Guerrilla Marketing is an advertising strategy that focuses on low-cost unconventional marketing tactics that yield astounding results. It is about taking the consumer by surprise, making a memorable impression and creating copious amounts of social buzz. As such, a far more valuable impression is made with consumers in comparison to more traditional forms of advertising and marketing, connecting with the consumer at a more personal level.

Guerrilla marketing was originally a concept aimed towards small businesses with tiny budgets, but this didn’t stop big businesses from adopting the same ideology.

Coca-Cola, “Happiness Machine”
In January 2010, The Coca-Cola Company created the “Happiness Machine” video. The video featured a Coca-Cola vending machine that dispensed a lot more than just a cold beverage. The film was shot at St. John’s University in Queens, New York, using 5 strategically placed hidden cameras. The reactions from the students were completely unscripted. The video went viral and now has over 7 million views on YouTube. In May 2010, it won a prestigious CLIO Gold Interactive Award. The film had the highest penetration in Brazil, Mexico, Japan, and Russia. The Coca-Cola Company have since produced many more videos under their Happiness Campaign.

Colgate, “Don’t Forget”
Ice cream and cotton candy equals Colgate’s guerrilla marketing tactic. The stick carrying the ice cream and cotton candy carries a hidden message. Once consumers are done eating, a message printed on the tip of the stick shaped like a toothbrush reveals “Don’t Forget” with the Colgate logo. This simple but effective message reminded consumers, especially kids, to take better care of their teeth after eating sweets.

Kit Kat – Android, “Have a seat”
The “Have A Seat” campaign, which ran in Amsterdam and Utrecht, Netherlands, gave people a chance to win a Nexus 7 just by taking a seat on the specially installed KitKat billboards and still being there at a specific time. There was interest at the initial point, a crowd reaction at the end of the on-the-ground campaign, and a notable reaction from an online readership when the video was released globally. This campaign ties in with KitKat’s long standing tag line: Have a break, Have a KitKat.
After reading these amazing Guerrilla Marketing campaigns from around the world, it’s difficult not to be inspired to create one on your own. While Small Businesses generally do not have the spending budgets like the larger brands, here are some tips for you to plan your own guerrilla marketing strategy:
1) Know your target audience inside-out
As with any strategy planning session, one of the first and foremost steps you have to undertake is defining your target audience. Once you’ve defined which group of people you’re targeting – be it by income bracket or age group, you have to understand them inside out. What do they like to do, what do they want, where do they frequent, which type of campaign ideas will resonate with them the best. It is only through figuring them out that you can plan an effective campaign.
2) Location matters
Consider foot traffic, type of traffic and where you can get not just maximum exposure, but exposure to the right people. For instance, if your target audience is young adults aging 21-29, pick areas near Universities or town area where most young adults will hang out.
3) Creativity should align with goals
Even if you capture attention, the real challenge is coming up with creative assets that get your brand or your message across. There’s nothing worse than having an absolute rockin’ idea for your campaign only to implement it and confuse audiences. Always start out with an overall goal and SMART(Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic and Time-bound) objectives and keep your ideas close to achieving them.
4) Consider unpredictable factors
Living in a city-state with notoriously strict laws, there are all sorts of permits from different authorities that Marketers have to attain before they get a green-light on a particular campaign/event. As a result, they veer away from executing over-the-top campaigns – steering away from Guerrilla marketing altogether. Do also keep in mind weather, noise etc. as these unpredictable factors can get in the way of executing an effective campaign.
5) Complement the strategy with your existing online marketing strategy
People should be able to connect the dots between your offline marketing and your brand online. It’s best if they at least have the name of your brand, so they know what to google. A QR code would work too, leading people to a landing page you created for the campaign, or to your main website. If you’re able to feed the curiosity of viewers immediately, there will be a higher likelihood of conversion.
6) Freebies/samples are almost always welcomed
Samples are a surefire way of getting your products into the hands of consumers. This reinforced two things, first and foremost: People love free stuff – it is undeniable! Secondly, after being given something, most people feel obligated to give you something back – such as a few minutes of their time to be educated about your product/service/company.

You can apply a similar approach at a scale suitable for your business, giving away samples at events or fairs where your target audience will be in attendance—or finding a handful of influencers to endorse your product if they like it. Make sure your samples or your setup incorporates enough information for consumers to find you online later and use the opportunity while you’re on the ground selling to educate as many people as you can.

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