Guerilla Advertising: Low Budget, Big Impact

guerilla advertisingThe term Guerilla Advertising was originally coined by author Jay Conrad Levinson in his 1984 book ‘Guerilla Advertising’.  Guerilla Advertising, also known as Guerilla Marketing, is a new age way of advertising to consumers using low budget, big imagination type advertising campaigns.  Previously, the main goal of advertising had simply been to educate consumers on products and services that were offered by specific brands.  Now, the goal of guerilla advertising is to surprise consumers in the hopes that they can get them to think outside of the box, use their imaginations and be intrigued by a product or a brand.  It can be thought of as an alternative way of marketing, freeing up brands who may not have a big advertising campaign budget.  It gives these brands the freedom to be creative with their marketing campaigns, the freedom to move away from traditional 30 second television commercials or boring print ads that may end up lining their cats litter boxes and compete on a new level with companies that may have a large advertising budget.  Guerilla advertising gives them the freedom to be different since the goal is to stand out from their competitors and wow their audience with the ultimate goal of connecting and making an impression on potential consumers.  The ultimate goal of guerilla advertising is to connect with consumers on a personal and memorable level.  You want people to feel something when they say your campaign.  If you don’t have the money to spend on a big budget advertising campaign, and want to learn some tools that you can use to grow your product, Growth Hacking for startups will teach you the right marketing and technical skills to get you started in the right direction.

Social media and the internet have really challenged advertising to step it up, and take their advertising to the next level.  Guerilla advertising has had such a big impact on how companies can reach consumers, that large companies have also adapted it as a way to enhance advertising campaigns.  Large companies can run simultaneous campaigns, one that is the more traditional and broad reaching advertising campaign, and another on a grassroots level that is aimed at connecting with consumers or ‘followers’ of the companies social media sites.  Social Media Marketing is a great course that will teach you how to create effective strategies to reach scale with your social media marketing.  Some will argue however, that when large companies attempt to use guerilla advertising tactics to gain consumers that it isn’t really guerilla marketing since these big companies have big budgets and an established brand name.  Large companies also run more risks than smaller companies when attempting to use a non-traditional way of advertising themselves.  You see, large companies have an established client base and a name and image that they need to protect.  If a large company were to coordinate a publicity stunt and it were to fail, it could become a big issue for them in terms of public relations if it isn’t handled correctly.  Smaller companies on the other hand, don’t really have much to lose and a failed publicity stunt could just be a blip on consumer radars.

Regardless of whether it’s a small business who is just trying to get their name established, or a large company with household name recognition, companies need to be careful to not oversaturate the market with a constant stream of advertisements.  Not that long ago seeing an ad plastered on a urinal or the paper towel dispenser in a restroom was crazy.  Now a days ads are everywhere, from the apps on your phone to the ground that you may be walking on.  It’s a fine line between woo’ing the customer and making them sick of seeing an advertisement every 2 feet.  That, in no way means that guerilla advertising is on its way out.  It just has to be done in such a way that it continues to captivate your target audiences attention and imagination.  When executed well, guerilla marketing can have a low cost while still reaching a highly targeted audience.  It’s a great way for a brand to get noticed and begin to establish a name for themselves with consumers.

Here are some guidelines that you can use to help you find the correct balance and use guerilla marketing successfully.

Free to Be

guerilla advertisingOne of the principles that Guerilla Advertising was founded upon is that good marketing doesn’t have to cost anything.  The most effective type of marketing could, in fact, not cost anything but the time that was spent creating it.  Come up with creative ideas that may be picked up by news outlets, the news outlets will then help to spread your message whenever the story is broadcast.  Billboards are a great example of this.  You may have seen billboards that either shocked you or made you stop and actually read what they were saying.  If you have, the advertiser has done their job, they’ve gotten you to slow down and ‘hear’ what they are trying to say.  So, remember it doesn’t have to cost a lot, or even cost more than your time.  But, coming up with something that will get people talking could have the potential to not only make you some money, but to get others to promote it for you.  Learn more about marketing, what it is and how to use it by joining others in Marketing Essential Fundamentals.  Social media is another great, free way to advertise your brand.  Share product pictures and status updates with followers, reach out to them and ask them what they would like to see or hear from companies like yours.  You could also create an interest in your brand by giving them little glimpses into promotions that you run for followers.  Set up scavenger hunts that award prizes to those that can answer brand specific questions once they have found hidden clues.

Invest

Would I be a hypocrite if I told you to invest after I just got done telling you that advertising could be free.  No, not if I told you to invest your time, energy and imagination into your advertising campaign instead of your money.  You may remember one of the most famous examples of guerilla advertising, a little movie called “The Blair Witch Project” that opened in 1999.  This psychological thriller was produced by five graduates of the University of Central Florida Film Program with a very limited budget and an extremely shaky camera.  The students used guerilla advertising and created an internet campaign to create rumors about their fictitious legend and get people to believe in the legend of the “Blair Witch”.  They had people who really believed that this work of fiction was true and there were 3 students who disappeared in the woods leaving nothing but the footage that was found a year later to give clues as to what had happened to them.  The “Blair Witch Project” went on to gross $248,639,099 worldwide.  These five students created such a buzz around their film that they were able to successfully establish a fan base before their film even debuted.  You may not have a horror movie to pitch (then again, maybe you do) but there is still a way to grab people’s attention, make them stop in their tracks and want to learn more about what your message it.  Market Your Message is a great course that will teach you how to pitch yourself and pitch your business.

Guerilla advertising isn’t going away.  It will continue to grow and captivate the minds of consumers.  In a time when consumers are bombarded with choices, dare to be different, be unique, standout to consumers and you will reap the rewards of publicity by word of mouth and hopefully gain a loyal following of fans in the process.