Going Guerrilla: Some Do's and Don'ts of Guerrilla Marketing
I love spotting great guerrilla marketing campaigns. They're surprising, entertaining and often shockingly bold. That's what makes them work. There's nothing bland about them. Like a 7-foot-tall basketball player at a cocktail party, guerrilla marketing stands out.
Guerrilla marketing, a term first coined by Jay Conrad Levinson in his 1984 book by the same name, is a strategy based on the element of surprise. It's a nontraditional form of marketing that aims to catch consumers off-guard, make an unforgettable impression and generate shockwaves for months. (Well, with today's limited attention span, maybe a few days.)
One example of clever guerrilla marketing is DHL's stunt in which the shipping provider got competitors to advertise for it. If you haven't seen it, we covered it on our marketing blog.
The campaign is brilliantly creative, fresh, and best of all, effective. DHL (even though the company reportedly wasn't behind the stunt) scored some major buzz—all at its rivals' expense.
Guerrilla marketing, in a lot of ways, is just getting your client's message out there—with a wink.
With their grassroots, man-on-the-street approach, guerrilla campaigns very craftily nab consumers' attention. By the time people know what's going on (What? You just hijacked the competition on their own delivery boxes?), they're already enthralled in what's unfolding before them. They don't mind having their precious time and attention moved away from their smartphones for a few minutes to appreciate skillful marketing. Brands can get serious respect from guerrilla marketing, too!
Distributors: While you may not be the "agency" for a top 50, worldwide-recognized brand like the folks behind the DHL stunt, you can still help your clients pull off an epic guerrilla marketing campaign.
Here are a few do's and don'ts to keep in mind:
DO get people's attention.
It was impossible not to notice DHL's guerrilla marketing campaign. "DHL Is Faster" was plastered in huge red letters on oversized boxes getting wheeled through busy metropolitan areas. People don't pay attention to advertising; they pay attention to what they find interesting. As distributors, our job is to make our clients look fascinating. With guerrilla marketing, you must find a way to get the audience not only interested in your stunt, but in your client's brand and message. You don't want people to remember how cool the promo was, but go blank on the company behind it.