How to make guerrilla marketing work for your small business

By February 1, 2018September 6th, 2018Sales & Marketing


Guerrilla marketing is every business owners favorite, albeit unconventional, marketing strategy with which to grab your audience’s attention and make a lasting impression. Originally articulated by Jay Conrad Levinson in his 1984 book Guerrilla Advertising, this marketing technique has been employed by some of the worlds largest brands, generating social and PR buzz near and far.

Remember that 2012 extreme skydiving stunt involving Red Bull and skydiver Felix Baumgartner? This Red Bull Stratos campaign broke the world record for highest skydiving jump. Worldwide, over 8 million people tuned in on YouTube to watch the stunt. Extrapolate the impressions and brand engagement and you’re left with a exciting and effective way of marketing.

“That’s great, but my small business doesn’t have the funds to send a man 128,000 feet above the earth!” Don’t worry! Eventbrite and their community engagement team are here to share a few low-cost, high-impact, guerrilla marketing insights to practice this year. With little energy and some imagination, your next strategy could help captivate your audience and distinguish yourself from the competition, without breaking the bank.

Define your brand

First things first – you need to have a clear understanding of your brand.  At the end of the day, no matter how good your products, services or general features are, product offerings alone are not going to cut it. Dig deeper into what makes your brand special and this goes for nonprofits as well. Ask yourself questions like:

  • What does my business do that my competitors don’t?
  • What industry “rules” does my brand break?
  • Am I the first, the best, the fastest, the newest?
  • Why would someone choose to engage with my brand?

Understanding what makes your brand unique is the first step in determining your guerrilla marketing strategies.

Do your research

Once your brand is set up and you have a clear understanding of your unique attributes, it’s time to identify your target audience. For this particular guerrilla marketing campaign, do you want to target your entire customer base, or just a section of them? Find out where they spend their time, who they interact with, what they like, and what their pain points are. You’ll want your campaign to launch in an area where you’ll achieve maximum return and exposure, so understanding your audience is key!

  • What does your audience like?
  • Where does your audience interact?
  • What sort of programmatic advertising or engagement opportunities are there?
  • Are there re-targeting opportunities that you can plan?

Determine your desired outcome

Before launching your campaign, it’s important to know what impact you’d like to have on your audience. Guerrilla marketing is most successful when it speaks to consumers on a personal level. Do you want to elicit a particular emotional response? Maybe your campaign will use humor to drive engagement. Perhaps you’ll use a particular statistic to shock your audience. Or maybe you’d like your potential customers to feel empowered or inspired.

In addition, you need to consider the final action you’d like your audience to take. Here are some examples:

  • Visit your website
  • Call your business
  • Sign up for your mailing list
  • Follow you on social media
  • Visit your store

Measure campaign success by tracking these types of conversions and experiences, often.

Evaluate legal concerns

Ben Butler at Top Hat reminds marketers in his Guerrilla Marketing Guide that, “If you’re not careful, you can get in some serious trouble, so make sure you’re cautious of local laws and regulations as you plan.” This means getting approval from local officials before you do anything that could be considered permanent or even a temporary change to public space.

A safer route would be to plan smaller scale or to plan something that is removable and does not affect the environment of the location. The last thing you want from your guerrilla marketing campaign is negative press or legal issues, so be sure to loop in the appropriate administration or authorities, prior to campaign launch.

Launch your campaign!

Once you’ve figured out what you want to do, why you want to do it, who you want to experience it and, perhaps most importantly, whether it’s legal or not (!), it’s time to launch your guerrilla marketing campaign. Make sure you’ve got the whole thing neatly planned out including who is responsible for what and when things need to be done by if you want things to go off without a hitch.

Then once it’s launched and out there in the world …

Stay involved through social media

Enhance your guerrilla campaign from start to finish by staying involved with your target audience through social channels.

  • Follow and update all social media accounts
  • Determine the best platforms to engage
  • Listen to your audiences and customers
  • User generated content is the simplest way to strengthen ties with your audience while capitalizing on earned media opportunities
  • Develop a game, scavenger hunt, contest or trivia
  • What sort of answers and solutions can you offer in return and how?

To help with all of this there are a number of tools at your disposal, such as Eventbrite’s nonprofit event planning resources, which can integrate with your social media to make all of this much easier.

Remember that less is more. Begin by offering varied teasers across social platforms with enticing images, hinting at what’s to come. Once your campaign is launched, be sure to stay on top of the engagement, buzz and shares across all social channels.

Finally, utilize the best comments, pictures, and social content as future marketing collateral. Conversations online shouldn’t stop once your campaign is over. This is also a great opportunity for your brand to convert social shares into new followers and brand ambassadors!

Thanks to our friends at Eventbrite for putting together these great tips for creating your very own guerrilla marketing campaign. If you’d like to talk to someone about kick-starting your business, why not drop us a line? We love working with business owners of all stripes and colours to get the most from their efforts and we’d love to help you too.