Unconventional, unusual, inexpensive and overall pretty damn sexy – that’s the lure of guerrilla marketing. People don’t always realize how marketing follows them throughout their day, or how it subtly affects their decisions. Generally speaking, people reject any sort of marketing that’s too “in your face” and intrusive. So how do you get noticed by your target group without bugging them?

Guerrilla Marketing
A good guerrilla marketing campaign can be a great way to gain visibility with limited resources. But it’s not as simple as it sounds. The informal nature of guerrilla marketing may make it seem like it was something whipped up the night before, but actually – the unexpected nature of it can make it risky business.

A good guerrilla marketing campaign can be a great way to gain visibility with limited resources. But it’s not as simple as it sounds. The informal nature of guerrilla marketing may make it seem like it was something whipped up the night before, but actually – the unexpected nature of it can make it risky business.

A few weeks back, we teamed up with 180 Degrees Consulting and Room in a Box for our own little marketing action. The goal? To stir up universities in the spirit of instigating change and maximizing social impact. Together with 180 Degrees, we’ve put together some learnings on what to do and what not to do when undertaking your own guerrilla marketing campaign.

  1. Don't be afraid to go for quantity over quality
  2. Understand your target group
  3. Hone your message
  4. Create opportunities to learn 
  5. Consider the location and create a welcoming environment
  6. Be genuine and make it fun!
  7. Use it as a chance to learn 

1. With a campaign like this, you are probably going for the masses. Don't be afraid to go for quantity over quality on this one. Be sure to have plenty of colorful flyers, stickers, handouts and something that will make you visible immediately (we used helium balloons with our logo on them). If your goal is to go for broad visibility, you will need all of these.

guerrilla marketing 101

2. That said- be sure you are being smart about this campaign and know your target group. Where does it make sense for you to stage a guerrilla marketing campaign? When will your target group be most susceptible for your outreach? How can you make it particularly interesting to them? We chose university students because they're a target group that will be entering the job market soon and 180 Degrees is a student consultancy program. For us, the TU Berlin was a fun venue, but maybe not the best in terms of target group because the students interests and backgrounds didn't necessarily align with our service. On the other hand, The HWR in Schöneberg was fairly low-key but possibly a much more suited to our product. Give this a think beforehand and divide your resources accordingly.

3. Hone your message. You might be all about social entrepreneurship and wanting to empower people to start their own social business but this might not necessarily be the best approach to students. Think about what's important to your target audience and adapt your message accordingly. Students care about access to internships and entry-level jobs. Bingo!

4. You should also use this opportunity to ask your future users questions. What do they care about, what's important to them, how can you make your product even better suited to their needs? This may not be a complete or even comprehensive customer strategy, but you can still use this direct access to future users in order to try and improve your product.

5. Pay attention to the space. People tend to look down or run away when someone tries to hand them a flyer. Creating a fun, creative setting makes people curious and also means that people stick around. If you can create a space where people want to hang out, you’ll have much better success in making meaningful contact. Is it loud or noisy where you're positioned? Are people in a rush? Are you competing with other exciting sights or groups? If so, rethink the location. Basically, the moment people start thinking about the message – is the moment where the guerrilla marketing starts to work.

guerrilla marketing 101

6. Have fun! I know you've seen those desperate and sad looking promoters on the streets handing out flyers and whatnot. Don't be one of them! You want to have a big smile on your face and be full of energy. Only then will you be able to engage people and get your message heard.

7. Ask yourself what didn't work. Maybe your message wasn't quite right or maybe people were too busy since it was the start of the semester and they had lots to do. Take a second to reflect and learn so you can make it that much better next time.

Essentially you need to keep in mind what you hope to achieve. If you have a digital product or online product, getting people off the street to covert into users might be a challenge. But if you’re in it to just get some visibility and make your brand known – guerrilla marketing might be the way to go. And keep an eye out for angry facility managers, (understandably) they’re not huge fans of fake spray paint and stickers.

Originally published November 25, 2014

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