The Opportunities of Guerrilla Marketing

And in alternative media they are finding fresh approaches they are looking for. “Yesterday’s innovation has become today’s expectation; so the need for new media vehicles never lets up. ” This is why the company GoCard Advertising in New York City, USA, is specialized in a type of marketing called guerrilla marketing, a form of alternative media. In this essay I will discuss new ways of reaching consumers in a non-traditional way and get to the bottom of the questions: “What are the opportunities of guerrilla marketing? ” and How effective are new ways of guerrilla provisions in reaching consumers? ”

I would like to mention that a lot of the information given in this essay is not based on foreign figures or analysis, but on observation and conversation with people working in the alternative media business. The result of research has shown that there is plenty of literature about guerrilla marketing available, however, it mainly discusses how to carry out guerrilla marketing rather than showing the history, advantages or effects of it.

Please keep that in mind while reading this essay. Guerrilla marketing vs. traditional marketing I would like to explain the term of guerrilla marketing by the following quote: “Guerrilla derives from the Spanish language and means small battle. Guerrilla warfare is a weapon of the weak against a military majority. It is about not revealing oneself as a soldier to prevent a direct confrontation with the enemy but ambushing them later on. ” This points out the strong advantage of being unnoticed as advertising and therefore finding easy access to consumers’ minds.

Guerrilla marketing is all about creating and executing unconventional, imaginative and innovative marketing programs that convey maximum impact and convince consumers to buy a certain product. Promotions are very cost effective and it is the main characteristic of guerrilla marketing to operate on a low budget, but still be remarkable. It is a great opportunity for small companies to get attention from their target audience and standing out before the market leaders.

A recent example is a GoGorilla Media campaign for the new internet search engine “LookSmart”. It is fairly new and did not have the means for big and expensive advertising; hence the company hired GoGorilla Media to promote their product at the 2007 Search Engine Strategies Convention in New York City where internet giants like Google and Yahoo were also present. Approximately twenty models and actors were hired to stage a fake protest in front of the Hilton in New York City, where the convention took place.

Later on the group of demonstrators went into the building and marched through the convention halls handing out Starbucks gift cards, buttons and their own constitution “LookSmart” had come up with. This campaign caused a lot of attention among the convention-goers and the goal of reaching the target group and getting them to consider small businesses too, had been fulfilled. Significant about the guerrilla concept is, that the target audience is often left unaware they have been marketed to. Because of this, guerrilla marketing is sometimes called undercover or stealth marketing.

All in all it is about delivering a sales message when people are not anticipating it, which is in an unexpected environment, such as a restaurant, through an unexpected vehicle like branded napkins. Traditional marketing is known as marketing broadcast to everyone by print media, such as advertisements in newspapers and magazines, TV commercials or radio. But this market saturated over the last past years. “Marketing today is not the same as it was in the 1960s and 1970s. Today there are products to satisfy almost every need. Customer’s needs are more than satisfied.

They are hypersatisfied. According to this statement there is no call for necessaries anymore – the needs of consumers are fulfilled and now advertisers try to find ways to influence people’s minds to create a need for a product that nobody needs but many people then want. Another aspect of traditional marketing is the media overflow. People are exposed to hundreds of advertisements a day and to compensate all the information, consumers block out most of the sales messages they see. The reason for that is that consumers value messages less because those messages no longer solve their current problems.

And while the goals of guerrilla marketing and traditional marketing are the same that is to convince people to buy a product, the means are different. People have gotten good at blocking out mainstream media messages. As a result there is need to invent ways to get into people’s heads. That’s where guerrilla marketing gets into the picture. 3 The pros and cons of guerrilla marketing Guerrilla marketing is controversial. For the advertising industry it is a little revolution and it is more and more replenishing traditional media which had its peak in the last twenty years.

It is a way for companies to step out of the dark of traditional mass marketing and into the light of guerrilla marketing which, if done correctly, has a short but big impact on the target group. For advocates it causes debates about the ethics of guerrilla marketing methods and legality of certain campaigns but supporters of this movement insist on the effectiveness of guerrilla marketing. In the following I will discuss the chances and risks of guerrilla marketing and the effects it has on their audience. 3. 1 Chances of guerrilla marketing

One of the most convincing reasons for choosing guerrilla marketing methods is that it is low budget operated. Companies spend hundreds of thousands of dollars every year for advertising like newspaper advertisements and TV commercials that is hardly noticed by the target audience. Take the example given in the book “Purple Cow” by Seth Godin: “One morning […], I interrupted a few people who were reading the Journal over breakfast. […] I asked them if they could name just two of the companies that had run full-page ads. Not one person could.

