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Guerilla Marketing

  • Guerilla Marketing: Short summary
  • Guerilla Marketing: Detailed summary
  • Guerrilla marketing instruments
  • Examples of guerrilla marketing campaigns
  • Guerrilla marketing success factors
  • Conclusion

 

Guerilla Marketing: Short summary

Guerrilla marketing is an innovative communication strategy that thrives on the element of surprise. The tactics employed often present particularly eye-catching creative ideas as advertisers try to communicate their messages via unconventional marketing measures. As a result, guerrilla marketing generally requires no more than a modest budget to achieve maximum impact.

What is Guerilla Marketing? Detailed summary:

The term ‘Guerrilla Marketing’ was first coined by the US marketer Jay Conrad Levinson in the 1980s and is borrowed from the military vocabulary. Here, guerrilla tactics refers to a type of warfare designed to weaken a targeted enemy by deploying unconventional strategies. Guerrilla marketing thus aims to gain a competitive edge over business rivals through the use of atypical marketing measures.

Guerrilla marketing is regarded as unconventional because it abandons classical advertising measures in favor of the more unorthodox approaches associated with the types of direct and personal contact achieved via below-the-line communications.

During a guerrilla marketing campaign, advertising is deliberately placed on objects and in locations where consumers would not necessarily expect advertising to be displayed. The possibilities for this type of advertising are endless, ranging from advertising on everyday items such as coasters, escalators or public facilities to street actions such as flash-mob events. These innovative forms of advertising operate at an emotional level because those targeted will most likely laugh, show surprise, or perhaps even be startled.

Guerrilla marketing may have several different objectives but is usually employed to introduce a brand or product, or to strengthen a market image or brand awareness.

In the past, guerrilla marketing has often been used to promote new films and is also a common method of sports advertising. Because its offbeat approach attracts a high level of attention and can be achieved even with a small budget, experts not only recommend guerrilla marketing for major brands but also for small and medium enterprises as well as self-employed entrepreneurs.

Guerrilla marketing instruments:

Guerrilla Marketing is divided into different sectors, though in practice the distinctions are somewhat blurred. These are usually classified as ambient marketing, ambush marketing, sensation marketing and viral marketing.

Ambient Marketing:

Ambient Marketing describes surprising product promotions that reach out to consumers in their normal, everyday environment. This method is all about the unusual deployment of outdoor advertising in public spaces. Thus, ambient marketing includes innovative advertising at airports, on buses and trains, or in restaurants. Advertising in such locations might, for example, appear on coasters, postcards, or even toilet seats in pubs and bars.

Ambush Marketing:

Ambush marketing, also known as copycat marketing, occurs when the publicity and attention surrounding a topic or event is used to highlight your own brand. This technique is frequently used in conjunction with large-scale events to effect an advantageous image transfer benefitting your own brand.

Ambush marketing is understandably controversial, given that this type of advertising forms an essentially fraudulent association with an event.

Sensation Marketing:

Sensation marketing again involves unusual actions or spectacular demonstrations carried out, for example, at the point-of-sale. The marketing action thus operates as a promoter or multiplier. Examples of sensation marketing include surprise fashion shows or flash-mobs in pedestrian zones.

Viral Marketing:

Viral marketing is also associated with guerrilla marketing, the idea being to rapidly attract the greatest amount of attention within your target group.

Viral marketing aims to spread content virally across a consumer population by personal, word-of-mouth recommendation, or online sharing via social media.

Examples of guerrilla marketing campaigns:

Many companies have used eye-catching guerrilla marketing campaigns to draw attention to their brands or products. Thus “King Kong” was advertised with a huge footprint on the beach around the time the film was released; and the mysterious disappearance of students in an enchanted wood was staged ahead of the launch of the low-budget film “The Blair Witch Project”. And as this example from the past demonstrates, the Mini brand was always devising new ways to engage with its audience via guerrilla marketing.

Further examples of guerrilla marketing:

  • Colgate gave away ice lollies. Eating the lolly revealed that the stick was actually shaped as a wooden toothbrush and was printed with Colgate advertising.
  • Beiersdorf placed dual-textured blue sofas displaying the Nivea logo in furniture stores – the upholstery covering was designed to illustrate the difference between cellulite and smooth skin.
  • McDonald’s converted a zebra crossing into a large bag of french fries.
  • Nike captured media attention by entering an 80-year-old runner wearing Nike equipment for a marathon sponsored by Adidas, thus weakening the advertising impact for the actual sponsor.
  • For encouraging customers to use rental cars to dodge a rail strike, Sixt GDL car rental chief Claus Weselsky was promptly declared employee of the month – thus ensuring his action became a prominent topic of conversation.

Guerrilla marketing success factors:

In addition to a really creative idea, good planning and preparation are particularly important in guerrilla marketing campaigns. To ensure success it is also crucial that the proposed guerrilla action is well-matched to the brand and to the target group (“Brand Fit”). In addition, points of contact should be created to allow consumers to immediately respond to the planned action. For successful guerrilla marketing, it is recommended that the action engage consumers and be networked across all media channels. In order to spread the campaign virally, the target group should be encouraged to provide Internet content – for example by uploading photos on Pinterest.

Conclusion:

Guerrilla marketing is a very creative advertising method which displays products or brands using the element of surprise. Various guerrilla marketing instruments can be employed such as ambient marketing, sensation marketing, ambush marketing and viral marketing – though the boundaries between these subregions are quite fluid.

In the battle for consumer attention, guerrilla marketing is an opportunity to use advertising to appeal to a target audience when they are not expecting it, and catching an audience unawares gives the advertiser a positive advantage over the competition. During guerrilla marketing, emotional triggers such as humor are often employed to achieve marketing goals, and such emotional experiences both help consumers to notice the advertising and make the experience more memorable.

Guerrilla marketing actions can attract enhanced attention, and thus have the potential to spread virally. But guerrilla marketing can also be risky if the brand fit is unsatisfactory or if ambush marketing attempts any particularly audacious exploits. Guerrilla marketing frequently operates in legal grey areas, and companies overstepping the mark can sometimes trigger a public outrage on social media.

 

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