Unleashing Guerrilla Marketing: Low-Cost, High-Impact Strategies

Guerrilla marketing is the brainchild of the 1980s, coined by Jay Conrad Levinson. It is a creative and unconventional way of advertising that strives for maximum impact through surprise and unusual strategies. Think flash mobs, eye-catching street art, or unexpected pop-up events that transform the ordinary into a stage for brand interaction.

In this post, we will show you everything you need to know about guerrilla marketing and some tips on how gamification can take your guerrilla marketing to the next level.

This article unveils:

  • What exactly is guerilla marketing?
  • What are the types of guerrilla marketing?
  • What is the goal of guerrilla marketing?
  • What are the advantages and disadvantages of guerrilla marketing?
  • How to use gamification to promote your guerrilla marketing strategies
  • How to boost your guerrilla marketing with gamification

What Exactly Is Guerrilla Marketing?

Guerrilla marketing refers to an advertising strategy in which companies use creative and unconventional methods to draw attention to themselves and appeal to their target group. This can be achieved, for example, through exciting street art, pop-up events, flash mobs, or social media campaigns.

The advantage of guerrilla marketing is that it is often cost-effective and attracts increased attention due to the unexpectedness of the campaigns. The only limit is your creativity.

Fun Fact: The word guerrilla has its origin in the spanish language and means “little war”. So-called guerrilla warriors were mostly rebellious and aggressive groups of warriors who fought against their own regime. If you combine guerrilla warfare with classic marketing, you get this seemingly aggressive and defiant form of marketing.

With that said, guerrilla marketing does not always have to be aggressive and defiant. The most important (and most effective) focus in guerrilla marketing campaigns is the element of surprise.

Screen Shot 2023 01 25 at 10.34.48 PM
A billboard impaled with stakes slowly reveals its hidden image as soon as the sun sets. (Image source: Adweek)

What Are The Types Of Guerrilla Marketing?

The types of guerrilla marketing are diverse, ranging from outdoor guerrilla marketing that can take over public spaces like train stations to indoor guerrilla marketing tactics designed to surprise consumers in malls or art galleries.

Street marketing campaigns are a quintessential example of guerrilla marketers leveraging the element of surprise to create memorable brand interactions.

Experiential guerrilla marketing, for instance, takes the engagement to a deeper level by immersing the current customer in an interactive brand experience.

Let us look at 4 main types of guerrilla marketing:

Ambient Marketing

This type of marketing focuses on placing advertising messages creatively and visibly in public spaces where the target group is most likely to be reached. The aim is to create an association between the campaign itself and the location, thus generating word of mouth (also called buzz marketing).

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Mr. Clean with a polished crosswalk. (Image Source: graphicstation)

Ambush Marketing

This type of marketing is often referred to as “parasitic marketing” or “free-rider marketing.” It refers to the practice in which a company attempts to profit from a particular event or existing marketing campaign.

Bos guerrilla 1
Successful guerrilla marketing strategy by Rona. When you take on a big player, as in this case, it is also called mosquito marketing. (Image Source: spiegel.de)

Sensation Marketing

This type of marketing aims to achieve a big wow effect. Almost movie-like offline advertising is staged in an elaborate and spectacular way to attract the attention of the target group.

image 4
Great marketing effort by Miele. (Image Source: marketingblog.de)

Viral Marketing

The goal of viral marketing is to increase the spread of the advertising message through social media by getting users to like and share the content and therefore, get the people’s attention. Influencers can play a big role by sharing the message with their followers.

image 5
The Ice Bucket Challenge was a viral sensation. (Photo: AP)

What Is The Goal Of Guerrilla Marketing?

The main goal of creative guerrilla marketing is to increase brand awareness and to ensure sustainable brand building. Since the costs of guerrilla marketing campaigns are usually very low, these marketing campaigns can be implemented by both large corporations as well as small businesses.

What Are The Advantages And Disadvantages Of Guerrilla Marketing?

Advantages

Advertising campaigns are usually very similar to one another. This means that you, as a consumer, know very early on how a campaign will develop. Be it on TV, radio, social media, or digital billboards. With a well-thought-out guerrilla marketing campaign, you can surprise your customers and make them remember you for a long time.

Guerilla marketing always tries to attract consumers in a surprising and untypical way.

Other advantages of guerilla marketing are:

  • Sustainability: Guerrilla marketing campaigns are often more sustainable than traditional advertising because they are unique and stay in people’s minds.
  • Creativity: Guerrilla marketing allows companies to find creative and unconventional ways to spread their message.
  • Interaction: Guerrilla marketing campaigns can push people to actively participate in spreading the message.

Disadvantages

If a campaign is too controversial, it can lead to serious consequences. In the worst-case scenario, entire buying and brand boycotts can happen.

One such example is the Heart Attack Grill in Las Vegas, which offers burgers with names like Bypass Burger or Flatliner Fries. After eating a Triple Bypass Burger, a customer allegedly suffered a heart attack. After the ambulance arrived, it turned out that the whole story was staged. The viral spread backfired for the company.

