Lunch and Learn: How to do guerrilla marketing on a budget

Posted: Tue 23rd Jun 2020

On today's Lunch and Learn, OggaDoon founder Caroline Macdonald joined Enterprise Nation's Holly Jones to dive into the topic of guerrilla marketing.

OggaDoon specialises in digital marketing and PR. Caroline has run a number of guerrilla marketing campaigns in the past and had plenty of advice on how Enterprise Nation's small businesses can get started.

What is guerrilla marketing?

Guerrilla marketing is a strategy that uses clever and creative tactics to draw attention to a brand, product or service. As Caroline explains, it's about being memorable and developing personal interactions with your audience. The novelty value of guerrilla marketing means that campaigns can go viral.

What examples are there of guerrilla marketing campaigns?

Caroline notes that it's usually big business campaigns that are talked about the most, but small businesses can be just as clever with their marketing.

A campaign from Colgate shaped ice lollies' wooden sticks into toothbrushes. Once people had eaten the ice lolly, they were left holding a wooden toothbrush with a message about brushing their teeth. Another campaign from Alzheimer's Society created a Hamburg city map with no street names on it, to demonstrate what it's like to suffer from memory loss.

"These campaigns create a connection. They've got an impact, whether it's to make a stance or it's funny and quirky," Caroline said.

Can small businesses do guerrilla marketing?

Caroline believes small businesses can do guerrilla marketing better than bigger companies. The reason? Big businesses have set processes and costs and tend to be tied to 'how things used to be'.

"Small businesses are naturally creative. When you're up against the wall and need to get revenue in, you think 'how the hell can we stand out from the crowd?'. Once you're in that tight wedge situation, it's interesting what creativity can come through. It isn't about having megabucks," she said.

Can you do guerrilla marketing on a budget?

Guerrilla marketing doesn't have to be expensive. It's about giving people things that are shareable, placing assets in different areas and getting your followers involved in the campaign.

"Guerrilla marketing is all about awareness. Once someone is attracted and drawn to something, then the sales process kicks in. You're investing your creativity, rather than hard cash," Caroline explained.

The key thing to remember is that guerrilla marketing should be part of your wider marketing strategy. Your guerrilla marketing campaign will create awareness and draw people to your brand, but you need to have a follow-up process in place.

"Make sure your other elements are strong so you get the full impact of guerrilla marketing. You need to plan what your remarketing is going to be, whether it's thinking about what people are searching on Google or the social media they're using," Caroline said.

"Everything needs to be tied in together. Otherwise you'll have put a lot of energy into it and it might not be converting how you want it to."

Can you target a particular market with guerrilla marketing?

Guerrilla marketing isn't heavy on your budget, but it's heavy on your time. Caroline points out that there's no point running a campaign if your target market won't see it.

It's essential to understand the demographic you're targeting. Like any campaign, it's all about preparation; don't just create something and assume it will reach the right people.

"Once you've done some research, test the campaign. Use family and friends and your top fans to test and see the reaction. It will help to de-risk it. Remember to look at where your audience is, not where you are. Once you've launched, if it's not quite reaching your audience, tweak it and go out again," she said.

Once people have seen the stunt, how can you get them to purchase?

Guerrilla marketing will either take place in the public domain (for example, street art on a building) or online.

You want your campaign to create interactions and develop relationships, which is hard to do with publicity stunts. It's important to channel people towards your business online.

"You can say, 'if you take a photo of this stunt and send it to us, we'll give you X, Y and Z'. It might be a freebie or a discount or an invite to an exclusive video launch. That way, you start to get that personalisation and data and can bring them into your CRM," Caroline said.

With online campaigns, you have a better chance of getting data - but the experience is going to be less impactful and memorable. As Caroline explains, this means you'll have to work harder to bring in that relationship.

"There needs to be a reason for people to get in touch with you. It's what guerrilla marketing is there to do; you should start to develop your community and build a fanbase that you can use more in your other marketing."

Chris has over a decade of experience writing about small businesses and startups. He runs Inkwell, a content agency that helps companies that sell to small business owners grow their audiences through content marketing. You can find him on Twitter at @CPGoodfellow.

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