How to Do Guerrilla Marketing Like an Agency Pro

Guerrilla marketing is no cake walk. Some of the best guerrilla campaigns in the recent years were extremely sophisticated, synchronized efforts that made use of outdoor, print, digital, interactive, social, mobile, and even on-ground activities.

Some of these campaigns are omnichannel and have a dedicated website, app, and digital resources to assist. However, an omnichannel guerrilla campaign requires time, efforts, and of course, huge budgets. This is why it is very important to get your campaign right the first time, pro or not. While clever guerrilla campaigns need clever people to create them, the one thing that distinguishes a one-trick pony from a DDB or Ogilvy is consistency, which is achieved through using ingenious tools and judicious processes. Let’s see if we can pinpoint the elements or factors that go into creating a clever marketing strategy…

Listen To Your Gut, But…

Some of the best ideas come when you are not around a computer and don’t have a paper and pencil within your reach. But your gut screams “This is it!” and you decide then and there what your campaign is going to look like. However, in this day and age where marketers are using numbers, platform-specific predictive analytics, detailed research, and big data mining tools to understand if a campaign will work or not, it would be unwise to trust your instincts all the time. All in all, listen to your gut, but with a pinch of salt.

 

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Marketers today have a plethora of tools ranging from social listening to sentiment analysis, from data analytics to competitor research. These tools help you predict scenarios and form a big picture – from how your customers would react to the campaign to what the impact on revenue would look like, thus helping you avoid campaign disasters.

And don’t forget that personalization is the icing on the big data cake. A multi-channel campaign optimization tool like Monetate will help you segment your audience on the basis of visitor characteristics and buyer behavior, and deliver personalized content and product recommendations through your website as well as email.

 

Encourage Creative Thinking

Traditionally, creative directors dream up the whole campaign, while planners, copywriters, graphics artists and media buyers carry out instructions to the letter. The new way to do this is to involve everyone from data scientists to account managers in the creative thinking process.

Organizations as diverse as Rovio (of Angry Birds fame) and the European Parliament use a mind-mapping tool called XMind to encourage creative thinking. XMind is an open source tool that helps users to understand their thinking and manage campaigns. You can use it to export your mind map to many formats, including TXT, PDF, and HTML.

 

Tools like XMind encourage team members to think creatively all the time, do SWOT analysis for ideas, define campaign processes, and reach decisions based on consensus.

Take a 360-Degree View

Drew Neisser, CEO of Renegade Marketing, claimed that the success of guerrilla marketing lies in taking a 360-degree view – imagining all the ways your idea can come to life. According to Neisser, it helps to imagine every little detail, such as “the story headline you’d like to see, the tweets you’d like to read, the photos you’d like to be taken and YouTube videos that you’d want to view.”

In order to pull off a guerilla marketing campaign with such precision and control, it is important to get into a highly focused state of mind. “Try not to think of guerrilla as a moment in time or as a simple street stunt. This will limit your horizons and the potential impact,” Neisser went on to say.

This advice is especially important as sometimes even low-budget stunts can cause huge losses. For instance, the Vodafone streaker stunt in New Zealand in 2002 had huge negative consequences for the telco giant. Even though Vodafone didn’t officially sanction the stunt, the company had to donate NZ$ 100,000, issue a public apology, and face consumer wrath for months to come.

Which leads us to an important point – know what’s happening out there.

Keep Your Team Talking

A lot goes behind the scenes in planning a guerrilla campaign. From your art director to copywriter through to sales person, everyone might have some helpful insights that can help in the campaign. However, looking at what most agencies work like, it is difficult to get everyone onboard and giving ideas or opinions at critical moments. This is where standardization of communication becomes important.

Slack is a hot favorite these days at lean startups, with remote workers being always connected using multiple devices. However, for a serious marketing campaign, a “collaboration tool” is not enough; task allocation and scheduling become significantly more important, and the need for project management software presents itself. WorkZone is a not-too-heavy, not-too-basic solution that allows team members to leave notes, annotate documents, highlight and comment on pictures and take the execution of time-intensive marketing campaigns to the next level.

Be Disruptive From Start To End

If you are creating a disruptive campaign, make sure even its PR is just as disruptive. For instance, director of the film ParaNorman, sent a 30-pound crate to a blogger with an online reach of over 340k followers. Inside the box was a shovel and dirt, and once the blogger started digging she uncovered a coffin with a really creepy zombie-doll and a note about the movie. Needless to say, the blogger was all praises about the PR stunt and so were her followers.

Take it Online to Prove ROI

If you want to convince your clients or directors who hold the purse strings, then you may have to prove the ROI of your campaign. The ROI of finding how many people saw a thousand papier mâché pandas, became aware of the issue, and took a concrete action is nigh impossible. However, research has shown that guerrilla marketing recall tends to be near-100 percent as opposed to traditional advertising, which has a recall of 33 percent.

In order to prove the ROI of your campaign, you need to resort to viral marketing. Disruptive content and guerrilla campaigns do exceptionally well on social media, so if you want to prove the success of your campaign, whether it is street art or an event, take it online.

Once your campaign has “gone digital” every conversation, every trend becomes trackable. Social media monitoring and analytics tools such as Brandwatch make it easy to gather customer feedback, analyze sentiment, discover influencers, and even identify potential crises before they unfold.

Final Words

Guerrilla marketing is a gamble in all ways. It could become a viral and seminal hit in the industry or drown within moments in the abyss of bad campaigns. It could grab eyeballs or make people roll their eyes with disgust. It could cost anything from nothing to almost everything, including your reputation. This is why it is very important you take the highest possible care right from conception through execution and PR to protect your brand at all stages.

If you’re a marketer reading this, I hope what we discussed here helps you in some small way to deliver the best campaign the world has seen so far, because honestly, I am the biggest guerrilla marketing fan ever!

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Rohan is the Regional Marketing Manager for India at SEMrush. He is an experienced digital marketer who has worked both agency and in-house, developing data-driven strategies for SEO, PPC, social media and content marketing. Rohan is also an avid business and tech blogger, with insights featured on publications like Fast Company, Business World, Search Engine Journal and Adweek.

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