Have you ever heard about guerrilla marketing? Well, if this is your first time then brace yourself for this informative article on that subject. I will explain what guerrilla marketing is all about and I will share examples. The thrust behind sharing examples will be to make you understand better and even draw inspiration. Marketing, in general, is paramount, for any business or startup. Business-to-business enterprises are advised to allocate as much as 5 per cent of their revenue towards marketing. Business-to-customer enterprises are advised to allocate even more – as much as 10 per cent of their revenue. Guerrilla marketing is not a common term to hear in Zimbabwe but you must get to know and use it.
What Is Guerrilla Marketing?
Guerrilla marketing is the use of uncommon, unconventional, or unusual marketing approaches, often completely new, to push brand awareness. The use of the term ‘guerrilla’ insinuates elements of shock or surprise. Thus guerrilla entails marketing campaigns or approaches that will stun, baffle, or shock your audience. The other core characteristic of guerrilla marketing is that the approaches used are typically inexpensive. There are different types of guerrilla marketing approaches some of which are event-based, indoors, outdoors, or immersive (experiential). To understand more let me share some examples.
The idea here is to come up with a video that will be rapidly shared across the internet and social media. The whole idea is that as people watch the video, it brings brand awareness. I remember at one point watching 24-minute sci-fi military action short film called Ghost Recon Alpha – you can check it out on YouTube. It has stunning visuals, tech and special effects. To date it has more than 34 million views; suffice to say it went viral for sure. When I watched I was left clamouring for more but little did I know. This short film was actually a guerrilla marketing campaign by the company Ubisoft for a video game launch. This is just one example but there are so many ways of coming up with viral videos.
In one of my recent articles, I mentioned a marketing campaign that was done by Red Bull. It involved attempting to set a new record for the highest fall from outer space. That is one example of publicity stunts as a guerrilla marketing campaign. I can also cite the one that was done for a Range Rover Sport PHEV. There is a mountain in China called Tianmen Mountain – it is over 1500 metres high. There is a stairway from its base leading up to the summit (called Heaven’s Gate) consisting of 999 steps.
The steps are such that most of the stairway is at a 45-degree angle. Bear in mind that the road leading to the base of this mountain consists of 99 sharp turns. 3 years ago Land Rover did a Dragon challenge where a professional driver was to drive the Range Rover Sport PHEV through the road and up to Heaven’s Gate. This was actually a way to test and demonstrate the performance and capacity of the vehicle.
This is an interesting and exciting guerrilla marketing strategy. The idea is to assemble a team or group of people to create a buzz in a public area. Ideally, you want them to be wearing branded stuff and basically just having your brand written all over. For example, they can gather at some strategic spot and start shooting videos or taking pictures of themselves. The thrust will be to draw people’s attention so that they come over and you tell them about your brand. It is more like your roadshow kind of thing but in a less noisy but creative way. Those of you who have watched Step Up movies will be familiar with the idea of what a flash mob is.
This comes in many different forms some of which are street art or ambient art. Street art entails things like graffiti but in this context, it must be done legally. It can be on the faces of buildings or dura walls. You would have to seek permission to do. I can also mention mural art as well – most of you are familiar with mural artwork on Matapi flats in Mbare. That can actually be a smart way of guerrilla marketing. Ambient art also comes in different forms; mural art can actually be categorized as ambient art. When something is ambient it is encompassing on all sides or surrounding (encircling or enveloping). So this is something that can be done on buildings, vehicles, and so on.
In closing let me just highlight some key characteristics of guerrilla marketing. It must be inexpensive – this is a core element. This is of course relative since what might appear expensive to one business might not be to another. There must be creativity and most importantly originality. If it is not something original it does not fit the title of guerrilla marketing. Remember the element of shock or surprise – people must be left in awe or amazement. Your strategies must generate immediate and rapid chatter that drives brand awareness. When you run guerrilla marketing be also ready to handle significant customer inflows. If it pays off you must brace yourself for that otherwise your efforts will come to nought.