Then I took one of the ads, folded down the bottom with the logo, and asked the Journal readers which company ran the ad. No idea. Finally, I asked them the million-dollar question (literally). Had they ever requested more information about a product because they’d seen a full-page ad in the Journal? You can probably guess the answer. ” This is not a prestigious examination, but companies should face the fact, that this small example is possibly very close to the truth – that potential buyers block out most of the advertisements they get swamped with every day.

So instead of splurging money for barely noticed traditional media, companies start taking new ways of reaching consumers. Small companies can spend a minimum amount of money and get the maximum impact. For instance the New York Department of Health which hands out free condoms every year to prevent an increase of AIDS has done a guerrilla marketing campaign with branded NYC Condoms in 2007. The condoms were black with “NYC Condom” written in Subway-style letters on it. They were handed out at several high-traffic Subway stations all over Manhattan and also placed in various bars and restaurants.

The following two days there were articles in the newspaper about the branded condoms and people were actually selling a couple of these condoms on e-bay. This campaign had a lot of free publicity, caught the target audiences’ attention and therefore achieved the goal to awaken awareness of AIDS in New York City. The low budget characteristic holds another aspect. Small companies can afford to do marketing now in a way they could not do before. They don’t have to spend enormous amounts of money anymore to get recognition from their target group. The condom campaign is also a good example for another chance of guerrilla marketing.

Because it is something out of the ordinary, something spectacular, one is not used to seeing all the time, the news about it spread fast. Also very important to consider is that people love giveaways and hardly anyone walks by without taking a freebie like the NYC Condom. With this simple action – taking something – the person is already involved and will think about the product he received. Furthermore guerrilla campaigns are unique. No campaign equals another which makes it special and differentiates itself from traditional marketing methods.

A TV commercial is still a TV commercial and does only change within a certain range like the design for example. But guerrilla campaigns are always new and refreshing. Catching people by surprise is a pro as well. People do not have their defenses up as usually for traditional media like newspaper advertisements. This means, that it is easier for the advertiser to get into people’s heads and make them think about the product promoted in a campaign. Since guerrilla marketing is considered Out-Of-Home marketing, meaning everything which is not broadcast, the chances of reaching potential customers are big.

When showing a TV commercial people can just change the channel and the chances of being recognized are lower than ever, but with guerrilla campaigns there is no “changing channels”. You can either reach a broad target group with, for example, outdoor campaigns where models hand out samples like the NYC Condoms, or one can specify the target group as much as needed for the product and, build up on this, find the perfect venue types where potential customers linger. With the NYC Condom campaign a broad target group was selected and reached through handing out the condoms at high traffic subway stations and bars.

A campaign for a new credit card for Wal-Mart with Visa wanted to target only African Americans; accordingly convenience stores in highly populated African American neighborhoods were chosen to get GoMoney, US Dollar bills with removable stickers of the product, on it. 3. 2 Risks of guerrilla marketing Guerrilla marketing not only has positive aspects. Precisely because it is low budget operated and more companies can afford it, it has the downside of perhaps too many businesses trying to get on the guerrilla train and the consumers might be fed up with it soon.

Guerrilla campaigns are often a one ime occurrence. It is not likely to happen again in the exact same way, thus the creativity has no borders which can be very hard on the marketers. They have to be as creative as they can, demanding a lot from the individual. Moreover it might be difficult to reach specific target groups such as “TV-shoppers” or “couch potatoes” who are likely to stay at home and watch TV rather than go outside. In this case traditional TV commercials will work more effectively. Besides those risks there is one aspect that has to be considered very serious before doing a guerrilla campaign: the legal aspect. .

The legal aspect Before realizing a guerrilla campaign there is the legal aspect to consider. In the United States there are different laws for every state which makes it hard to tell what campaign can be pulled off in which state. A recent example explains how difficult it is to discern between legal and illegal: In Boston, Massachusetts there were “[…] electronic light boards depicting a middle-finger-waving moon man that triggered repeated bomb scares around Boston on Wednesday and prompted the closure of bridges and a stretch of the Charles River.

Meanwhile, police and prosecutors vented their anger at Turner Broadcasting System Inc. , […], which said the battery-operated light boards were aimed at promoting the late-night Adult Swim cartoon “Aqua Teen Hunger Force. “” This incident was on the news all over the US and Europe. However, this example is an exception. Most of the time guerrilla campaigns are not as dramatic. The company IBM had a campaign with street stenciling, which means putting designs on sidewalks with washable spray-paint.

