it” (Uk essays, 2016). Guerrilla marketing is different when compared to traditional marketing tactics (Staff, 2016). “Guerrilla marketing means going after conventional goals of profits, sales and growth but doing it by using unconventional means, such as expanding offerings during gloomy economic days to inspire customers to increase the size of each purchase” (Staff, 2016). Guerrilla marketing also suggest that that rather investing money, it is better to “invest time, energy, imagination and knowledge” (Staff, 2016) instead. Guerrilla marketing puts profit as their main priority not sales as their main focal point, this is done to urge the growth of geometrically by enlarging the size of each transactions. This all done through one of the most powerful marketing weapons around, the telephone. Research shows that it will always increases profits and sales. The term “guerrilla first appeared during the war of independence in Spain and Portugal at the beginning of the 19th century it can be translated as battle” (Uk essays, 2016). Even thou guerrilla marketing was aimed for small business; this did not stop bigger business from adopting the same ideology. “Larger business has been using unconventional marketing to complement their advertising campaigns, even then some marketers argue that when bigger business utilize guerrilla marketing tactics, it isn’t true guerrilla” ("What Is Guerrilla Marketing?", 2010). The reason being that larger companies have bigger budgets and usually their brands well established. In some cases, it is fa rikier for a larger business to do guerrilla marketing tactics. Which can cause problem when their stunts become a flop when compared to smaller business, as they do not run as much risk, as most people will just write it off as another failed stunt. Many methods in guerrilla marketing consist of “graffiti (or reverse graffiti, where a dirty wall is selectively cleaned), interactive displays, intercept encounters in public spaces, flash mobs, or various PR stunts are often used” ("Guerrilla Marketing | What is Guerrilla Marketing?” 2016).
Small business use social media as a form of marketing. This Is due to that social media in the 21st century is phenomenon. “Collecting billions of people around the world through a series of status updates, tweets, and other rich media” ("Guerrilla Marketing Strategies for Small Businesses", 2013). Social media is a powerful tool in the world of business. Guerrilla marketing strategies and tactics are a great and cost effective way to generate” awareness for your business, products and services. To maximize full potential in your marketing efforts, it’s to blend them with a powerful and robust online marking strategy with a marketing automation software” ("Guerrilla Marketing Strategies for Small Businesses", 2013). Which can boost small businesses. Guerrilla tactics consist of instruments that have effects on the efforts. Some instruments are usually there to maximize the surprise effect and some of these instruments mainly cutting advertising costs.” Guerrilla marketing is a way of increasing the number of individuals exposed to the advertising with the cost of campaign. The instrument of diffusion helps to each a wide audience, which causes none or little cost because consumers (viral marketing) or the media (guerrilla PR) pass on the advertising message” ("Guerrilla Marketing: The Nature of the Concept and Propositions for Further Research", 2016). Guerrilla campaigns usually implement a free ride approach, this means that to cut their costs and increase the number of recipients simultaneously to maximize the low cost effect. For example, they will try to benefit from placing advertisements on big events e.g. sporting events. Guerrilla marketing was regarded to target existing customers rather than new ones, aiming to increase their engagement with a product and/ or brand. “When selecting audiences for a guerrilla message, a group that is already engaged with the product at some level is the best target; they will be quicker to recognize and respond to creative tactics, and more likely to share the expriece with their friends, as social media has become a major feature of the market landscape, guerrilla marketing has shown to be particularly effective online. Consumers who regularly use social media are more likely to share their interactions with guerrilla marketing, and creative advertising can quickly go viral” ("Guerrilla Marketing | What is Guerrilla Marketing?", 2016).