Consumers have grownimmune to big-budgetadvertising,but marketers that expend a bit oftime and effort — rather than piles of money —can generate effective results withinexpensive, small-scale stunts.- Jay Conrad Levinson2
Free or low-cost marketing ideas that willget countless people talking about yoursmall business?Sounds too good to be true, right? Guerrillamarketing is a form of marketing that is much lessexpensive (sometimes free) than many othertactics, yet it can deliver outstanding results.What’s the key to a successful guerrilla marketingcampaign, you ask? Creativity. The more outsidethe box you go with your idea, the better- and more memorable - yourcampaign will be.3
If you’re interested in trying guerrillamarketing for your business, we’ve compiled10 exciting and unique ideas below to help giveyou inspiration for your own campaign.To make it easy for you, we’ve rated eachguerrilla marketing idea on a scale of 1-10.1 as in “That’s one conservative guerrilla” and10 as in “Has that guerrilla lost its mind?!”3251 44gorillaguerrilla8
Caution advised:As with any marketing tactic - but especiallywith guerrilla marketing - weighing the prosand cons before implementing your plan iscrucial. Just because we rated something as a 1or 2 doesn’t mean it’ll turn out that way for you.All we’re suggesting is for you to be smartabout the guerrilla marketing idea you chooseand don’t hold us accountable for the outcome.Unless it’s positive – and in that case,by all means!CAUTION5
ready to get started?here are 10 guerrilla marketing ideas your small business will love:5 Who’s the Moss?8 There’s a Guerrilla in My Garden13 Experience the Experiential16 Guerrillas for the Cause20 Become One with the Guerrilla24 Sticker it to ‘em!27 Me Love You Long Line29 Gettin’ Flashy31 Have an Edge33 Be Kind – With a Twist35 BONUS: When Guerrilla Marketing Goes Wrong6
What’s cooler than living, breathingmoss that spells out the messageof your choice while crawling up asurface like a building or wall?Not much if you ask us! Eco-graffiti –or moss graffiti – is a form of guerrillamarketing that replaces toxic spray paintwith moss. The way it works is simple: Youmix up a concoction of moss, buttermilk,and a couple other ingredients and thenpaint it on a surface in the form of words,shapes, or whatever you like.Eventually, it’ll grow into anenvironmentally friendly form of guerrillamarketing that can spark conversation ina big way.8
Keep in mind that there’s noovernight satisfaction with eco-graffiti.Since you’re dealing with moss, you may need towater it on a weekly basis until it grows to your liking.The good news is that if you find that your eco-graffitiisn’t going over well with consumers or the city youlive in, the moss can be easily killed by spraying itwith lime juice.The risk:Using moss to spell out a message?We’re not sure any other form of guerrillamarketing could be quite so nerdy, yet still so cool atthe same time. So unless your message is especiallycontroversial or you’re placing it on private,well-regulated property, eco-graffiti probably isn’tgoing to land you in the slammer.9
Get inspired:Get in the kitchen and mix yourselfup a nice batch of moss graffiti withthis recipe and then check out thisgallery of 20 eco-graffiti masterpiecesto get your creative juicesflowing and your mossa-growing.10
2There’s a Guerrilla in My Gardengorillaguerrilla3
Want to draw attention toyour company in a lovely,thought-provoking way?Drop bombs in a public or private space.Seed bombs, that is!Guerrilla gardening involves taking aneglected space and beautifying it with seedbombing (if you want to be quick aboutthings) or by getting down and dirty plantingcrops, flowers, or plants. Seed bombs are oftenmade out of clay, seeds, and compost and canbe baked by the good old sun.12
Maybe you’re a company who wantsto give back to the community byplanting little gardens when no one islooking.Or perhaps you have a healthy food productand want to plant a community vegetablegarden to promote it. Regardless of yourreasons for considering guerrilla gardening,it can be a beautiful, low-cost, and out-of-the-norm way to draw attention to your company.Guerrilla gardening missions are often doneat night so people can be surprised by thepop-up gardens the next morning, but theycan also be conducted during the day so youcan try to get spectators involved.compost13
The risk:Sprinkling little flower seeds about?Planting cucumbers here and there? Harmless,you say? Possibly. Depending on where youchoose to go about your guerrilla gardeningand seed bombing activities, you couldpotentially get into a little more troublethan you might think.If you’re trespassing on private land, it’spossible you could get fined – or eventhrown in jail – so consider the space foryour oh-so-illicit guerrilla gardeningmission carefully.14
Get inspired:Take a look at some of the greatest worksof guerrilla gardening to get inspiration foryour own campaign and then snag recipesfor a variety of seed bombs here.15