It turned out that the paint was not easy to remove thus “IBM has agreed to pay San Francisco a $100,000 fine and almost $20,000 in related costs to clean up after the company’s “Peace, Love and Linux” ad campaign, in which the company’s ad firm spray-painted logos on sidewalks and streets around the city” . IBM only had to pay a fine because the painting was still seen after months but usually legal measures like this are not given. GoGorilla Media has various products called “On the Edge” meaning that they are close to illegal. Some of these are, for instance GoProjection and GoMoney.

The projection is done at nighttime at high traffic buildings such as arenas or stadiums. The owners of the buildings are not asked for permission, so when police arrives the causers have to be gone quickly. GoMoney are US Dollar bills with stickers of the advertiser on it. Those banknotes are placed in circulation at targeted venues. Putting stickers on US money is usually illegal but GoGorilla Media uses stickers that are removable. There are many ways to get around the law but sometimes “companies have to take a risk in order to be heard or seen by their target audience” .

The legal aspect will always be a matter to consider when doing a guerrilla campaign but as seen, there are ways to get around it. The worst that can happen to the advertisers is that they have to pay high fines. 3. 4 Effects guerrilla marketing has on their audience One unbeatable advantage of guerrilla marketing campaigns is the “Wow-effect” which does not work for traditional marketing. One campaign done by GoGorilla Media was at the Boston Marathon in 2006. Models were placed at each mile with banners that had uplifting slogans for the runners on it, promoting Nike.

At the end of the marathon there was a big marching band also promoting Nike. The marathon was actually sponsored by Adidas but most onlookers thought that Nike sponsored the marathon because of the high presence of the company’s promotion banners . The bystanders liked the marching band and thought it was a “cool thing”. This is what you call the “Wow-effect”. Spectators and participants of the marathon were surprised to find a marching band and cheerful banners along the route and they liked it. They were not aware that it was an advertising campaign and enjoyed the happening.

This example can be projected on many other guerrilla campaigns where the audience is caught by surprise, which creates a comforting effect for them. This leads to the next effect – the telling about it. People are always longing for sensations and guerrilla marketing plays with this characteristic of human beings. Thus they are likely to tell their family and friends about such a campaign when they see it. A further effect which often happens is identifying with the product. A good example to make this circumstance clear is GoCard with its postcard advertising.

Postcards are placed in venues like bars or restaurants most likely close to the restrooms. The cards are designed to catch someone’s eye. People see it, think it is awesome and take it. That is the first action. Nobody forces them to take it; they can decide and pick whatever they like. People choose cards since they like the design, the witty slogan or pictures and take it because they can identify with it. Someone who likes animals would not take a card with a fur advertisement. All the above effects get the audience involved with thinking about the product advertised in a campaign, or on a postcard.

In many cases this involvement leads to buying the advertised product, respectively dealing and thinking about the promotion, like the NYC Condom campaign intended to encourage AIDS awareness. Those statements are merely subjective since there are no facts or appraisals about the effects of guerrilla marketing. This field is not yet explored for its effectiveness in view of the fact that it is a rather new movement in the marketing and advertising business. 4 Word-of-mouth marketing as a side effect of guerrilla marketing The chances and risks as well as the effects of guerrilla marketing are already discussed.

Another aspect which was mentioned before should not be underestimated: Word-of-mouth. It is indeed a form of marketing of its own, but with guerrilla marketing it found an additional way of expressing itself. Word-of-mouth marketing is based on people spreading the news about a certain product. They are usually called early adopters. If they like the product, they recommend it to their family and friends. A perfect example is digital cameras. “Digital cameras are well on their way to replacing film cameras. This shift was not caused by great ad campaigns from the camera companies.

Instead, it is the direct result of early adopters successfully selling cameras to their friends. ” Word-of mouth marketing is hard to get and rare. Lately there has been a new form of it, stealth marketing. Consumers are being paid to try out new products and they are obliged to tell others about it. But why should companies reach for such drastic methods when they can get the same effect with guerrilla marketing? In chapter 3. 1 the NYC Condom campaign was mentioned. The fact that it got free publicity; it was mentioned in various newspapers two days in a row, and was also traded on e-bay, shows that people were talking about it.

Accordingly Word-of-mouth was created. This does not happen with every single guerrilla campaign but with this being said, Word-of-mouth can be a side effect. 5 Differences between Germany and USA GoMedia is an American business which sometimes operates international. The company exists since1994, which shows that there is a market for guerrilla marketing in the United States. But to what extend does it work for German companies too? Following a conversation with the founder of GoMedia, Alan Wolan, who worked in Berlin for a couple of years, the German market is about two years behind the American market concerning advertising issues.