Unconventional Marketing on a Budget

As a new brand, thinking outside of the box to develop a marketing plan can be critical to success. Being a startup, you may not have all of the resources (think multiple agency partners or in-house marketing teams) or funds (deep pockets full of marketing and advertising dollars) that your larger, more established competitors possess. That is okay!

Think of your multi-channel marketing strategy as spokes on a wheel. Each spoke represents a different channel for reaching your target market. Your spokes could include social media, a weekly e-newsletter, in-person events, paid advertising, press, and so forth. The spokes for your brand are unique to your goals.

With a smaller marketing budget, you may want to consider creating an experiential marketing spoke as a part of your plan. This could be a lower cost way to reach your target market and have them ‘experience’ your product. Guerrilla tactics are a way to execute this style of marketing. Guerrilla marketing is defined as: innovative, unconventional, and low-cost marketing techniques aimed to obtain maximum exposure for a product.

Guerrilla marketing can range from elaborate flash mobs to simple promotional handouts at high traffic events. You can cater you strategy to your budget, but ultimately strive to: build brand awareness, create an amazing experience around your products. and drive sales!  

Ready to plan your guerrilla campaign? Here are some tips.

Identify High Traffic Locations

  • Find a physical location where your target market will congregate in large numbers.
  • Think: music festivals, commuter hubs, sporting events, high traffic tourist sites, etc.
  • Through hyper-focus on your target market, pick the right locations and plan to visit them at the busiest times.

Think Outside the Box

  • Now that you know where to find your customers, it’s time to get creative!
  • What will make your brand stand out? Is there something related to your brand that could serve as an inexpensive giveaway?
  • Here are a few examples of creative guerrilla tactics:
    • Travel Products: Leave postcards inside Skymall magazines tucked in the airline seat pockets. Or befriend the flight attendants by giving them a small item in your line.
    • Large Clothing Line: Launch a pop up fashion show. What you need is a portable speaker and lightweight rope and stanchions in a high traffic area – as well as some model (or friends) to work the runway.
    • Activewear Collection: Consider outfitting runners at a large race – for example, with a branded t-shirt or sweat band to wear during the race. Launch a hashtag campaign for the chance to win a larger post-race prize.

Execute Strategically

  • Remember that guerrilla marketing can involve circumventing official permission, so if you are asked to leave, do so as soon as possible.
  • Be nice! If you are willing to be charming and friendly, you are more likely to gain access to locations on your list.
  • Have a backup plan! If you are asked to leave one location, where are you going next? If it is rains, is there an indoor alternative?
  • Get your team on board! As a startup you may not have many employees, but guerrilla marketing can be fun! So reach out to your network to put together your marketing dream team.

Measure the Impact

  • Prior to hitting the streets, plan to track and measure results.
  • If you are handing out promotional items – count how many were given out at each location and use that to calculate your total brand impressions.
  • If you are executing a pop up idea – tie in a social media component and measure online activity related to the event. Or even better, offer products for sale on site!

Guerrilla marketing boils down to running with your wildest ideas - in a strategic way. Remember to stay true to your brand as you develop your plan! If you need help brainstorming contacts us today to schedule a complimentary discovery session!