Consider experientialmarketing as live marketing.Basically, it’s marketing happening inreal-time that allows people to interact withit… and most likely judge it, too.That’s why if you’re going to go down theexperiential marketing route, you better makesure your idea is fantastic or you could literallywatch your company fall flat on its face --in front of a crowd.17
The goal of experiential marketingis for consumers to interact with yourproduct and then associate theirimmediate emotional responsewith your brand.Some experiential marketing ideas are apop-up fashion show, giving away yourproduct for free with no warning (other thanpossibly a tweet with your location), animpromptu concert, and live windowdisplays where your staff models clothesor your product.one ticketfree event!1 oneticketfreeevent!118
If you’re giving away your product, thisform of guerrilla marketing can definitely geta little pricier than others.But if it works, it might pay off in the formof many new customers. Be as creative aspossible when it comes to experientialmarketing to help make your event a success.The risk:Holding any kind of organized event in apublic space could potentially get you intotrouble, so consider the laws of your city aswell as any potential consequences of whatyou’re doing before executing your event.19
Get inspired:Here’s a great example ofhow Honey Baked Ham usedexperiential marketing to turn theirdreaded holiday lines into an enjoyablelearning experience for their custom-ers (as well as a profitable one for them).They may be a big brand, but that doesn’tmean a small business like yours can’tlearn from their successful campaign tohelp make your own a success.20
Social cause is a form of guerrillamarketing that allows you to give backthrough your marketing efforts.You might choose to support a local charity inyour community or draw attention to a nationalor global social issue depending on the goals ofyour guerrilla marketing campaign.A real-life example of guerrilla marketing usingsocial cause would be planting a vegetablegarden with signs that encourage the homelessand hungry to take what they need. Thisprovides free food to those in the communitywho need it, while drumming up somepositive publicity for your business.22
There are many social causesto draw attention to, but keep in mindthat some are more acceptable to talkabout and take a stance on (poverty,homelessness, unemployment,bullying), while others will be hot-buttonissues that could get you in some trouble(abortion, immigration, gun rights,gay marriage). Planning on supportinga controversial cause? You’re headinginto potentially dangerous, but possiblyattention-grabbing waters.Enter at your own risk!gorillas23
The risk:Depending on the cause you chooseor the way you choose to drawattention to it, you could find yourselfoffending people and alienatingpotential customers.24
Get inspired:A Belgian designer named Pieter-Jan Fraussenused guerrilla marketing to draw attention toworld poverty. 60 pillows were printed with themessage “Still too many people sleep in thestreets” that were left in a main shopping areafor people to find. It created buzz, got peopletalking, and was covered by the media.A campaign like this creates exposure not onlyfor the social cause, but for the company orperson behind it too. This is a great example touse as inspiration for your own thought-provoking social cause campaign.25
gorillaguerrilla5Become Onewith the Guerrilla4gorillas
Why not take advantage of the factthat you and your employees canbe walking advertisements for yoursmall business every single day?You can do this by having company shirtsmade for all of your employees. Theguerrilla marketing spin on this is to makesure you include a unique, eye-catching,shocking (if you dare), witty, or funnymessage (or image) that’s going to grabpeople’s attention and make them wantto find out more.http://cnnmon.ie/XKwLQ9http://cnet.co/jxgmsC27
Having your staff wear your shirts everyday is a great way to ensure they’re seen bya large number of people on a daily basis, butdon’t forget a call to action.Include either the name of your company,a direct URL to your website, or even a QRcode people can scan that links to a landingpage where they can get more informationabout your business. Wear your company’sshirts to large events, company outings,conferences, and your days off too. You canalso make shirts, stickers, and other wearablemarketing material to help with yourguerrilla marketing campaign.gorillas28
The risk:Unless you’re going straight guerrilla on thisone, generally, this tactic shouldn’t be too risky.Of course, if you’ve decided to use profanity inyour message or some kind of alarming,offensive slogan or image, it might be adifferent story. We all know that controversygets you noticed, but is all press really goodpress? Think about that one long and hardbefore having your T-shirts printed.29
Get inspired:Creativity is what is going to get you noticedwhen it comes to this type of guerrilla marketing.And T-shirts aren’t your only option!The New York Health & Racquet Club is agreat example of this. In 2004, they had a group ofguys and girls run through Grand Central Stationwearing underwear that said ‘booty call’ on theback to promote their new butt-building fitnessclass. Commuters stopped what they were doingto watch and take photos, instantly makingthis stunt go viral.30
