Billboard in a bus stop, in urban environment. Concept: what is guerrilla marketing
Maja Mirosavljevic
By: mmirosavljevic
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What is Guerilla Marketing?

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What if you stumbled upon a gigantic, knocked over coffee cup or a melting popsicle the size of your couch on your way home?

Bounty guerrilla marketing, big cup of coffee, marketing, creative, advertising. Source: Concept: guerrilla marketing Bounty guerrilla marketing, big pospicle, marketing, creative, advertising. Source: Concept: guerrilla marketing

Would you be intrigued?


Would you stop and look?

Of course, you would.

Would you tell everybody about this fantastic guerrilla marketing campaign for the paper towel company Bounty?


What is guerrilla marketing?

Guerrilla marketing is a promotional strategy that companies use to advertise their products or services in an unconventional way that has the element of surprise, and that doesn’t cost a fortune.

This sounds great, right? Precisely what your small business needs.

So, let’s get to know better this type of promotion and discover the common characteristics of guerrilla marketing:

  • It’s a budget-friendly campaign which means there’s no need to break the bank.
  • It needs to surprise your audience, your guerrilla marketing campaign needs to be executed when and where they least expect it.
  • Originality is the key, so you’ll need a little bit of creativity.

Of course, not all guerrilla marketing campaigns take the form of huge products stationed in the street, like Bounty’s campaign, but rather marketing efforts that are creative, unusual, cheaper than traditional campaigns and, most importantly, memorable.

This innovative concept will become clearer and clearer as we move along. But first, to get the whole picture and complete understanding of this term, we need to get back to 1984.

Why is it called guerrilla marketing?

Jay Conrad Levinson, a writer, teacher and former senior vice president and creative director at J. Walter Thompson Advertising and Leo Burnett Advertising, introduced the term in his book “Guerrilla Marketing”. The concept itself was inspired by guerrilla warfare, that is basically unconventional warfare that doesn’t use the regular techniques, rather smaller tactics used by armed civilians.

In his book, Levinson proposed that campaigns need to be unique, shocking, clever, and outrageous. The main idea and the purpose of guerrilla marketing were to use unorthodox tactics to advertise on a small budget.

Guerrilla MArketing by Jay Conrad Levinson. source:

Nowadays, in an updated and expanded fourth edition of “Guerrilla Marketing”, you can find lots of practical and inexpensive ideas on how to market your products or services with success. Make sure include this masterpiece in your bookshelf because it’s a marketing bible for small business owners.

Now, after learning the basic concept of guerrilla marketing, it’s time to see how effective this promotional strategy is and how it actually works.

How effective is guerrilla marketing?

The best way to check the effectiveness of this type of promotion is to go through a real-life example.

Hill Engineering is a company that manufactures safety attachment products for the construction sector. They wanted to launch a campaign to showcase its new product and encourage further business inquiries.

The company invested £3,000 in creating 500 USB pens in the form of their product and gave them to prospective customers.

Creative advertising, guerrilla makreting. Source: Concept: what is guerrilla marketing

Likewise, they used social media channels to displayed pictures of their product in popular landmarks.

As a result, Hill Engineering signed a contract worth £100,000 annually. Besides, they projected £300,000 in sales.

Pretty effective, isn’t it?

The reason why guerrilla marketing is so successful is that a majority of people won’t realize it’s a form of marketing, so they won’t have a repellent feeling that standard advertising usually includes. Plus, the image sticks in the viewer’s minds and they won’t forget it. Moreover, they will probably share it with their family and friends.

Examples of Guerrilla marketing

Finally, the time has come to see how guerrilla marketing looks like in practice. Here are some examples that will help you understand this concept.

  • Frontline, a company that produces flea and tick prevention for dogs, purchased an entire floor space in a multi-level mall and placed a large image of a dog scratching its ear. It’s a brilliant idea because for the visitors that see this advertisement from the upper levels the people walking on top of the image look like fleas. It’s so creative passer-bys will definitely remember it.

Guerrilla marketing ad, creative ad, fronline marketing, dog, fleas. Source: Concept: guerrilla marketing

  • Tyskie used guerrilla marketing to promote their beer among young people in an engaging way. They installed big mugs stickers behind door handles of pubs, restaurants, shops, and other places, so when people open the door, it’s as if they’re enjoying this refreshing beverage.

Creative ad, guerrilla marketing, tyskie beer ad. Source: Concept: guerrilla marketing

  • Toyota took advantage of guerrilla marketing to launch their the smallest four-seater in the world. This car model is very convenient for parking in urban centers, so they placed a cutout of the Toyota iQ car at bicycle’s parking spaces around the city center with the message “Park in the center of attention.”

Creative ad, toyota iq car, guerrilla marketing. Source: Concept: guerrilla marketing

  • Take for example posters people hang on telephone poles. We’ve all seen them. But if you get creative enough, you’ll attract even more people to your poster and all those curious eyes are potential customers!

Creative marketing, creative ads, guerrilla marketing, tear-off poster. Source: Concept: what is guerrilla marketing Creative marketing, creative ads, guerrilla marketing, tear-off poster. Source: Concept: what is guerrilla marketing

  • Have you ever seen graffiti promoting a concert, a store or a brand? Well, that’s guerrilla marketing too! (Of course, if you try some graffiti guerrilla marketing, make sure you’re not doing anything illegal!)

Creative advertising, marketing, guerrilla marketing. Source: Concept: what is guerrilla marketing Creative advertising, marketing, guerrilla marketing. Source: Concept: what is guerrilla marketing

  • Giving out free goods is guerrilla marketing too, just like the aftermentioned example of Hill Engineering.

As you can see, these 3 examples range in what they must have cost, but they’re definitely cheaper than a traditional campaign. It’s absolutely achievable, you can do it as well and here is how.

How to do guerrilla marketing

After getting theoretical knowledge about guerrilla marketing, it’s time to put the last piece of the puzzle – to organize guerrilla marketing by yourself. Here is what you need to do:

  1. Know your potential clients. Who uses or needs your service? What are the habits of those people? Identifying your customers will help know what will surprise them and make them interested.
  2. Find the perfect location. Once you determine your audience, you will easily identify the ideal place for your advertisement. For instance, if you have a car repair shop, the gas station could be the right spot.
  3. Be original and creative. Come up with interesting concepts that will grab the viewer’s attention. Maybe other guerrilla marketing campaigns can inspire you to create something new and authentic.
  4. Craft a heartfelt message. Don’t forget to speak to your client’s brains and hearts. If possible, try to involve them in your message by making it interactive. If your marketing efforts are good enough, they might even take a pic and post it to social media.
  5. Measure the results. Track the performance of your campaign and how it reflects on your sales and profits.

Maybe now this seems overwhelming, but with a little bit of creativity and courage, you can launch your first guerrilla marketing campaign.

Take your creativity to new heights

As you can see, guerrilla marketing isn’t just run of the mill marketing tactic. It’s a powerful tool that can help you spread the word about your business faster and reach more potential customers, which results in more sales and increased revenue.

To execute this campaign properly, you will need a little bit of creativity, boldness and, of course, some budget. Even though guerrilla marketing campaigns doesn’t cost an arm and a leg, you’ll still need some resources to finance it.

In case the money issue stands in your way, maybe it would be good to get a business loan at Camino Financial and finance your marketing endeavors. As our motto says No Business Left Behind, and that means helping every single small business achieve their growth dreams.

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