What is Guerrilla Marketing?

The concept of  “guerrilla marketing”, referring to promotional activities with very low budget performed in unconventional ways was discussed in 1982 in Jay Conrad Levinson’s book “Guerrilla Marketing”. In particular cases we may also call it stealth marketing, a form of undercover marketing which leaves the target audience unaware that they have been marketed.

Creativity in devising unconventional methods of promotion is a requirement for the guerrilla marketer, who may find sources of very inexpensive or even free forms of publicity. For this a thorough examination of his company and its products, combined with the use of his/her professional and personal contacts may prove very effective.

An important aspect in guerrilla marketing and guerrilla marketing tactics is the size of the company. Therefore, a small size business is desirable since it keeps a closer connection to its customers, it is more agile and for that may obtain publicity more easily than large companies.
Levinson’s conclusion regarding the Guerrilla Marketer is that his role is to “deliver the goods”, as he states in The Guerrilla Marketing Handbook: “In order to sell a product or a service, a company must establish a relationship with the customer. It must build trust and rapport. It must understand the customer”s needs, and it must provide a product that delivers the promised benefits.”

As basic principles for guerrilla marketing, Levinson considers to be:

  • Guerrilla Marketing is mainly used for small business.
  • Human psychology is at its basis, not the experience, the judgment or the guesswork.
  • What this type of marketing should use primarily is time, energy, and imagination, not money.
  • For measuring  business should be taken into consideration the amount of profits, not the sales.
  • The number of new relationships made each month are also to be taken into consideration.
  • Rather than diversity obtained by allied products and services, focus on a higher standard of excellence is more important.
  • An increase of the number of referrals and transactions, also larger transactions are more desirable than getting more customers.
  • Cooperation with other businesses should precede competition.
  • For any campaign is required a combination of marketing techniques.
  • Current technology must be used as a tool to empower any marketing.

The role of Guerrilla Marketing has extended today, becoming not only an attribute of small businesses, but the number of larger companies using it is constantly increasing. Such guerrilla marketing campaigns are known to have been done by companies like General Electric, Yahoo!, Citigroup, Sony Ericsson or Nike.

Among the strategies adopted in guerrilla marketing  can also be noted a type called „warfare strategies”, using military metaphor to craft a businesses strategy. In guerrilla marketing such warfare strategies use a series of minor attacks in order to wear-down the enemy. Repeating a sequence of attacking, retreating, and hiding, a guerrilla force (divided into small groups) focuses on the weak points of the target. The efficiency of their actions also depends on their ability to hide between strikes, blending into the remote countryside or into the general population. To describe this technique it is often said that “Guerrilla forces never win wars, but their adversaries often lose them”.

As main strengths of guerrilla strategies there may be noted:

  • Preservation of resources by never attacking the enemy’s main force.
  • Adaptability to any situation, offensive or defensive, due to their flexibility
  • Their difficulty in countering with conventional methods.

In the business are, guerrilla marketing involves:

  1. targeted legal attacks on the competition
  2. product comparison advertising
  3. executive raiding
  4. short-term alliances
  5. selective price cuts
  6. deliberate sabotage of the competitions test markets, marketing research, advertising campaigns, or sales promotions
  7. orchestrating negative publicity for a competitor

One of the most important features of a guerrilla marketer is his flexibility in making rapid tactics changes, abandoning a market segment, product, product line, brand, business model, or objective, or even making strategic withdrawals.

The strategy being used is considered to be suitable when the resources of the attacker are quite weak, but those of the target competitor are relatively strong, making him able to withstand a head-on attack. Although it is incorrectly used to describe a niche strategy, the term “guerrilla marketing” may sometimes refer also to the use of unorthodox marketing tactics.