A sticker campaign can be a greatway to spread viral interest in yourcompany.But it’s what they say or depict and how youget them out to your target audience thatmatters. Once you have decided what to puton your stickers (remember, this is guerrillamarketing so a surprise or a unique element isgoing to work best), you’ll have to think abouthow you’re going to distribute them.Just handing them out is a little boring andsticking them all around your city could getyou into some trouble. So, what’s a guerrillamarketer to do? How about visiting localbookstores and slipping your stickers into allbooks related to your industry?http://us.moo.com/32
(Warning: Don’t stick them inor on books – that could be consideredvandalism and that’s not going to helpyour company whatsoever.)Another idea is to hand out thestickers to all of your staff membersand have each one leave a stickeralong with their tip every time theyeat at a restaurant.Yes, this will take a while to gainmomentum, but when it does, findingone of your stickers could be somethingthat people start to actively desire andtalk about.33
Or consider handing out your stickers toselect groups of people waiting for the busor in line at a big event. This is wherecreativity comes into play, as well as theimportance of being a bit choosy.Giving them out to everyone won’t havethe same effect as being selective in thiscase.The risk:A sticker campaign shouldn’t get you intotoo sticky of a situation (see what we didthere?) – as long as you’re not planningon littering or vandalizing any propertywith them.34
Get inspired:Calgary Farmers’ Market used a stickercampaign to remind residents of theabundance of fresh fruit available in theircity during winter. They hung apples fromtrees with stickers on them that promotedtheir farmers’ market.Cute, creative, and eye-catching; we’re surethis guerrilla marketing campaign got peopleto visit the farmers’ market during theirslowest time of year.Use this example to help get your imaginationgoing so you can create an even better stickercampaign for your company!35
There’s nothing worse thanwaiting in a never-ending line, right?And if you’ve been in one yourself – and who hasn’t,really – then you know firsthand just how boringand frustrating it can be.That’s why targeting long lines fora guerrilla marketing campaign canbe a borderline genius idea.Think of it this way: If you come up with a greatguerrilla marketing plan, you’ll have a completelycaptive audience who will be happy for thedistraction, providing you with an awesomeopportunity to make a lasting impression.37
Keep in mind that we’re not talkingabout lines that people will be waiting infor only a few minutes, either.We’re talking about the type of crazylong lines that form when a new Appleproduct is coming out. We’re talking thetype of lines that people will wait in forhours and hours just to catch the veryfirst midnight showing of a new movierelease.Got it?38
Your first order of business will beto research upcoming events in your areathat will draw these types of lines.And while every line will be filled withpeople, yes, they all won’t be filled with theright type of people. If you’re not taking yourtarget audience into account when choosingwhich long lines to target, your guerrillamarketing campaign may not end up havingthe amount of success you were hoping for.For example, if huge nerds are not yourtarget market, you probably shouldn’t planto focus on people waiting in line at a comicstore to meet Bilbo from the Lord of the Ringsseries. Plus, if you don’t speak Elvish, you’rescrewed anyway.seebilbobagginsI don’t knowelvish... orhow to talk.39
The risk:Generally, this guerrilla marketingtactic shouldn’t be cause for too muchconcern – depending on what you’regiving out and where you’re giving itout at!Get inspired:TestFlight, a free testing servicefor mobile developers, managers,and testers, is a fantastic example ofa successful long-line guerrillamarketing campaign. The companytargeted Apple’s 2011 WorldwideDevelopers’ Conference because theyknew there would be very long lines40
filled with their target market there. The daybefore the conference (when people werepicking up their badges) the companyhanded out logoed T-shirts. As they did this,they told each person if they wore theT-shirt to the conference the next day,they’d bring them breakfast (it’s a notorious-ly long wait for the keynote speech).After they handed out breakfast to all ofthose wearing their shirts on the day of theconference, they also gave breakfast toanyone who had the TestFlight app installedon their phones or agreed to tweet aboutthem. Pretty clever, huh?41
You probably already knowwhat a flash mob is, but we’lltell you anyway just in case.Flash mobs are where a large group ofpeople (usually presented first asbystanders) suddenly break into achoreographed performance.Flash mobs can be anything from aspontaneous dance performance toan original song created just for theoccasion. Choosing a flash mobfor your small business’ guerrillamarketing campaign can be a reallygreat way to get a large amount ofattention quickly.43http://bit.ly/10PSGe2http://bit.ly/ZSqXpK
