The When, Why, and How’s of Guerrilla Marketing

What is Guerrilla Marketing?

Guerrilla marketing (or Guerrilla advertising) is a term coined by Jay Conrad Levinson in his book Guerrilla Advertising. Quickly put, guerrilla marketing is using your creativity and time more than your money, to create surprising and unorthodox advertising campaigns that often establishes a direct contact with the customer.

“Huh? I don’t get it.”

Here are some real-world examples of guerrilla marketing in action.

Guerrilla marketing ad by Axe. Source.
Guerrilla marketing ad by Guinness. Source.
Guerrilla marketing ad by Tyskie (Polish beer brand). Source.

Why should you do Guerrilla Marketing?

Sometimes, in competitive niches – especially if you’re the new kid on the block – traditional marketing just won’t cut it.

If your competitors can outbid you on Google Ads, you’re fighting an uphill battle.

If your competitors can place a whole-page ad on the back cover of the magazine where you only get one measly half-pager, you’re fighting an uphill battle.

Continuing with the war analogies, you simply put have to pick your battles.

It is still possible to contact the customers, but not at the same time as your competitors.

Don’t aim to contact them when they’re reading their daily news, or checking their socials.

Do it when they’re unlocking their bike outside the grocery store (if you’re a bike vendor).

Guerilla marketing is simply using your brain and creativity to completely side-step the issue of money. Instead of paying with cold hard cash, you’ll be paying for your marketing with your (or your employees’) time.

To summarize:

Don’t use the same communication channels your competitors use, if you can’t beat them there.

Instead, use alternative, more unorthodox channels to communicate with your customers.

When should you do Guerrilla Marketing?

Guerilla marketing is does not exclude traditional marketing channels. It can be used as an add-on on top of your normal communication, but also instead of them.

If you’re wondering how to actually implement Guerilla marketing into your business, chuck your email in the form below, and I’ll send you some thoughts and tips based on your current situation.

For free.

[ninja_form id=3]

How should you do guerrilla marketing?

Here, the possibilities are endless and the limiting factor is your imagination.

To start off, go check out past examples of how others have approached guerrilla marketing. I pasted some of my favorites above, but a quick google search will give you more ideas, if you’re still stuck in that phase.

Anyway, chances are you’re not the first in your niche to consider alternative marketing channels (but hopefully, the first in your area, which is what matters.).

If you wanted to make a quick formula for how guerrilla marketing works, it would look something like this:

Single idea + Time executing = Success (Increased sales, upsells, customer retention etc)

Note that money isn’t a variable in this formula. The investment is your time.

What you should remember when thinking of an idea, is to make it congruent with your brand strategy, of which I’ve written a post about earlier.

How to get ideas for guerrilla marketing

If you’re anything like me, your best ideas don’t come when you’re sitting at your workdesk with an empty document in front of you.

The best ideas come when you’re passively thinking about it.

Take a walk, go for a jog, a long drive. Something where your primary focus is not “what should i do for my viral ad campaign”.

It’s a good idea to think about it, yes, but you also need to let your brain relax.

Creativity is more of a muscle than an endless library, from which you can borrow stuff without ever running out.

Treating it as such is guaranteed to help you out in the long run.

If you want to really get into the science of creating ideas, I recommend the book How to get ideas by Jack Foster.

Executing on the idea, however, is more important than the actual idea.

You will gain far more from executing on a bad idea, than not doing anything with an absolute gem of an idea.

To conclude

Guerrilla marketing is an effective mindset for when you’re strapped for cash, but still believe in your product and want to market it in other ways.

While you can come a long way with high investments in marketing these days, there’s nothing that beats a great (or even a “just ok”) idea mixed in with endless determination and work-rate.

And that’s the beauty of guerrilla marketing. All you need is an idea and a will to execute on it. Money (or the lack of) is an excuse, not a barrier.

Mats Liljeström
Mats Liljeström

Email Copywriter & Marketer.

Articles: 29