Guerrilla Marketing: The History, Types, Mistakes

In the modern world, new companies are being created daily. Every minute the next batch of goods is produced. Every second someone tries to convey information about themselves or their products to their target audience, using usual or guerrilla marketing tactics. In such conditions, the average consumer has virtually no opportunity to objectively assess the quality of the goods. The factor directly influencing the choice is not the characteristics of the product, but the effectiveness of advertising and the chosen methods of announcing. On the one hand, marketing today is practically unlimited in means: it is possible to influence consumers through printed materials, television appeals, articles on the corporate site and in many other ways. On the other hand, the usual actions in such an information flow are not effective. That is why it is so important to address non-standard solutions. One of them is guerilla marketing.

What Is Guerrilla Marketing?

Partisan marketing (guerrilla marketing) is a low-budget way of advertising and marketing that allows you to effectively promote your product or service, attract new customers and increase your profits without investing or investing not much. Therefore, it is also called "low-budget marketing" or "low-cost marketing." Companies using guerrilla marketing productively implement its methods as a form of communication. This type of promotion has the following characteristics:

  • creative approach (only the original idea can cause an appropriate resonance);
  • a modest budget (partisan marketing is focused on maximizing profits with minimal financial investments);
  • the psychological impact on the target audience (this provides for a qualitative preliminary analysis of the needs of potential clients, allowing to choose the guerrilla marketing method for their internal motivation);
  • the absence of rigid moral and ethical restrictions (this type of marketing often involves provocative and outrageous activities);
  • one-time implementation (re-holding a similar action for the same target audience will be fruitless).

There are few kinds of guerrilla marketing, and all of them solve the following tasks:

  • promotion without financial costs (examples can serve as ads on the walls of boxes, the imposition of their services by taxi drivers at the station, etc.);
  • productive work with low-budget channels (this approach is realized by promoters, contextual advertising, shop windows, etc.);
  • budgetary increase in marketing efficiency (various stickers on the surfaces accessible to the target audience provide the principle of hidden brand promotion);
  • local impact on the consumer (also provides for the active involvement of customers in a strictly limited area through the announcement of the price list, the direct announcement of services, etc.);
  • direct impact on the target audience.

The History of Guerrilla Marketing

Low-budget marketing as such has existed since time immemorial. Examples of non-public advertising can be found even in ancient Greek and Roman books. American advertiser Jay Conrad Levinson, in the past, the creative director of the advertising agency Leo Barnett introduced the concept of "guerrilla marketing" into a theoretical framework, and published a book under that title in 1984. The book was addressed to the owners of small businesses and devoted to low-cost ways of advertising. The author borrowed the term "guerrilla" from military affairs, where it is used to wage war by small forces that do not have heavy weapons to draw an analogy with a small business whose advertising budget is small so that the firm can not afford expensive ways of promotion. The approach was basically to use cheap advertising media, such as business cards, leaflets, signs, booklets, postcards, etc. instead of expensive ones. The author also gave a lot of techniques that allow raising the effectiveness of such advertising and squeezing out the maximum result from it.

In later books by Levinson and his colleagues, a set of guerrilla marketing tools was expanded, including free-of-charge promotion methods such as writing articles for thematic magazines, speaking at public events, building relationships with clients, and so on. As an important principle, the partnership with other businesses was also highlighted.

Currently, partisan marketing is usually also attributed to a number of advertising methods that are not part of Levinson's official lists, but they are consistent with the key element of guerrilla marketing, which is the availability for firms with a small advertising budget. Among such methods are "viral marketing", ambient media, "shocking marketing" and others. One of the main risks inherent to guerrilla is the possibility of not meeting the necessary fine line, beyond which this method will cause outrage of the public.

Guerrilla Marketing Types

It is difficult enough to distinguish between types and guerrilla marketing tactics. However, in most cases, the following types are distinguished:

  • Outrageous provocative marketing within the guerrilla approach is usually focused on attracting the attention of young people, advertising budget goods, repositioning (assumes the promotion of undressing, underlined sexual overtones, etc.).
  • The viral form of the marketing strategy involves promotion through the dissemination of an idea to an interested customer (as a rule, it is presented on the Internet in the form of various striking videos). This method is not included in the official list of Levinson, but it meets the basic principle of low-budget implementation of the strategy.
  • Hidden marketing is a kind of guerrilla, in which the target audience is not aware of the impact it has. The most common example, which can be interpreted as hidden marketing, is the recommendations of celebrities and other authoritative people, as well as advertising in films.
  • Life Placement is a marketing direction using the partisan principle of appealing to the subconscious impulses of consumers, realized through drawing attention to their products with the help of false happy customers (used by shops of household and computer equipment, sending numerous promoters with branded boxes walk on the streets).

Thus, guerrilla marketing is not only a fashionable but also a promising direction. However, its implementation should be preceded by serious preparatory work, and accompanied by quality support. Correct evaluation of the priorities of the target audience, the original idea, as well as the ability to correctly implement such marketing, will allow attracting customers' attention for a long time with minimal financial costs.