Guerilla Marketing

This week we tackle one of our favourite topics, the concept of Guerilla marketing. The term, coined by Jay Conrad Levinson in 1970, describes an unconventional form of marketing intended to achieve maximum results using the minimum budget. Something we are sure all businesses will appreciate!

The main job of any guerilla campaign is to be noticed and remembered by the target audience. “Guerilla marketing works because it’s simple to understand, easy to implement and outrageously inexpensive.” – Levinson. The use of this type of marketing is effective for SMEs because it does not require big budgets. The most vital part of a guerilla campaign is creating a buzz around the message or product to ensure it gets people talking. Levinson states, “Broadening your search isn’t as important as aiming your message at the right people.”

Another advantage of Guerilla marketing is that it is unexpected – the recipient is caught off guard and as a result is more susceptible to an emotional response – laughter, confusion, happiness etc. This reaction is far more memorable than more traditional forms of marketing.

What is the difference between guerilla and traditional marketing?

In the 40’s and 50’s, the main goal of advertising was focused on educating your target audience, rather than entertaining or engaging with them. People became desensitized to this form of marketing and by the 70’s things needed to change. In response, Guerilla Marketing came into being and challenged traditional advertising, which revolved around huge budgets and widespread exposure.  The attraction of guerilla marketing is that it is not educational or designed to teach us something. Instead, it evokes a unique reaction to distinguish the business and ensure it is memorable.

The interactive form of some guerilla marketing also allows the audience to feel as though they are part of a project, thereby fostering a relationship with the business. The more creative a project, the more attention it gets.

However, “mediocre marketing with commitment works better than brilliant marketing without commitment.”  The main tenet for effective guerrilla marketing is time and effort. SMEs tend to have a greater awareness of their immediate marketplace, so preparation is key. Businesses need to generate interest by concentrating their efforts on small, focused areas of promotion that are effective; and then repeat them over and over again. This formula is demonstrated inthe TLC Business PIPE Marketing Formula.

Preparation + Inspiration + Perspiration + Evaluation = Realisation

Without the ‘Preparation’ and ‘Inspiration’, SME’s will waste valuable time and money. The amount of time spent understanding your target audience is directly proportionate to the eventual success of your campaign.

An example of a successful guerrilla campaign is the Innocent Smoothie van. Their vehicles are covered in real, growing grass and are often seen around cities delivering smoothies. This type of guerrilla marketing allows a business to build awareness of their brand without necessarily pushing their products. The vans also serve a real purpose (delivering smoothies) and therefore do not alienate the customer or look like an advert.

Another campaign placed bottles of Absolut vodka on the luggage belt at an airport. The company placed their product in a setting in where their target audience are forced to wait, and therefore are more aware of any distractions.

Creating a big visual impact is also important in making a big impression, so there are alot ofPR oppurtunities for SMEs. Swedish furniture company IKEA make over unattractive street corners in Manhattan with their colourful furniture.  The campaign not only creates an awareness of their products by placing them in front of consumers, but it challenges more traditional marketing methods by placing their furniture in an unconventional, and therefore more memorable, setting.

Be warned though, the jarring effect of some guerrilla marketing campaigns has actually caused them to be unsuccessful.  Toyota recently started a campaign called “Your Other You”, which was designed as a website to “prank your friends.” In one case, a woman was signed up by her friend and promptly began to receive a barrage of disturbing text messages, phone calls, e-mails and videos over a five day period. Miss Duick was reported to have believed she was being stalked and felt extremely frightened. She is now suing the company for $10 million. They say there is no such thing as bad publicity; Toyota may beg to differ.

In 2010, the total UK marketing spend was estimated at £16.6 billion. Businesses have clearly been spending. However, it is important as ever that businesses use their budget where it will be most effective. Guerilla Marketing should be appealing to SMEs because of its emphasis on investing time, energy and creativity, rather than money. If you get it right and start people talking (for the right reasons!) your target audience will do your job for you.  Marketing doesn’t have to be expensive, it needs inspiration and imagination. Think differently and you can achieve maximum results!

Let us know about your Guerilla Marketing campaigns. What worked and what didn’t!

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