“Guerilla marketing” may sound like a combative concept, and—to a greater or lesser extent—it is. In the struggle to win the attention of those who want to reach with our message, we will always find hunters who want to achieve that same goal.
From this perspective, everything that surrounds us conforms to the battlefield, both in the material and in the virtual plane. Any path can be valid to achieve victory, and guerrilla marketing, more than helping us find that path, allows us to do so. As? That is what we are going to tell you next, because we want you to be able to take advantage of all the power of this tool, which applies to both traditional and online marketing.
What is Guerrilla Marketing
The term “guerrilla marketing” is a few years old, so it is likely that you have heard something about it but do not know it in detail; Therefore, we are going to review its fundamentals. Its creator was the publicist Jay Conrad Levinson, who made it known in the 80s in a work that became a classic marketing book. That text was also the first in a series dedicated to exploring in depth how small (and not so small) businesses could make big profits from unconventional practices.
In a few words, guerrilla marketing can be defined as the set of actions that manage to generate the maximum impact using the minimum of resources. From another area of knowledge, the philosopher Michel de Certeau stated, in broad strokes, that strategy was reserved for the strongest and tactics for the weakest. By “strategy”, the author understood a succession of planned actions whose common element was the power to advance over a certain physical space, thanks to the use of force (material or symbolic).
Tactics, for their part, did not have that privilege and, consequently, had to make use of the only resource at their disposal: time. Thus, the tactic was the action that was born from the opportunity, from a constant state of alert that allowed finding the best way to enter a foreign space to obtain some kind of benefit.
We can find something of that in what is currently called guerrilla marketing. But, to be successful in the commercial world, a tactic must have —in all cases— its origin in a good strategy. However, today, one of the most important resources to develop a good strategy is creativity, and that is what makes many small companies able to compete on an equal footing with big players in their field.
Characteristics of Guerrilla Marketing
As we have seen, there is a fundamental quality that guerrilla marketing must have in order for its conquests to be lasting and not ephemeral. This essential characteristic is that each action developed has to be aligned with a comprehensive marketing strategy. And, especially within this type of marketing, that strategy must be continually monitored (and adjusted, if necessary). Monitoring the environment, competitors and consumers is a relentless task that should not be neglected, since timing is crucial for success.
Having a strategy means, by definition, being clear about our objective. A successful guerrilla marketing action will always attract the attention of the audience, but that should not be the objective itself, but a means to reach the true goal. For this reason, before planning any action in this regard, we must have a clear definition of what we intend to achieve through it.
Another characteristic that defines guerrilla marketing is the surprise factor: much of its impact is associated with its unexpectedness. However, that quality of surprise has nothing to do with improvisation. Conversely, the more surprising a guerrilla marketing action is, the more likely it is that many hours of planning are behind it.
In addition, it is important that you keep in mind that —like any other action aimed at your target audience— guerrilla tactics always have to provide some kind of value. Sometimes this can be as simple (and complex) as giving your audience a moment of entertainment, but it can also be thought-provoking or provide some kind of tangible benefit, among other options.
On the other hand, the professional execution of this kind of practice requires something that is essential in the world of marketing: the measurement of the results obtained. This is the only way to know if, beyond the impact generated, the efforts made have achieved the expected objectives.
Types of Guerrilla Marketing
In general, guerrilla marketing is classified into four large groups, which we present below. Although there are other classifications, most of them can be framed within one of the following variants.
As its name indicates, this type of marketing takes advantage of the existing elements in a certain environment to communicate its message. It can be done both indoors and outdoors. The important thing is that the chosen place is frequented by the target audience, whether it is —for example— a means of transport or a shopping center. Ambient marketing is static; we could define it as an intervention on the environment.
Usually, we have stable expectations in relation to those spaces that we transit on a regular basis. That is why the actions that respond to this strategy can be very effective, since they break with all those schemes and, consequently, it is very difficult for them to go unnoticed.
What characterizes this category is the fact of getting people to interact in some way with the proposed action. In other words, the goal is to build an experience that is either attractive enough to induce the public to participate, or that turns them into protagonists in an unexpected way.
Here, unlike what we have seen in ambient marketing, the experience is dynamic. That is to say, the participation of a group of people is required to alter —momentarily— the order in an urban space. A classic modality within this category is that of flash mobs: specific actions that imply the sudden appearance of a crowd in a public space. But it can also be carried out in a discreet way, with small groups of actors who carry out covert advertising of a product or service.
We could say that this marketing technique encompasses all of the above because, ultimately, the purpose of a guerrilla marketing tactic is to be disseminated voluntarily by its recipients. Both the media and the public become potential amplifiers of the original message; For this reason, the content must be shared on social networks and facilitate this action as much as possible.
Benefits of Guerrilla Marketing
One of the main advantages of this kind of marketing is that the results —although, as we told you, they require some planning— can be immediate. Among them, one of the most relevant is the power to generate awareness: it is as if your brand made a triumphal entry into the minds of potential customers who do not yet know you. A cunning guerrilla marketing action is the one that opens a hole in the wall that we generate against the stimuli that we have identified; for this reason, it is usually integrated into inbound marketing strategies.
Also, unlike before, guerrilla marketing today has a variety of formats to deliver its message. And, therefore, it is within the reach of any type of business, since digital marketing opens up a range of unlimited possibilities that requires a minimum investment.
Whether you deploy the magic of this marketing in the online or offline world (or do a combination of both), you can position yourself as a brand that is at the forefront of what is important to any business. That is, understand what your customers want, and give it to them. Good campaigns generate an emotional connection with your consumers, and guerrilla marketing can help you create very strong engagement and build—or entrench—a community.
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