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Guerrilla Marketing

Guerrilla marketing is one of the best forms of advertising for small businesses. A campaign can have a really high impact on your traffic, leads and revenue while also being highly affordable.

Even big brands use guerrilla marketing to support their bigger, traditional campaigns.

Learn how you can use guerrilla marketing for your small business here.


What Is Guerrilla Marketing?

Guerrilla marketing is a concept which takes its name from guerrilla warfare. It is usually described as an unconventional marketing strategy with high energy and imagination. The main aspect of this style is to surprise your target audience enough to create a significant impression and considerable social buzz.

Studies have demonstrated impressions created with audiences during guerrilla marketing campaigns are more valuable than those developed by traditional marketing strategies. This is attributed to the idea that guerrilla marketing aims to target the consumer at a more personal and memorable level.

Guerrilla marketing has been used by numerous brands both big and small to gain traction for their campaigns.

Guerrilla marketing was termed in 1984 by Jay Conrad Levinson in his book by the same name. Since then, the strategy has grown and developed organically.


Case Studies Of Guerrilla Marketing

There are many examples how guerrilla marketing has created incredible returns for brands. One classic case study relates to the Blair Witch Project. The fake-documentary really set the standard when it came to guerrilla marketing in the film industry.

The budget for the film was just $50,000 (including production) and yet was able to make $240 million at the box office.

The marketing activities included building a website to back up claims the footage was legitimate, filming a documentary about the missing students, spreading rumours on message boards and placing missing posters for the students.

The exact same strategy was used in the publicity for Cloverfield, but by the time of this latter film, social media had come into force and each of the characters had their own social network profile.

Another example of guerrilla marketing can be found with Coca-Cola. The drinks company created the Happiness Machine, a vending machine that delivered more than cold drinks to students at St John’s University in Queens, New York. With the help of 5 hidden cameras they filmed the reactions of customers, created a video and posted it online.

The video has been seen by millions of people worldwide and has won the prestigious CLIO Gold Interactive Award. Interestingly, the film had a significant market penetration in Brazil, Mexico, Japan and Russia.

After this success, Coca-Cola decided to do similar videos.

French charity Médecins du Monde created a campaign in Paris to draw attention to the plight of the homeless. To do this they distributed small pop-up tents to homeless individuals around the city. The result was the immediate allocation of government funds to an emergency shelter program for the homeless.

Another common example of guerrilla marketing is the use of graffiti to advertise a product. This art form grabs a lot of attention from the public and is especially catching at a public space where there is a high footfall or a lot of waiting (i.e. bus stops, train stations, etc).

Not all campaigns are successes. In 2002, Vodafone paid two men to streak across the pitch at a major rugby match. The men had the Vodafone logo attached to their backs.

However, spectators were annoyed at the disruption to the match and the two men were fined. The campaign also had little positive impact.


Why Should Your Business Use Guerrilla Marketing?

There are several main reasons why your small business should be using guerrilla marketing in your strategy. These are:

Inexpensive: guerrilla marketing is a low budget marketing form. It cost Coca-Cola very little to adapt a vending machine and place cameras to record reactions. Likewise, it costs very little to create a website and a few posters that were part of the advertising campaign of The Blair Witch Project. Yet both projects were very well received by audiences and yielded high returns.

Social Sharing: Going viral is very important today and guerrilla marketing is the perfect way to get access to that. Whether the campaign is a well written tweet or a perfectly produced video, getting shared thousands or millions of times can attract audiences to your brand and have the world talking about you. The more social conversation occurring; the more excited your audience will become.

Memorable: Guerrilla marketing is about surprising your audiences with a piece of advertising which is innovative and unexpected. A perfectly executed message will allow your campaign to be remembered by your audience and spoken about for years to come.

Extra Reach: Guerrilla marketing has the potential to penetrate your market audience far better than other marketing strategies. This can lead high levels of traffic to your website and a significant number of leads being generated.


What Should You Do During A Guerrilla Marketing Campaign?

Coming up with an ideal guerrilla marketing campaign can be difficult. The options are limited only by your imagination and how you believe it can be executed. However, there are a few pieces of advice to consider when designing your campaign:

  1. Create a campaign your audience will enjoy and want to share with their peers.
  2. Always keep to your brand’s personality and ethics.
  3. Do not annoy your audience.
  4. Ensure your activities are perfectly legal and no one will get arrested or fined for the actions.



Guerrilla marketing is one of the best marketing strategies for small businesses. It can attract a huge proportion of the market on a small budget by creating social awareness and conversation about your campaign. If you create the right campaign and it goes viral; the results can last years.


Action Steps:

  • Study how your competitors are currently marketing themselves. If they’ve conduced guerrilla marketing before, see what the results were and what improvements could be made.
  • Get your marketing team together and see what ideas they can come up with for your guerrilla marketing campaigns.

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