Guerrilla Marketing: Winning The Battle for Attention

Whether you are a business owner or a marketing agency, you need to realize that you are smack dab in the middle of a battle. This battle is for your potential customer’s attention. It’s no secret that we are all constantly bombarded with advertisements. Ads are on the signs of every building in your city, each show you watch on TV, and on pretty much every web page you visit. Advertising permeates our lives. Due to this barrage of ads, people are no longer paying attention. What was the last commercial you saw on TV? You probably have no idea – I know I don’t.

Gone are the days where can you expect that by having a catchy slogan, a promise of being better than your competitors, and a decent sized ad budget cut it. Hate to break this to you, but your potential customers are ignoring you. The only saving grace in all this is that they are ignoring your competitors too. So, let’s take a look at what you can do the break out of invisibility and step into the spotlight.

Guerrilla Marketing

photo: Max Bordonaro

First off, what the heck is Guerrilla Marketing? I think a good basic definition is this: Guerrilla marketing is going after the conventional marketing goals but doing it by using unconventional means and a fair bit of imagination. Sounds simple enough, right?

So, how do you get started?

Know Your Target Market

Who buys your product/service? Where do they eat? What are their leisure activities? What are their habits? What does the world look like in their eyes? Learn where to find your customers throughout each aspect of their daily lives. Find out what the clutter is that you need to cut through. Once you can do this, it will be much easier for you to be effective with guerrilla marketing tactics.

Get Outside the Box

Listen, if you want to grab the attention of your prospects, you have to do something worthy of their attention. This doesn’t have to be crazy or expensive. If you have a Brick and Mortar this is easiest by using your physical surroundings to gain attention. Altering the status quo, even if it’s just chalking your sidewalk can be very effective. What can you do to ensure people take notice that your store is there? Be bold, unafraid, and take a chance

Make Customer Service Your Secret Weapon

Most don’t think of this as a Guerrilla tactic, but it’s a crucial one. This is one of the easiest areas for you to take the lead. You, as a small business, have the ability to offer a level of customer service that no major company can possibly compete with. Want to build fast word of mouth? Offer customer service that is so outstanding that your customers can’t help but spread the word like wildfire.

Create Strategic Partnerships

Chances are that people who make ideal customers for your business also fit the same demographics of other businesses that don’t compete with you. Why not align forces for a special offering? Cross promotion in unusual ways can work miracles for your bottom line.

I know this is a very surface level overview of Guerrilla Marketing tactics, I will be getting a lot deeper into specific uses here on a monthly basis.

Do you use Guerrilla Marketing in your business? I would love to hear what you do in the comments section.

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  1. Daniel Hebert says:

    Great post Rich!

    Usually when someone talks about Guerrilla marketing, they mention a bunch of crazy stunt campaigns, or something of that genre. But your post makes a lot of sense! Start with the fundamentals, and understand where to do guerrilla marketing effectively BEFORE you come up with some crazy stunt. :) Looking forward to more posts like this!

    • Rich Cottle says:

      Thanks Daniel, I'm glad you enjoyed it! Yes, I love talking about crazy stunt campaigns, but those are impossible to pull off if you don't understand the fundamentals behind it.

  2. bojandjordjevic says:

    As a blogger guerrilla marketing is pretty much all I've got. It's different than traditional media business, as it's based on Social Media and SEO. Guerrilla tactics are pretty much the only approach to marketing that I am running, but when I am working for a client, I am pushing away PPC actions.

    Loved the post, look forward reading more about it! See you on Triberr

  3. Rich nice job on the article. You have hit the context of guerrilla marketing dead on. I also appreciate the picture. It was posted on my facebook timeline by Kimberly Bordonaro when she took it. Keep up the good work and let me know how can help more. Thanks, Al Lautenslager, author of the book in the picture!!

    • Rich Cottle says:

      Thanks Al! Yes, I saw the pic on Kimberly's FB page and asked her if I can use it for this post. I really appreciate your feedback and will be in touch with you very soon.

  4. Ryan O'Hara says:

    We did something cool that may be worth checking out:

    We basically made ads…but for specific companies we wanted to stand out with. Seems like we all agree on some of the same concepts.

  5. jacobkcurtis says:

    Hey Rich, great post here, and I look forward to diving in right with you as you get a lot deeper into specific uses in future articles.

    One type of Gorilla Marketing I've started to notice are Art Installations. For example See this one for UPS

    This form of attention grabbing while subliminally promoting a brand or product can be very powerful. I agree that most people have tuned out to the endless bombardment of ads they see everyday.

    It really does take a lot of "outside the box" thinking to grab a consumers attention in places they least expect it.

    I expect to see more of these Gorilla Tactics to come. "The only saving grace in all this is that they are ignoring your competitors too" <– LOVE IT!

    • Rich Cottle says:

      Thanks man. Yeah, art installations are cool and I will be covering those among other more effective forms of guerrilla marketing. I have some friends that actually did a guerrilla campaign for the ASU Sundevils that I will be looking at as a case study of how to use art on a budget.

  6. Great post, Rich! I'm in love with the guy that set up the photo shoot. LOL.

    Thinking outside of the box is perhaps the biggest challenge for most. I am always fascinated by guerrilla marketing campaigns. Peter Shankman's book "Can we do that?" has some fantastic PR Stunt examples. And of course, Al Lautenslagers's book "Guerrilla Marketing in 30 Days" is a great primer for anyone to focus their campaign.

    I'm looking forward to reading your future posts on the topic!

    • Rich Cottle says:

      Thanks Kimberly! Yes, he staged a heck of a photograph. :) I really liked Peter Shankmans "Can we do that," and will be tackling each aspect of creating successful guerrilla campaigns including PR Stunts. This should be a lot of fun. Thanks Again Kimberly, I'm a huge fan of your writing.

  7. Good stuff Rich, no longer can you rely on the old spray and pray method of targeting your audience I love “get outside the box”, so true nice job thanks for sharing some great info

  8. Ari says:

    Rich, loved this post. Check out Social Passport ( Their entire concept is based on Guerrilla Marketing. They have developed technology linking QR codes and NFC Tags to social networking sites. By creating incentives, contests, loyalty programs, etc, they have customers scan or tap their devices which then prompts them with the option of trading a deal, entry, loyalty punch, etc for a facebook wall-post, twitter follow, etc. Customers enjoy their incentive and don't mind becoming a guerrilla marketer for this small business. Market to one, market to many. It is great software being used by hundreds of locations in the NYC area

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