Guerilla Marketing: Low Budget, Big Impact

Let’s talk about advertising and marketing. Advertising is undeniably important for driving your business to success. What can be possibly sweeter to a professional marketer than a successfully done marketing promotion? But the truth is – buyers are so bombarded by all kinds of ads today that some are even getting numb to them. Here comes guerrilla marketing which has proved itself as one of the most efficient ways to advertise. 

Indeed, it is a super-effective approach used by businesses that worked well for many companies no matter what size of the business had been involved. But first, a company needs to find a key to unlock the door to a successful guerilla marketing campaign. The trick here is in inventing the right surprise elements or unconventional interactions in which a company will promote its product or service successfully.

Another reason why guerilla marketing is always a top pick for many marketers is that it’s quick, simple, and obvious. In other words, guerilla marketing is able to provide a less expensive publicity stunt and still get this word of mouth buzz.

Read this blog post if you want to learn more about guerilla marketing and what effective strategies can be implemented for the promotion of business.

What is guerilla marketing?

Guerilla marketing is, in some ways, a sneaky strategy since it works in unconventional ways with zero budget on hand. As the Creative Guerilla Marketing group stated, guerilla marketing consists of the specific and particular approaches used for marketing promotions. Guerilla marketing uses a specialized approach straight to the core of human psychological principles to develop profitable business strategies. This approach is supposed to find innovative and unconventional techniques that would require little money for implementation. From there you can do as many tactics as you wish.

At the same time, these techniques should push the level of exposure for a particular merch or consumer service up. In other words, guerrilla marketing strategies are about promotions with little or no money with unlimited creative ideas that should outbeat the competition. So, the primary goal of guerrilla marketing is to stir a big social buzz by taking people by surprise. Basically, marketers do anything to deliver an unforgettable impression making people gossip about it. Therefore, most promotional campaigns aim to strike potential buyers at a personal level in order to make this event memorable.

Most guerilla marketing events (including any legal promotions) carried out right on the city streets, parks, shopping malls, beaches, any location with maximum people access.

Learn about some of the prevalent types of guerilla marketing in the following outline:

  • Viral marketing – a “word of mouth” campaign where you don’t need many resources. You tell two friends and let them spread this rumor further.
  • Ambient marketing –  as an example, you’re traveling on a bus and suddenly see a hand handle shaped like a soda can. In this case, be sure a target here has reached its maximum.
  • Live in marketing – basically, this is a product placement either in movies or in TV shows. Marketers use this strategy to reach out to target demographics in a non-invasive, but yet much less intrusive manner compared to many conventional ads. For example, a computer manufacturer pays to have their laptops shown in a movie or making the brand’s logo plainly visible on the screen.
  • Stealth marketing – shoppers can be heavily involved with merch having no clue that they have been engaged in an actual advertisement campaign.

Who coined the term “guerilla marketing”?

An American writer whose name was Jay Levinson (he died back in 2013) invented the original term “guerrilla marketing” during the 80s. Levinson was a highly productive advertiser whose extensive skills in psychology helped him tremendously to become one of the fruitful marketers on a global scale. Teaching guerrilla marketing in the California state, Berkeley made a splash after publishing his book called “Guerrilla Advertising”. This book became very popular and is still appreciated up to these days.

So, why does this term have the “guerrilla” part in it? Initially, Levinson got his inspiration from guerrilla warfare. It is irregular warfare with distinct small tactic strategies used by civilians to fight the enemy. These tactics consist of such elements like raids, sabotage, surprise ambushes, etc. Guerrilla marketing obtained similar approaches and tactics which proved themselves effective and contributing to successful marketing campaigns.

Why use guerilla marketing?

Girl in gas mask holding poster with text - Guerilla marketing

Guerrilla marketing strategies are especially popular amongst young entrepreneurs. The main reason is that these approaches don’t require a full bucket of money but do help to earn revenues later on. If done the right way, it will bring more profit after reaching out to a targeted audience making them buy stuff or join services.

At the same time, a business will benefit from considerably lower costs spent on promotion instead of spending a bunch for traditional advertising. Plus, there is another positive side of guerilla marketing – it’s a good way to become noticed by a wider range of social groups in a relatively short period of time. Also, these techniques can distinguish you from the rest by earning you high ratings for being super fun or innovative.

A quick outline of some major reasons why to try guerilla marketing:

Maximize Profits. Get more customers, make more sales, and increase profits all while spending little (or no) money at all!

Save Money. Usually, guerrilla marketing uses three crucial points, which are – Time, 

Energy, and Imagination. So, go ahead and use any unconventional strategies, secrets, and tactics for earning conventional goals.

Unlimited Leads. No matter what is going on in the global economy suppressed by the COVID-19 pandemic, guerrilla marketing will generate a constant flow of quality, targeted leads to business.

Works Fast. It doesn’t take long to see results from Guerrilla Marketing, with some methods bringing new business within just an hour!