How To Use Gamification To Promote Your Guerrilla Marketing Strategies

Before we explain how you can combine gamification with guerrilla marketing and what benefits this offers you, we will show you how to use gamification to promote your upcoming guerrilla marketing campaign. 

Guerrilla marketing usually takes place in the real world. Nevertheless, as we explain below, you can combine gamification with successful guerrilla marketing and promote it in advance through well-thought-out and gamified campaigns.

Here are a few examples of how to do this:

Use QR Codes

Distribute QR codes in your newsletters, on (digital) billboards, or on social media. To make the promotion more cryptic, you can post them without further explanation. If scanned, the output could lead to a location where your guerrilla campaign is taking place.

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An example of a public QR code.

Create Engaging Quizzes

Create a quiz that asks various questions about a topic of your choice. Once a certain number of questions have been answered correctly, some coordinates could pop up. These coordinates then lead to the destination where the campaign will happen.

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Our quizzes can be designed according to your wishes.

Use A Monthly Calendar As A Countdown

An advent calendar can build up anticipation for your upcoming guerrilla marketing campaign. Under each door, you could hide a little story or parts of coordinates that point to the location of the upcoming campaign.

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A monthly calendar massively increases engagement.

How To Boost Your Guerrilla Marketing With Gamification

Gamification can boost your guerrilla campaign by integrating playful elements into it. This way, you playfully increase the attention of your target group and increase engagement with your brand.

Gamification in guerrilla marketing, thus, has many advantages.

You Get Noticed

Games and challenges are usually engaging and capture the attention of your target audience in a way that traditional advertising just cannot.

Interaction Increases Massively

By integrating playful elements into your advertising campaign, your audience is motivated to actively participate and interact with the brand.

You Will Be Remembered

Games and challenges are entertaining and easier to remember by your potential customers.

By employing guerrilla marketing tactics that pivot on participation, companies create a memorable bond between the product and the consumer. Major events, in particular, provide a fertile ground for these campaigns, allowing marketers to capitalize on the large crowds with creative indoor guerrilla marketing setups.

Whether it is through an impromptu performance in a busy shopping center or an interactive game, these strategies aim to involve the individual in a personal and impactful way, turning every interaction into a potential story that customers are eager to share.

You Create A Hype

When your target audience participates in an interactive and entertaining ad campaign, they are more likely to share it with friends and family, as well as on social media. This, in turn, increases the virality of the campaign.

Personalization Instead Of Traditional Marketing

By using gamification in your guerilla marketing strategy, the advertising campaign can be personalized to better match the interests and preferences of the target audience. A cool addition: you will get valuable zero-party data.

Increase Engagement

Games and challenges increase the engagement of your target audience by motivating them to participate and interact with the brand.

Low Costs

Of course, guerrilla marketing campaigns can be expensive at times. However, it is usually the easy things, such as cleverly thought-out billboards and well-placed flash mobs, that generate great interest.

Not sure where to start? We have summarized 5 examples of how you can incorporate gamification into your guerrilla marketing strategy.

City Game

A well-known example of gamification in guerrilla marketing is the so-called city game. Here, QR codes are placed at various locations and participants have to scan them with their smartphone to solve puzzles and collect points. The winner(s) receives a prize.

Augmented Reality Experience

Augmented reality technology can be used to create interactive experiences for the target audience. For example, you can embed a virtual game into the real world by creating a billboard with a QR code that launches the game on the smartphone.

Escape Room

An Escape Room is an interactive game where participants have to solve puzzles to escape from a room. This idea can be applied to guerrilla marketing by setting up a pop-up escape room in a mall or other public places.

Contests

Contests can be an effective way to capture the attention of your audience. For example, you can hold a contest on social media platforms where participants have to submit photos or videos to win a prize.

Scavenger Hunt

Organize a scavenger hunt, where participants are asked to complete certain tasks or find locations to get to the next step in the game. This can be a fun way to capture the attention and showcase the brand.

Key Takeaways

Guerrilla marketing techniques and tactics are the cornerstones of creating successful campaigns that captivate prospective customers through a creative approach that stands out from traditional marketing methods.

Examples of guerrilla marketing demonstrate the versatility of this strategy, from grassroots marketing efforts that organically build community support to sophisticated digital marketing campaigns that spread like wildfire across the internet.

Each guerrilla marketing opportunity is crafted with clear marketing objectives in mind—whether it is generating word-of-mouth marketing buzz, capturing the attention of a passerby, or fostering customer follow-up after a campaign.

Successful guerrilla marketing campaigns often hinge on catching the consumer by surprise and offering a distinctive experience that traditional marketers might not attempt.

A well-executed guerrilla marketing campaign turns the city into a canvas for marketing opportunities, engaging prospective customers with an unconventional marketing approach that resonates long after the initial encounter.

Guerrilla marketing as an advertising strategy is a fantastic way to promote your brand at a low cost. Combine it with gamification, and you have an incredibly powerful and creative tool at your disposal. Since guerrilla marketing is usually not heavy on your marketing budget, you can let your creativity run wild.

Together, we can transform your guerrilla marketing into an interactive sensation.

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