Guerrilla Marketing - A Lethal Tool for SMEs and Startups

Published by MBA Skool Team, Published on March 05, 2013

Marketing is turning out to be a hard nut to crack with an inflow of numerous players for each and every product available on the earth. Even the main players with millions and millions of budgets solely on advertising and promotions find it real hard to grab the eye-balls of their consumers. In this current scenario try to imagine the plight of the startups and SMEs who needs to compete with the big guns in the industry with only meager funds on advertising. So they have to find some alternatives to overcome their shortage in budget and at the same time need to register their brands in the minds of their consumers.

We have a quick fix for this problem in the name of Guerrilla marketing, which refers to unconventional, offbeat and even crazy system of promotions to reach their target audience and shortly it is a low-cost, high-impact strategy. One of that worth mentioning in guerrilla strategy is the "talking" print ad in which a small talking machine which briefed about Volkswagen Vento was attached along with the daily. The ad created quite a lot of stir and indeed caught the attention of readers as well as the ad agencies and the marketing industry alike. This strategy depends more on the innovative quotient and the creativity that might add value to your ad campaign so that your product stands out from the rest of the competition.

Guerrilla marketing tries to decipher the psychology of humans and find ways to influence smaller groups of customers before moving on to the bigger stage. It also concentrates more on co-existence with other players in the market rather than trying to eliminate them completely from the picture, which makes it best suitable for small businesses and SMEs. It stresses more on excellence of the product that is being offered and tries to push the existing buyers from mere customers into more loyal customers who is going to drive the business for the future. It doesn’t make sense to come up with a very innovative strategy using pamphlets which can reach very few customers in an era dominated by internet and much more sophisticated mediums. So, technology forms one of the most important pillars of guerrilla marketing and marketers should double check on the technologies and trends before proceeding with the campaign. The success of this whole strategy depends on how well you are able to provide a mix of available marketing methods for a single campaign. The following snapshot is one of the best examples for guerrilla marketing strategy.

The success of the guerrilla strategy crucially depends on the rapid spread of the information as the whole campaign becomes meaningless if the intended communication doesn’t happen. This is where the internet comes into picture and it proves time and time again that it plays the protagonist role in the current era in spite of presence of other powerful mediums.  The reason is pretty simple; it stands synonymous to guerrilla strategy’s backbone which is low-cost and high-efficiency. It also acts as the magic wand for SMEs and startups as more and more people have started using internet to great effects. Also, Internet allows people to communicate information to millions of people in a split second and that too across the globe, which was impossible in the previous era dominated by traditional communication mediums. Below is the showcase of Nikon guerrilla marketing campaign

Clearly word-of-mouth advertising plays a very important role in guerrilla marketing by spreading the information to others and various available tools are discussed below. Going viral is all about spreading and sharing information to your friends, peers, relatives etc., so that they reach a wide number of target segments in a relatively smaller time. Businesses don’t need to spend any extra pennies for going viral; they just need to make sure that they give their best for the product so that the users spread the word which is far more effective.

Online press release is one of the best ways to generate traffic for your websites so that more and more people visit your site and they get awareness about your products. They can even know about the experiences and reviews from the people who have already used the product which may help them in making purchase decisions.

Startups and SMEs hold an upper hand when it comes to guerrilla strategy because they can get far more publicity as they are more dynamic and move very close to the customers in stark comparisons to the bigger organizations.  Also, it gives the flexibility and freedom for smaller organization to experiment about their strategies in the market. Even if things don’t work they can go for something alien from the previous strategy as this model involves low cost and minimal resources.

Guerrilla marketing has its own associated risks and can sometimes back-fire as it can lead to negative publicity along with loss of loyal, potential and prospective customers. As this involves a mix of strategies which involves a lot of marketing concepts, it is difficult to measure which strategy aided in the success or the failure of the entire campaign. So, the whole strategy is very sensitive and you should be ready to face the consequences if in case your strategy backfires.

It is always easier said than done and the same case applies perfectly to this scenario as well. It takes immense vision, energy and time to make the intended strategy to perfection so that it satisfies all the parties involved like marketers, company and ultimately target audience. The goal of this campaign is to garner maximum attention and thereby spreading the word like a forest fire which could spare the additional costs for the company. It is crystal clear that this model is tailor-made for the SME’s and startups but it is also being adopted by big organization, as it lifts some pressure on the budget which could be directed elsewhere.

This article has been authored by Arvindh Kumar from Vanguard Business School.

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