What Is Guerilla Marketing?

Guerilla marketing is the art of applying unconventional methods to generate more attention around a marketing campaign.

Written by Matthew Urwin
Published on Dec. 16, 2021
What Is Guerilla Marketing?
Image: Shutterstock / Built In
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Brennan Halliday | Aug 11, 2022

Some of the most memorable examples of this discipline take place in physical settings, which allow consumers to engage with brands in clever ways. However, guerilla marketing now covers many types of marketing, including ambient, ambush, and viral marketing. Whether a company counters its competition with a witty billboard or connects with social media users through a humorous post, it can raise the status of its brand by leveraging the element of surprise.

How do you grow guerilla marketing campaigns?

  • Timing is everything when it comes to guerilla marketing since companies must reach out to consumers at an unexpected moment.

Consumers face a barrage of advertisements throughout the day. The intent behind guerilla marketing campaigns is to capture attention when audiences least expect it. This moment can arise during a movie, while in transit, or even in an advertisement meant to promote another company. Often, opportunities best manifest through subtle marketing strategies, facilitating surprise and leading to the potential for consumers to engage in word-of-mouth marketing to share their experience. 

Word-of-mouth marketing can play a crucial role in the growth of a brand. People more willingly accept information shared by those close to them, even while being conditioned to disregard advertisements. Guerilla marketing employs tactics to tap into these social webs, relying on consumers to spread a company’s message. If an ad can spark this kind of collective reaction, guerilla marketing becomes a valuable tool for an organization.


Is guerilla marketing expensive?

By striking the perfect chord with audiences, guerilla marketing can spread brand awareness without a hefty budget.

Companies working with a limited marketing budget need to develop unorthodox strategies for reaching audiences, especially if they’re new to the market. Guerilla marketing checks off both boxes for affordability and creativity, utilizing thought-provoking techniques that encourage people to share experiences with their social networks. This ripple effect has become even more pronounced in the digital age. 

Many businesses have embraced the frontier of viral marketing, utilizing social media influencers and real-time reactions to spread awareness of products and services. People share an interconnectivity through online platforms, allowing companies to achieve value from audiences sharing enjoyable content at a faster pace than ever, rather than sinking costs into advertisements across multiple channels.


Is guerilla marketing still relevant?

While eye-catching street advertisements are no longer a dominant form, guerilla marketing continues to adapt to the current culture. 

The term ‘guerilla’ suggests a force that is decentralized and flexible, and these traits apply to the discipline of guerilla marketing. Although many businesses have turned away from street advertisements, digital environments have yielded fruitful and more cost-effective results during present circumstances. Social media and online platforms have created a culture where chatter spreads like lightning and trends come and go in the blink of an eye. 

With the increased urgency of the digital age, businesses have caught people off guard while producing increased excitement through the practice of product drops. In order to build anticipation and demand, companies will “drop a product” unexpectedly and for a limited amount of time. Guerilla marketing may not look the same as it did a decade ago, but businesses continue to develop methods for keeping audiences on their toes.

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