What is Guerrilla Marketing?

By on November 30, 2011

Guerrilla warfare is about waging small individual battles on different flanks of the enemy territory, primarily to harass and demoralize a stronger and much more powerful enemy.

Similarly, guerrilla marketing is about using unconventional marketing techniques to outsmart a bigger competitor. Guerrilla marketing relies on innovative promotion strategies that can be executed cheaply and generates maximum buzz and catches the competitor off-guard, as opposed to plain vanilla advertising that relies heavily on huge marketing budgets and not on innovation or imagination.

The focus of a clever guerrilla marketing campaign is to create a unique and sticky concept that eventually goes viral, special in today’s heavily connected world. It is suitable for small businesses which don’t have heavy marketing budgets.

Key Principles Involved

  1. Go niche and become its leader – For a small player taking on the big competitors is suicide. So it is more fruitful to select a small niche and focus completely on becoming a leader in that niche. The big player won’t bother because the niche is not lucrative or big enough for him, but it is big enough for the small player to generate profits.
  2. Get Lean and mean – The biggest strength of a guerrilla is his ability to do things fast because of his small size. Strategies, business, manpower, all can be changed in a matter of days. The big player can’t do that.
  3. Be prepared for evacuation – If the big competitor comes calling, leave your position fast and occupy some other position. By the time the enemy catches up you would have made a heavy dent in the new position.

Some of the strategies adopted by a guerrilla marketer can be price discount, cheaper goods, innovative distribution, product innovation, much better service, unconventional advertising, etc.

Nowadays guerrilla marketing is generally associated with any kind of promotion strategy that is unconventional and seeks to gain maximum mileage at minimum cost. Examples include, viral marketing, buzz marketing, etc.

Check out some awesome guerrilla marketing campaigns given below:

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  1. Samarth

    November 30, 2011 at 4:44 pm

    Interesting. But doesnt this type of advertising, cross lines of corporate ethics? Should a marketer also be prepared to face legal consequences?

    • Shiv

      December 1, 2011 at 9:24 am

      You have raised a good point Samarth. While undertaking guerrilla marketing tactics, it is very important that you don’t cross the line. An american TV show went too far and caused public panic, incurring the wrath of local administration and police. Recently Benetton (famous for causing controversies) put up pictures of world leaders (political and spiritual) kissing each others as part of their “Unhate” campaign. Immediately, Vatican expressed it’s wrath. Though Benetton apologized for involving the Pope, they didn’t pull back the campaign. In fact Benetton has built its brand on the basis of controversial, PR grabbing, guerrila marketing campaigns.

  2. Arvind

    December 2, 2011 at 6:40 am

    I believe that as long as there is a strong product, such questionable methods don’t really matter. Yes, there is a legal edge to it, but more than that, the most imminent aspect would be public embarrassment, which a strong product can easily avoid!

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