Marketing is a contest for people’s attention.”

– Seth Godin

In this Era of Modern Advertising, You as a Marketer, constantly trying to figure out the best way to get the maximum attention of your potential customers.

But, what do you do about it?

In order to do get attention of your audience, your advertisements has to be effective and noticeable.

To stand out from the crowd with Minimal Budget, Marketers set out to create extraordinary campaigns that catch attention unexpectedly in the course of their day-to-day routines, called – Guerilla Marketing.


What is Guerilla Marketing?

(McDonalds smartly used the Zebra Crossing for their Guerilla Marketing Efforts)

Guerilla Marketing is the marketing of a product/ service in a succinct manner which alleviates the pain points of an end user or simplifies an existing process which is rather complicated. The Guerilla Marketing campaigns aren’t drummed around like regular Marketing Campaigns usually. The company makes the ad/ message visible to the people and let them form an opinion on it and thereby, generating an interest which eventually leads to the increase in revenue.

Guerilla Marketing is nothing but an unconventional advertising strategy. Advertising as a concept dates back to 4000 BC, where ancient Egyptians used wall posters and sales messages to put their products/ services into the limelight. The concept of traditional advertising was in place for a long time, but it only gained worldwide relevance after the 1900s.

The main goal of an advertisement during this period was to inform and educate the customers on the company’s products and services. Its focus lay only on this and not on entertaining or engaging the audience.

(This Impressive ad by Allstate Insurance helped them get more patrons for their Car Insurance Service)

Advertising got its desired Launchpad in the 1960s with the use of commercial messages in media channels such as radio and print. This kind of generic advertising turned more advanced during the late 80s and the early 90s when TV commercials began seeing a rapid rise and companies of all kinds wanted their ads to be displayed on television.

The term ‘Guerilla Marketing’ was coined from the concept of Guerilla Warfare, a concept championed by rebels all around the world, who use unconventional military methods such as ambushes, sabotages to gain an edge over the oppressors.

The concept was brought to light by Jay Conrad Levinson in his book “Guerilla Advertising” in 1984. Guerilla Marketing follows the same concept, where marketers use unconventional and creative ways to get the message across to the people than just pouring money into expensive Marketing Campaigns.

Guerilla Marketing Campaigns generally yield high ROI because of the succinct message and quirky brand positioning.

Guerilla Marketing generally relies heavily on ingenuity, unconventional ideas and imagination. The end goal of Guerilla Marketing is to surprise the customers and to create an unforgettable experience in their minds. Guerilla Marketing is generally more appealing to the consumers as it is personalized which makes it more memorable for them.

Related: How to use Instagram for Guerilla Marketing

Guerilla Marketing is generally used by small companies who use quirky and succinct messaging to successfully position the brand in the mind of consumers. It is widely chosen by smaller companies when they are taking on the behemoths of their particular industry, the smaller companies do not have the advertising revenue of the behemoths, so they use Guerilla Marketing to successfully overcome this impediment and create a memorable image in the minds of the end user.

Guerilla Marketing doesn’t just cater to companies, it also caters to the need of job seekers and freelancers who want to stand out in the competition.


How Small Businesses Are Using Guerrilla Marketing

Guerilla Marketing is ideal for small businesses as it doesn’t come with an expensive price tag attached to it.  It is also the best way to personalize your message and cater to the exact need of your clients. Guerilla Marketing combined with right positioning, allows a company to be better noticed and effectively stand out from the competition while also maintaining a fun and quirky brand image.

Several Experts on the concept of Guerilla Marketing were interviewed by the Entrepreneur Magazine and each of them put forth the reach and the potential of guerilla marketing.

“…unauthorized and disruptive” and “sticky.” – Brett Zaccardi of Street Attack

“…brand activation that isn’t 100 percent permitted by the city, event or establishment.” – Adam Salacuse, Founder and President of ALT TERRAIN

“…is a state of mind. It simply isn’t guerrilla if it isn’t newsworthy.” – Drew Neisser, CEO of Renegade Marketing

One of the most relevant examples of Guerilla Marketing was the movie “The Blair Witch Project”, a 1999 psychological horror movie created by five graduates of the Central Florida Film Program. They had a minimal budget and a cheap camera, however, they were determined to attract large attention towards their film and so they set up a campaign about the fictitious specter that resided in the woods and named it “The Blair Witch Project”.

They also created a website to ride the coattails of the successful campaign and effectively spread rumors of a mythical spirit that resided near the woods of Burkittsville, Maryland. They also added an equally chilling tagline “In October of 1994, three student filmmakers disappeared in the woods near Burkittsville, Maryland, while shooting a documentary. A year later, their footage was found.”

The movie drew a great amount of attention and its preview was aired on Bravo and this raised a furor to the already existing attention, so much so that the producer of the Bravo show asked them to create a standalone website for discussions about the Blair Witch Project as there were a lot of messages on Bravo’s site and discussion boards.

The website was officially launched in the summer of 1998, but it had already generated a lot of attention thanks to the unique marketing efforts undertaken by the duo. Their Project was also accepted into the Sundance film festival by November of the same year despite them not having an actual marketing budget in place for it.  The total revenue of the Blair Witch project was $ 250 Million, a sumptuous return for a college quintet.


How Big Businesses Are Using Guerrilla Marketing

Guerilla marketing in the beginning was only utilized by small companies to keep pace with the behemoths in their particular industry. But not long after, the bigger businesses too started realizing the reach and potential of guerilla marketing and decided to add to their list of marketing collaterals.

The major difference here is, the bigger businesses naturally have a significantly bigger ad budget and generally come out with Expensive Marketing Campaigns, they, of all people, will not use Guerilla Marketing to slyly position themselves in the consumers’ minds. This is the thought process of a common individual and it might be difficult for bigger companies to persuade them into believing in their guerilla marketing campaigns.

It is also riskier for bigger businesses as their reputation is at stake if the guerilla marketing campaign goes south. They cannot just write it off as a “Failed Marketing Stunt” like the smaller companies.

Guerilla Marketing is basically an advertisement with an asterisk next to it. The ads do not reveal the true purpose at the first glance and leaves much to the imagination and understanding of the consumer and lets them form opinions on the subject.

Many Large companies have used Guerilla Marketing to successfully cater to the needs of the audience and connect with them on a more personal level. One such company to impressively utilize guerilla marketing campaigns is Coca-Cola.

During January 2010, The Coca- Cola Company created the “Friendly Twist” video showing a Coca- Cola vending machine that dispenses more than just the regular cold beverage. It was fitted with a unique lid that could only be opened when you had the right combination with the help of a stranger. The purpose of this entire project was to break the ice between freshman students. All of the action was captured by 5 strategically placed hidden cameras. The reaction of the students was unscripted and drew the attention of a lot of people towards the video.

The video went viral and has close to 5 million views. The ad received an impressive market penetration in countries like Brazil, Mexico, Japan and Russia. It also won the much coveted CLIO Gold Interactive Award.

In conclusion, we can agree on the point that marketing campaigns need not have big bucks for them to run efficiently. Proper ads with the requisite positioning will create the same effect without having the cost implications of the former.

These are our views about Guerilla Marketing and its effective usage. Did we miss something or do you have something to add? Let us know.

We sincerely hope it helped clear some doubts you had about Guerilla Marketing

Stay tuned as we are coming up with an expansive material detailing whether Digital Marketing or Guerilla Marketing is useful for Modern businesses.