More Customers, Sales & Referrals. Get a ton of new customers, then get more repeat business from existing customers, followed by having all of those customers spending even more money per sale. Top it all off with having your customers refer other new customers to your business. And then have all of this happen all over again with very little investment.

What are the key elements of guerilla marketing?

Since guerilla marketing is considered alternative advertising, it requires unconventional ways of approaching promotional events. So, guerilla marketers need to carry out their promotional events with high energy and creative imagination to make them work. This is especially very important when you’re in the process of building your own brand and engaging people and consumers who think alike. Since people love to follow you during the process of the establishment, in this case, you need to spend some time and find some good strategies to engage with followers.

Guerrilla marketing has some great tools that can discover and launch a great marketing campaign. Marketers call this “weapons”.

A few key weapons would be:
  • Marketing plan (Jay Levinson created a 7-sentence plan which was considered brilliant and used by such a large company like Nike and others).
  • Marketing Calendar (super handy for measuring the results of your work).
  • Elevator Pitch (if done properly, this acts as a Paying Customer Filter. Use it to prevent tire kickers from stealing time away from those who are willing and able to pay).

What strategies to use for successful guerilla marketing?

Today even most jaded consumers tend to feel refreshed when they see something new. This is the reason why guerrilla marketing tends to stay effective up to these days. So, guerilla marketers create advertising products with sometimes rather shocking content that strikes attention and drives interest. For example, postcards/posters/matchboxes/lighters can be turned into effective tools for promotion. Since these products are utilized by people every day, they can become good reminders of a particular company and boost product awareness after all.

If you feel that your audience is price sensitive – consider getting downloadable coupons and put them in their hands. Build awareness on social media, food sites (paid banners, short articles, sample recipes), and other online vehicles, which then nudges them to click and download a coupon.

Another good tool for guerrilla marketing is social media resources. Just think about all this money that you need to invest in order to advertise with TV ads or newspaper ads. With guerilla marketing, you would spend just 5% of the money outreaching to the audience through social media by building a community of followers and stuff like that.

Here is the list of some strategic approaches:

  • Think about what type of posts your niche audience like.
  • Give valuable information.
  • Develop a community.
  • Be consistent, engage, educate, entertain.
  • Don’t just do marketing and promotions – be social.
  • Help others by providing expertise.

How to build effective guerilla marketing tactics

Guerilla marketing management business strategy concept diagram illustration
What are the common tactics to start with?
  • PR is the one way to start off. Getting noticed by all those journalists and bloggers who will write about you creating a good buzz around the brand. This can happen only with good connections developed over time and having a robust product, to begin with.
  • Don’t rely on journalists but create your own distinct content in stealthy ways. Find all the platforms you can to write about yourself (like Reddit) and give genuine information instead of directly trying to sell the product.
  • Start a genuinely interesting blog with a plethora of good posts on a series of topics parallel to your brand. You can start giving out infographics, 3, 5, 8 part blog series, invite guest bloggers or start an interview series with famous personalities.
  • Social media marketing is the most obvious answer as no one ever paid to have a Facebook page and Twitter threads. Start by building a fan base on these sites and providing social media links on your website, blog, and any other possible medium.
  • Build a subscriber list of potential users/customers and send them emails. Email campaigns can be fun if done with a certain amount of creativity. You need not go for a hard sell message but go for a subtle message. A newsletter is a great tool for giving out information as well as giving subtle marketing messages.

How much does a guerilla marketing campaign cost?

Guerrilla marketing is basically a low budget marketing, a method to effectively promote your own merch or services without any or almost any monetary spend. Here are just a few examples of such money-saving approaches:

  • Advertise your brand by cooperating with non-competing businesses and promote each other. For example, a barbershop could advertise a nearby pizza place and a pizza place can offer barbershop coupons when doing pizza delivery.
  • Use marketing resources you already have to advertise your own business. A great example would be a kitchen installer doing work in an apartment building. After completing the installation he can easily spend an extra 10 min. to put advertising booklets in residents’ postboxes.
  • Give away stuff for free to make them come back. An example here is the owner of a zoo shop, doing excursions with cooperation with a school. In the end, he was giving away each child a golden fish in a plastic bag. As a result, many of the children’s parents had returned to the shop to purchase extra stuff for the fish.
  • Align your social media with offline activities. For example, work with local schools and churches in multiple ways to get the bang for the buck.
  • Partner with a local charity and organize a fundraiser given that the holiday season is right around the corner.

Guerrilla marketing is basically a low budget marketing


Get as creative as you want with Guerilla Marketing. It could be as easy as participating in events in your area which will highlight your brand or going completely wacky with graffiti paintings on the external walls of your office building showing a clear marketing message. In the end, it will not be WHAT you do, but HOW you do it will determine what exactly works best for you.

Try some of the awesome online courses on the Grinfer’s platform which were set up by most experienced marketers and art makers. Boost your creative side and knowledge in marketing with Grinfer online courses!

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