When a flash mob is done correctly(it should be completely unexpected), it’ll catchpeople off-guard, which will make them stopwhat they’re doing and watch.But flash mobs are also the type of guerrillamarketing campaign that has a really good chanceof going viral. This is because people often recordflash mobs when they see them and immediatelyupload them to YouTube, Facebook, Twitter, and nowpossibly even Vine. This can have an instant dominoeffect as people start sharing, retweeting, and ‘liking’your flash mob video on varioussocial media sites.44
Of course, for your smallbusiness flash mob to gainthe traction you want, it hasto be good.Real good. Which requires awell-rehearsed plan and willingparticipants. Don’t have a big enoughstaff to get a decent-sized flash mobtogether? Well, the good news is thatthere are groups of people who lovebeing a part of flash mobs (for free!)that you can find on places likeMeetup.com. Simply do a search onMeetup for flash mobs in your area, jointhe group, and email the administratorwith details of your flash mob to seeif they’d be willing to help.45
The risk:Everyone loves flash mobs, so there’svery little risk you’ll get into trouble orhave any kind of backlash if you choosethis for your small business guerrillamarketing tactic… unless it’s a nudeflash mob and we don’t recommendthat.Get inspired:Ready to run out and get your veryown flash mob started? You might wantto check out these five examples ofawesome flash mobs that have46
47gotten a lot of attention. All weredone by bigger brands, but you cantake a little inspiration from themto create your own amazing flashmob for your local business. Andon a smaller – yet hilarious – scale,check out the world’s oldest flashmob, created by Lifemark, anorganization that provides housingdesign for seniors.http://bit.ly/UxzePn
Want to get your smallbusiness noticed?Why not try an edgy or eye-catchingstorefront window display! Depending onwhat you decide to do, you may be able toget away without spending much money atall for this guerrilla marketing technique.By doing something out of the norm inyour business’ storefront window, you’ll beable to catch the attention of all the peoplewho pass by your store. This could lead tomore sales and lots of increased exposurefor your business. Remember, the edgier thebetter when it comes to something like this.But cute, a little strange, and uniquealso work well. 49http://bit.ly/Y0kae5http://bit.ly/14Kpvu5
Basically, you want to do something that you can tiein with your brand or whatever it is you’re promoting,but you want to do it in a way that stands out andgets you noticed.For example, Hugo Boss NYC had a greatexample of an attention-grabbing guerrillamarketing campaign that encouraged lots of passerbyinteraction. They had a male mannequin in thedisplay surrounded by the phrase “I see beautifulthings around you.” People were encouraged to takepictures with the mannequin and then upload theirpictures to Hugo Boss’ Facebook wall to “show theworld how beautiful you are.”As a smaller brand, you could do something similarby tying in your guerrilla marketing window displaywith social media.50
The risk:When it comes to the risk ofchoosing this guerrilla marketingtactic, it all depends on how edgy – ornot so edgy – you decide to go.Get inspired:Want an example of an edgy windowdisplay? Of course you do! Theclothing brand XOXO put two modelsin a storefront window that had beendecorated to look like an apartment.The models wore very sexy lingerie,sipped coffee, browsed the internet onlaptops, and put on makeup, all while51
52pretending not to noticethe immense amount of strangerswho had stopped to stare at them.XOXO reported that this littlestorefront stunt (the models werein their “apartment” six hours a day)boosted traffic to their websiteby 35%, most likely increasingsales from the lingerie and shoeshighlighted in the windowas well.
54Who knew being nicecould be considered sucha promising guerrillamarketing tactic!But what’s the secret to making thistactic work for your local business,you ask? Well, first, you need tocome up with some sort of randomact of kindness that will genuinelyhelp others while drumming upsome great publicity for yourself.
55This guerrilla marketing idea works well when you’retrying to draw attention to a milestone within yourcompany. Do you have a business anniversary comingup?Planning a random act of kindness to celebrate Xamount of years of success as a small business showsyou care about giving back (and wouldn’t mind lettingthe world know that you’re proud of the growth yourcompany has achieved).You should always try to tailor your act of kindness toyour brand. For example, if you own a restaurant, dropoff lunch at your local fire departments and policestations unexpectedly. If you have a coffee shop, pickup the tab for random people throughout the day.Run a flower shop? Drop off some bouquets at anassisted living home to bright up the residents’ day.onthehouse!
