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As parts of the country begin to reopen, and stay-at-home orders are lifted, people are beginning to emerge from their homes with an innate desire for human interaction.  As this takes place, there is no better time for the revival of in-person brand experiences, and guerrilla marketing is the key to making this happen.  You see, guerrilla marketing is completely autonomous, and unlike some types of experiential marketing, it doesn’t rely on large events like festivals or sporting events.

From street teams and vending trucks to taking advantage of the newly popular drive-up experience, there are many guerrilla tactics that brands can capitalize on right now.

What is Guerrilla Marketing?

Guerrilla marketing is an unconventional and innovative marketing tactic that aims to capture the attention of consumers by catching them off guard in unique and creative ways.  Ways that stop them in their tracks while creating awareness and generating a ton of buzz.  And while guerrilla marketing has evolved and taken on many different forms since the term was first coined in the early 1980s by Jay Conrad Levinson, one thing has remained the same:  the element of surprise.

Why Go Guerrilla?

+ Budget-Friendly

Compared to other experiential marketing strategies, guerrilla marketing relies more on creativity rather than a huge budget.  This makes it an ideal strategy for brands and organizations of any size.

+ High-Impact

Any time a company can catch a consumer off guard and create an instant positive impression is a win.  Consumers will remember the moment and share it…and in the long run, become customers and loyalists.

+ Versatile

Guerrilla marketing can be executed just about anywhere and at any time, leaving you the flexibility to execute on your terms.

+ Easy and Quick to Launch and Execute

Guerrilla marketing thrives on simplicity, therefore, the lead time to launch an activation is relatively short.

10 Guerrilla Marketing Ideas that Will Get Your Brand Noticed

1. Street Team Promotions

street team staffing

Nulo Pet Food Street Team

2.  Branded Vehicles

guerrilla marketing

3.  Sampling Activations

Guerrilla Marketing Inquiries

4. Pop-Up Events

pop-up shop

adidas Originals Pop-Up Events

5.  Publicity Stunts 

Guerrilla Marketing Ideas

Expedition Unknown’s #HuntForTheYeti

6.  Street Art

Guerrilla Marketing Ideas Street Art

7.  Art Installations

art installations guerrilla marketing

Hulu’s “Handmaids Tale” Art Installation (Photo: Bryan Bedder/Getty Images for Hulu)

8. Interactive Displays

9.  Wrapped Bus Stops

guerrilla marketing bus stop

Absolut Lemon Drop Bus Stop (Photo: Jordan Rein)

10.  Vending Machines

guerrilla vending machines

Old Navy #FlipFlopHooray Vending Machine (Photo: Forbes)

Guerrilla Marketing:  Rules of Engagement

+ Be creative. 

People are exposed to between 6,000-10,000 advertisements per day, which makes it incredibly difficult to capture their attention.  With that said, your guerrilla efforts must stand out (in a good way), otherwise, your campaign may get lost in the shuffle, and people will tune you out.

+ Know your audience. 

As with any marketing strategy, identify your target audience before you do any planning. Research their preferences, likes and dislikes, hobbies, interests, and so forth.

+ Location is key.  

Perceptions will be different based on locality.  Some regions of the country have taken a harder hit from the virus than others, and consumers in those areas may not be willing to participate just yet.  When planning a campaign, do your research on reopening phases in each state and reach out to local connections that you have to get a sense of how the public is reacting.

As you settle on a location, remember that maximum brand exposure is super-important.  Personally scope out any areas that you are considering to ensure that there is plenty of foot traffic, and that your target audience is present.

+ Keep your brand messaging clear and concise.

Once you have captured the attention of passers-by, your content needs to be brief and to the point to ensure that your messaging resonates and sticks with people.  Brand ambassadors should be used in tandem with your guerrilla activities to not only help attract people to your activation but also to convey your messaging concisely.

+ Be compliant. 

Due to its nature, there are some risks in guerrilla marketing.  If your field teams are asked to leave a location, they should do so promptly and apologetically to avoid any repercussions.

+ Mind your manners.  

During these unprecedented times, some consumers may not be ready to interact with your brand in-person just yet, while others will.  Be sensitive to current events and people’s attitudes, and don’t be too aggressive with your tactics.

+ Have a plan B (and C). 

There is plenty that can go wrong with guerrilla marketing, from bad weather to a lack of traffic to location issues.  Carefully consider any problems that may arise, and have a backup plan (or two) to resolve any issues quickly.

COVID-19 Considerations:

Of course, safety should always be the top priority during this pandemic, and precautionary measures should be taken, especially with frequently used touchpoints such as vending machines or iPads.  When planning your guerilla activation, you will need to create and follow a safety plan to ensure that both consumers and your field teams are safe.  You should also consider hiring additional brand ambassadors to help with sanitization tasks.

It’s Your Time to Shine

Live brand experiences are powerful, they are impactful, and most importantly, they offer real-life connections – and right now, that’s what people miss the most.  It’s time for brands to shine and to get back out there, and these guerrilla marketing ideas will help you to do just that.

Since 2002, ATN has helped hundreds of brands and marketing companies with guerrilla marketing campaigns of all shapes and sizes – from street teams and publicity stunts to sampling and pop-up events.  Contact us to learn how we can bring your brand to life with guerrilla marketing!

Guide to Guerrilla Marketing