Guerilla Marketing for SMEs

The concept of Guerilla Marketing has captured our attention this month. It inspired us to create our ‘Gorilla Marketing’ concept and remains a strong influence on our marketing philosophy. We thought it would be interesting to explore the concept closer and outline how the ‘guerrilla’ ethos could be employed in your business’ marketing, whilst staying the right side of the law!

Guerilla Marketing – a definition
The term ‘Guerilla Marketing’ was coined by Jay Conrad Levinson in 1984 to define a form of marketing that took its inspiration from ‘Guerilla’ fighters in combat.

Mr. Levinson states that the ‘soul and essence of guerrilla marketing’ is in:

“Achieving conventional goals, such as profits and joy, with unconventional methods, such as investing energy instead of money.”

Inherent within the term are the obvious connotations of a ‘David versus Goliath scenario’, with the smaller, more agile entity, competing against it larger and wealthier competitor/s, utilising unconventional and less costly methods of marketing to engage with their target audience.

Equally relevant, is the relationship between the guerrilla marketer and the landscape in which they operate. ‘Guerilla’ fighters traditionally utilise their superior knowledge of the land to gain an advantage over their less knowledgeable counterparts. They live, breath and sleep the land and therefore have a deeper understanding of it and can use this to their benefit in combat.

Guerilla marketing – the implications for SMEs
Extending the analogy of guerrilla warfare into the sphere of marketing and business has great potential for SMEs.

Typically, SMEs have far fewer resources available to them than their larger corporate competitors. In the battle to engage with their target audience, SMEs can’t compete by pouring money into elaborate and expensive marketing campaigns. Instead they need to invoke the ethos of the guerrilla fighter and think differently, unconventionally and leverage their greatest assets, their size and closeness to the land, in this case the marketplace in which they operate.

SMEs often command a far greater understanding of their immediate marketplace. They can enjoy close relationships with all their clients. Management are never far from the customer and can listen to and interpret their needs and respond quickly to demand, without the need to navigate through the extended chain of command that exists within their larger competitors. Perhaps the SMEs greatest weakness, its size, can also become its greatest strength. Lower overheads, the ability to respond quickly to changing market conditions and the entrepreneurial spirit inherent within the SME can give the organisation an edge over the larger players in their marketplace.

Guerilla Marketing – how it works
Guerilla marketing involves investing energy and imagination, rather than money into your marketing. It is about capitalising on the landscape in which you operate to its maximum potential and employing human psychology to promote greater awareness of your business, products and services.

Guerilla Marketing was invented for SMEs and entrepreneurs. It is incredibly effective in local or regional markets.

The objective is to create a buzz about your product or service, to make it remarkable, unusual, noteworthy, standout and imaginative. The essence of guerrilla marketing is to get your target audience talking about you and generate word-of-mouth referrals from there.

As with most marketing, the smaller the group you target the more effective the marketing.

Whilst being unconventional is crucial, it is important you stay the right side of the law. Graffiti and street stunts are commonplace in the guerrilla sphere but could see you gain press for the wrong reasons, as you fall foul of the law.

Perhaps most importantly, a sense of humour is vital in Guerrilla Marketing.

It is easy to take oneself too seriously, so make sure you have some fun with it.

To give you some ideas, here’s a few examples we like.


Taxi sign – Guerilla marketing by mediafun

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