56Doing something like this ona yearly or quarterly basis (butchoosing a different recipient eachtime) might get you some localnews coverage as people speculatewho’ll be the next lucky group toreceive your random actof kindness.The risk:There really is no risk for this one.Doing something nice for peopleshould only help, not hurt, yourlocal business’ public image.free haircutfor Veterans
57Get inspired:A great example of random acts of kindness as aguerrilla marketing technique was conjured up byWashington-based restaurant Sweetgreen.Throughout each year, the team at Sweetgreen per-forms “random acts of sweetness” for the local resi-dents. Examples include using Facebook and Twitterto alert their followers (with only 15 minutes’ no-tice) that they’ll be giving out free salads at a specificlocation. They’ve also been known to look for peoplewho have been given a parking ticket and leave aSweetgreen gift card alongside it to cheer up the re-cipient.Pretty sweet guerrilla marketing idea, huh?
You Damned, Dirty Ape:When Guerrilla Marketing Goes Wrong58
59So you came up with what you thought wasan amazing guerrilla marketing idea andthings didn’t go quite as planned?Don’t worry, we spoke with local PR genius and guerrillamarketing expert, Jason Rose, about his advice for whatto do when guerrilla marketing goes wrong and how youcan help make sure your campaign is a success. Checkout what he had to say below:Scott’s Marketplace:Jason, you’re founder and president of local PR firmRose+Moser+Allyn. Can you start by telling usa little about it?
60Jason:Started in 1996, we have represented some 450 clientsfocusing on public relations, public affairs (gettinggovernment to do something – or not), elections, crisiscommunications, and lately, events. Indeed, it was a realprivilege in 2012 to help lead marketing efforts for GarthBrooks, Bob and Renee Parsons, and the largestsingle-day polo event in the United States this year –the Scottsdale Polo Championships: Horses &Horsepower. We have a particular reputation forcreativity and aggressiveness. Jason RoseGuerrilla Marketing Expert& President ofRose+Moser+Allyn.
61Scott’s Marketplace:You’ve created a lot of guerrilla marketing campaigns foryour clients. Can you offer any advice on what acompany can do if a campaign goes wrong? Jason:Apologize and move on. The public is forgiving. You justhave to have the courage to say you were wrong.
62Scott’s Marketplace:Should a company try another guerrilla marketing tacticif their first attempt isn’t well received? Jason:Of course! Public relations is a lot like being a startingpitcher in baseball. Success occurs when you win morethan you lose but you won’t even be in the game if youdon’t take the mound. It’s the same in public relations. Notevery execution will be a home run. You just can’t bescared of striking out.
63Scott’s Marketplace:Are there any guidelines a company should followwhen deciding if a guerrilla marketing campaign isright for them?Jason:We never like to pull plans off the shelf, so no. Whatmay work for someone may not be right for someone else. Clients deserve customization. And while some ideasmay be used more than once (unless two companiesare Siamese twins) approach and deployment shouldbe different.
64Scott’s Marketplace:What are some of the guerrilla marketing campaignsyou’ve run in the past? Jason:The Stingray Sushi political campaign signs havereceived a lot of attention. Those started during the 2010elections and were also used in the Phoenix mayor’s racein 2011, and most recently, they were used to highlightPresident Obama and Governor Romney. Not everyoneliked them, but rare is anything one does. And in thiscase, the client used innovation and free speechrights to garner valued attention.
65Scott’s Marketplace:Do you have a favorite guerrilla marketingcampaign you can tell us about? Jason:When Tempe Marketplace opened several years back, wecommemorated by placing naked mannequins all over theValley. That got media attention and a lot of water coolerdiscussion! But my favorite will likely always be whenthe Pink Taco restaurant opened at the ScottsdaleWaterfront. The mayor of Scottsdale didn’t like the nameso it got a lot of local and national attention. And then
66a big idea came along. The owner of the restaurant wasvery wealthy as he was the one who founded the HardRock Cafe. The restaurant offered many millions to namethe then nameless Arizona Cardinals Stadium Pink TacoStadium. The response was extraordinary. Scott’s Marketplace:What can a small business do to help ensuretheir campaign will be a success?
67Jason:Hire us. All kidding aside, budget drivesstrategy. Even a little budget can help pourlighter fluid on an idea. It’s all about conceptand execution -- otherwise you are justtalking without speaking.
69There you have it!Ten guerrilla marketing ideas you can try to help boostyour small business’ exposure, as well as advice from aguerrilla marketing expert on how to handle potentialbacklash.Don’t forget, the key to guerrilla marketing is to find atactic that speaks to you and make it your own. Put yourown spin on it so your brand shines.Or, come up with a guerrilla marketing tactic that’s neverbeen done before. Remember, the more creative you are,the more attention your company is going to get, and themore chances you have of gaining the exposure – andprofit – you want!
70GuerrillaMarketingMade Easy.Join Scott’s Marketplace’slocal business community.Start Selling Online Today.low price. no risk.