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The Power of Digital Guerrilla Marketing

By Mira Brody - Last Updated on 04/14/2017
Guerrilla marketing in business.
Guerrilla marketing is a type of marketing that uses unconventional, low-cost methods to draw customers’ attention to a product or issue. Since its beginning in the 1980s, this marketing style has translated successfully through digital channels, commonly referred to digital guerrilla marketing. Digital guerrilla marketing is perfect for smaller businesses because it requires very little capital investment, draws traffic to your site and garners long-term results. Here are a few examples of digital guerrilla marketing to help inspire your own marketing efforts.
Morgan Fire scenic overlook.
Crowdsourcing Data
After the Morgan and Rim Fire desecrated Northern California in the summer of 2013, the US Forest Service set up placards around scenic pullouts that overlook burn areas, urging passing tourists to place their phone on an indicated ledge, take a photo, and tag it with #morganfire02 or #rimfire01 on social media.

Why it was successful: This crowdsourcing effort continues to track fire recovery today. These placards are a great example of digital guerrilla marketing because they are a) in an area with heavy tourist traffic, and b) allow customers to feel involved.
Takeaway: Use social media to get your customers involved in a campaign. You can learn more about them by what does and doesn’t work.

Leveraging Company Values
An example of a company using their values to market themselves is REI’s OptOutside campaign, which involved closing their stores on Black Friday and instead encouraging everyone to enjoy the outdoors with friends and family.

Why it was successful: REI saw a 9.3% increase in store sales and a 23% increase in online sales during their 2015 holiday season, all by closing their stores on the most popular shopping day of the year. The campaign pandered to the values of an existing customer base, reenforcing their decision to spend money with them.

Takeaway: Review your company’s values — how can you use them to gain the trust of your loyal customers?

Alter Your Current Branding
As a part of their support for the Bring Back the Bees campaign, General Mills recently removed Buzz, their iconic Honey Nut Cheerios mascot, from cereal boxes and distributed over a billion wildflower seed packets to their customers. This was a tangible way to drive people to their site (in order fill out their contact information) as well as draw extra attention to their brand by changing a major visual part of it.

Why it worked: This made people feel involved in a worthy cause with the incentive of receiving free stuff; due to it’s popularity, they surpassed their 100 million seed packet goal, and by the end of the campaign ended up distributing 1.5 billion instead. It also drew in extra attention much in the same way the RED campaign does, by changing a part of their well-known branding so more people notice it.

Takeaway: Much like General Mills removed a familiar graphic from their cereal box, you can tie your marketing campaign into your branding materials. For example, JTech recently released a 20th Anniversary edition of our logo to celebrate two decades in business. You can also pass marketing materials out to your customers; you’ll be better remembered if a client is walking away with something of yours in their pocket.

Stream a Video
In 2014, the Ice Bucket Challenge went viral, serving as a way for people to raise money and spread awareness for ALS. The “challenge” was to have a bucket of ice water poured over your head, stream it on social media, and nominate others to either do the same within 24 hours, or make a donation to ALS Association.

Why it was successful: One of humanity’s many quirks is our need to broadcast our charitable acts, which was fulfilled by this challenge as people’s social feeds filled with videos of their friends and family dumping water over themselves. This social media chain reaction brought in over $115 million in the first eight weeks of the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge.

Takeaway: Using YouTube, Venmo or Facebook Live, a company video is a low-cost way to campaign in an entertaining medium and evoke a reaction from your audience. Even something so short as a live customer testimonial or how-to video is a way to make yourself available to your clients on a more personal level.

Start Your Own Guerrilla Marketing Campaign
Guerrilla marketing should be creative, leave an impression, provoke thought and deliver your company’s core message. If you need help brainstorming ideas that will work for you, give us a call! Our team is ready to develop a custom, long-term digital marketing plan for your business.
Mira Brody:

About Mira Brody

Mira Brody is an editor, writer, and marketing expert with 12+ years of experience. She has worked as a local news reporter, a writer/editor, and as a leader in large-scale branding strategy. Mira worked at JTech as the staff writer and editor for internal and client projects from March 2015 to December 2019.

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