Time to Release the Guerrilla!

Just about every industry has been impacted by the pandemic. Market uncertainty is high, consumer confidence is low, and sales are generally down. Growth is elusive for many, and prospects for 2021 are unclear.

But meanwhile, transformational marketers are rapidly innovating in order to attract, develop, delight and retain customers during the pandemic. Many of those adaptations may not just save businesses, but open new paths for growth and innovation.

Most agencies will tell you that you should only focus on digital marketing right now, as that is where you will get the most ROI for your advertising budget.

However, there is no one-size-fits-all approach to advertising. What’s right for one business might not be right for another.

Above all, there should always be various sources of advertising so that you aren’t creating a weak point in your strategy by bundling all of your marketing in one area. After a long and difficult year like 2020, one important thing to consider is a decision regarding how to reintroduce your brand to an audience that is fatigued, distracted and spending less since March. Depending on what niche your business is in, guerrilla marketing might be the right way to do this.

But What Is Guerrilla Marketing?

Guerrilla marketing is a “shock and awe” strategy. It’s designed to stand out from the crowd and grab people’s attention. It’s usually something you’ll see out in pubic, in the street where people gather.

Wild posting by Grassroots is a type of bold public guerrilla advertising that makes use of different mediums while appearing organic. An example of such guerrilla marketing might be a clever or memorable ad on park benches across a city. You may also create a unique public installation, almost like an art exhibit, as Cingular Wireless did with their Times Square ad. Whatever it is, it should catch attention either through its look, its memorable boldness, or from a catchy turn of phrase. Pop up kiosks or stores is another example of guerrilla advertising that is very effective at engaging pedestrians in the street. The basic idea is that guerrilla ads have a “wow” factor that not only impresses people, but lingers in their mind.

Why Use This Strategy?

Besides the fact that this type of advertising can create a buzz for your brand, it’s also cost effective. When done correctly, a campaign will give you a high amount of visibility and grow your audience. A well-placed ad in a busy intersection can have a dramatic effect for your brand and cost a fraction of what a series of radio ads would.

They are also customizable. If your brand is in a field that’s traditionally conservative and not known for its creativity, you could benefit from a campaign that stands out—or that literally jumps out at your audience! People think of guerrilla advertising being controversial, but that isn’t always the case. All it needs to be is impressive and memorable. There are campaigns that can suit the style of your brand without introducing questionable or controversial political, social, or cultural elements. The Chick-fil-A cows come to mind as a classic example.

Importantly, a guerrilla campaign can also go viral in an organic way, as people share the ad on social media, helping it spread at no cost to you.

The Takeaway

The “shock and awe” approach doesn’t end there. Your guerrilla ads, should you choose to go that route, must be intimately tied to your story and remain aligned with your overall strategy. Say you attract a new demographic using this strategy, are you prepared to continue telling your brand story in away that keeps them engaged and coming back for more, once they show up at your door? The worst thing you can do is charm somebody into your store, only to leave them disappointed and uninterested. The best kind of marketing is, often, organic word of mouth marketing that does the advertising for you once your strategy concludes and you leave them impressed and wanting more, so make sure your guerrilla ad is part of a larger campaign that doesn’t just get people talking—but keeps them talking.

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