Guerrilla marketing, true to its name, is one of the sneakiest little strategy toolkits that small businesses can pack into their marketing arsenal. And in terms of return on investment (or put more plainly, bang for buck), you would have to look hard to find a more effective approach.

Still a little in the dark as to what exactly we are going on about? Well, never fear. We’ve put together this quick list of 8 inspiring guerilla marketing examples from across the web to get those light bulb moments flowing. Remember though that as many guerrilla marketing campaigns are visual, you may need to click through to the examples to get the gist.

  • Alzheimer’s Disease Awareness: A campaign by a German organization raising awareness about the impact of Alzheimer’s Disease on the elderly created a city map of Hamburg without labels or distinctive markers to create a disorienting experience for tourists (Source: Wordstream).
  • Swiss Skydive’s Elevator Free Fall: Not for the faint-hearted, this effort by adventure company Swiss Skydive had the floor of a glass elevator replaced with an image that suggested the dizzying drop to the ground below. (Source: Creative Criminals)
  • King Kong 3D: A promotion some years back now for the launch of the King Kong 3D movie created enormous footprints in the sand at a tourist beach and caved in the roof of a couple of nearby prop cars, startling casual beach-goers. Arguably more a case of gorilla than guerrilla marketing though! (Source: In A Gorilla Costume)
  • The Kit Kat bench: Ad agency JWT came up with this exceptionally simple yet totally genius idea: A park bench made up to look like an unwrapped Kit Kat bar. Some variations include the classic red wrapper, some do not. A perfect example of a guerrilla marketing campaign taking advantage of an existing landscape feature to create something totally original (Source: Ads of the World).
  • Frontline Flea Spray Floor: An innovative campaign in Jakarta, Indonesia created giant dog stickers to go on the floors of shopping malls. Viewed from a floor or two higher up, the people walking across the sticker looked like fleas crawling across the body of the dog (Source: Start Up Institute).
  • Safer Cycling in London: A safer cycling strategy named ‘Give a Beep’ distributed 500 Bluetooth-enabled buttons to cyclists that connected to the user’s smartphone. When they encountered unsafe parts of the city, users activated their buttons, which then sent an email direct to the Mayor’s office (Source: Digital Agency Network).
  • Blair Witch Project Hype: The campaign surrounding the release of the movie The Blair Witch Project, a film with a tiny budget shot with handheld cameras which went on to be a huge box office hit, is one of the best known examples of a highly successful guerrilla marketing strategy. The creators wrapped the film in a complete mythology, creating a somewhat believable back story and internet marketing campaign that led to a lot of hype around its release (Source: Entrepreneur.com).
  • 3M Bulletproof Glass Tactic: A famous 2005 promotion by 3M, makers of bulletproof glass, at a bus stop in Vancouver, Canada, placed what appeared to be three million dollars encased in their glass (hardened with a 3M product called Scotchshield) at a local bus stop. The story goes that in actuality most of the money was fake and only included $500 genuine Canadian dollars, but this didn’t stop a number of passersby from taking several good hard cracks at the hardened glass. The campaign ran for only a day, and the bus stop was protected by security guards (presumably for effect, as most of the money was fake). (Source: Guardian LV).

Sounds Great. But Where Do We Start?

Many of the ideas above might seem totally one-of-a-kind but they do have a few things in common… a quirky ‘take’ on brand promotion that captures the imagination, often through a fairly simple idea.

Project management tool developers Workzone have some tips for those small businesses who are wanting to take the guerilla marketing concept and adapt it to their own unique work context.

For a full discussion, click here to visit their blog, but a quick rundown of their suggestions include:

  • Having a deep understanding of your target market and their influences;
  • Choosing a strategy that is well aligned with your brand message;
  • Making sure that you can track return on investment (ROI); and
  • Following up your guerilla campaign with appropriate conversion strategies.
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Parker Davis
Parker Davis is the CEO of Answer 1, a leader in the virtual receptionist and technology enabled answering services industry. He believes that the application of data analytics, investment in technology, and fostering a positive company culture together create highly efficient and scalable growth companies. In 2016, Answer 1 achieved record revenues while also being awarded the Top Companies to Work For in Arizona award. Parker is also the Managing Partner of Annison Capital Partners, LLC, a private investment partnership. Follow him @Answer1 and on Facebook and LinkedIn.

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