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What are the Different Guerrilla Marketing Tactics?

By Sheri Cyprus
Updated May 17, 2024
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Guerrilla marketing tactics are promotions-based, high-concept efforts — typically low budget — designed to draw attention to a product or company. Seldom using the more expensive conduits of television and radio, many guerrilla marketing campaigns are communicated to their target audiences at the street level. Guerrilla marketing tactics are often shocking, humorous and controversial all at once, such as in the hypothetical example of a new beer company called Bottoms Up Brewers advertising their name, graphics and logo on the back of bikini bottoms worn by a group of attractive women.

Appealing to the desires and emotions of the target audience is a key concept of this type of marketing. It's through a thorough analysis of the target consumer demographic that guerrilla marketing strategies tend to be created. Since guerrilla marketing tactics must often be low, or even no, budget, giving targeted consumers information that addresses their needs as traditional advertising tends to do, isn't the goal. Designing and executing an imaginative, memorable publicity stunt to start creating brand recognition and get people talking is the main objective of most guerrilla campaigns. Word-of-mouth and buzz marketing are other names often given to these types of campaign implementation.

Like guerrilla warfare in which out of the ordinary tactics are used to surprise opponents, the form of marketing that shares the same name strives to be surprising in the way it aggressively makes contact with its targeted consumers. Guerrilla marketing tactics often involve dramatic publicity stunts, shocking window displays or costumed street performers. The cost is minimal because students may be paid minimally to participate or owners of a guerrilla agency may do the stunts themselves.

Such guerrilla tactics in marketing first became noticed in the 1970s. The term Guerrilla Marketing was coined by Jay Conrad Levinson in his book of the same name. The book outlines different techniques for generating free publicity and sales. The types of shocking public displays and attention-getting tactics in the book appeal to many start-up businesses that are often without an advertising budget. Although this form of promotional strategy is based on unconventional attention-getting methods that are often controversial, it's original concept is not to spam people or otherwise be illegally invasive.

An example of one of the many possible Internet guerrilla marketing tactics includes having business cards or brightly colored fliers delivered cheaply by students to homes in many different cities, then checking up by phone to make sure it was likely that the deliveries were carried out. The follow-up calls may also further engage the target consumer by awarding this limited number of people a free T-shirt or other inexpensive promotional prize when they log in to the website being promoted. The target audience of a guerrilla marketing tactic should always feel "in" on the promotion though, rather than as if something is being pushed onto them.

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