In principle, guerrilla marketing sounds cool. The premise is pretty accessible; rather than investing money into a traditional advertising campaign, or investing lots of time and money into an ongoing inbound marketing strategy, you’ll pool your resources to pull a kind of publicity stunt, often public, to increase your brand visibility (and possibly, your reputation along the way).
Guerrilla marketing has become popular in recent years, especially for startups and for major brands looking to change or revitalize their image. Because it’s a somewhat edgy, unconventional strategy, it tends to earn brands bonus points in the “non-traditional” category, and if done correctly, it can be an effective way to generate ample visibility on a low budget.
But is guerrilla marketing worth the trouble it takes to create a campaign?
Clearly, there’s something to guerrilla marketing or the terminology wouldn’t be in our collective lexicon as marketers. So what are the advantages that make this marketing strategy so special?
- Distinction. Guerrilla marketing isn’t a common tactic, so if you engage in it, you’ll be more likely to stand out from the competition. This is useful especially for new brands trying to break into an industry with a unique angle or something that sets them apart from the rest of the crowd.
- Unconventional advertising. People tend not to trust advertising—at least not when they know they’re being advertised to. Traditional advertising is a straightforward, unapologetic, and direct attempt to get someone to buy something—and people don’t like to feel manipulated. Instead, guerrilla marketing offers you a soft way around this problem by selling to people without them knowing you’re selling to them.
- Creative liberty. When it comes to ads, you’re usually limited in terms of visual space and the words you use—in fact, most advertising mediums have standard formats to which you must adhere. Guerrilla marketing offers you far more creative liberties, allowing you to brainstorm and find the perfect opportunities for your brand to showcase itself in unique, true-to-voice ways.
- Potential for virality. Of course, the biggest benefit is the potential for your guerrilla marketing stunt to go viral online. Getting exposure to people in a local environment is nice, but if those people share photos and videos of the experience, your brand could circulate on a national level—and faster than any other marketing or ad campaign could allow under normal circumstances. This isn’t easy to achieve, but it is a possibility and an alluring one at that.