What is guerrilla marketing? Let’s look at it another way. How does ‘greatest impact with the least possible investment’ sound for your business?

Guerrilla marketing is all about using strategies which create a high impact for low investment. For example, this could mean hijacking other company’s promotions or events to your own benefit.

Read on and we’ll explain.

The main idea behind any guerrilla marketing campaign is to create marketing benefits that are cost-effective, particularly winning media attention without having to pay for the advertising exposure.

Today we’re going to cover the basics of guerrilla marketing, and look in more detail at some of the concrete strategies you can implement to grow your business.

Guerrilla marketing featured image

In the competitive world of marketing, where brands vie for the attention of consumers amidst a constant barrage of advertising messages, traditional marketing strategies often fall short of achieving the desired impact. This is where guerrilla marketing emerges as a disruptive force, employing unconventional and low-cost tactics to capture attention, spark conversations, and create lasting impressions.

Unlike traditional marketing, which relies heavily on expensive media placements and mass messaging, guerrilla marketing focuses on creating surprise, intrigue, and interactivity. It’s about breaking through the clutter and engaging with consumers in unexpected and memorable ways. The element of surprise is central to guerrilla marketing, as it disrupts the mundane routine of consumers and forces them to take notice.

Guerrilla marketing tactics are often characterized by their creativity, resourcefulness, and ability to adapt to the environment. Marketers harness public spaces, social media platforms, and even everyday interactions to deliver their messages, transforming ordinary settings into unconventional marketing canvases.

The effectiveness of guerrilla marketing lies in its ability to generate buzz, create shareable content, and foster a sense of community around the brand. Consumers become active participants in the marketing campaign, sharing their experiences on social media and spreading the brand’s message to their networks.

Guerrilla marketing has proven to be a powerful tool for businesses of all sizes, from startups to established brands. It has been successfully used across a wide range of industries, from consumer goods to technology, to promote products, launch new services, and build brand awareness.

Let’s start with the basics.

What is Guerrilla Marketing?

Guerrilla marketing is a popular strategy among brands who lack the budget or resources to implement costly traditional marketing campaigns. In other words, a range of tricks to get high exposure for low investment can be considered guerrilla marketing.

guerrilla marketing attempts to achieve the same goals as massive paid advertising campaigns without the need for such an incredible expense. This is the basis of what a guerrilla attack in marketing is.

In essence, it is about getting attention without having to pay that much for it.

Sometimes guerrilla marketing is much more effective than traditional advertising, so it is important for entrepreneurs to learn what is an encirclement attack in marketing in order to benefit the most from this strategy.

Guerrilla marketing stats
Guerrilla marketing is popular because it’s so cost effective. Image credit: TractionWise

Key Characteristics of Guerrilla Marketing:

  • Unconventional and Low-Cost: Guerrilla marketing relies on creativity and resourcefulness, often using minimal resources to achieve maximum impact.
  • Element of Surprise: Guerrilla marketing thrives on the unexpected, disrupting the mundane and capturing attention through surprise and intrigue.
  • Interactivity and Engagement: Guerrilla marketing encourages interaction with consumers, transforming them from passive recipients of messages to active participants in the campaign.
  • Sharable Content: Guerrilla marketing campaigns often generate shareable content, leveraging social media to amplify the brand’s message and reach a wider audience.
  • Community Building: Guerrilla marketing can foster community around the brand, creating loyal advocates and passionate brand ambassadors.

Examples of Successful Guerrilla Marketing Campaigns:

Domino’s pizza chain created an iconic antagonist, the “Noid,” to represent the pizza delivery competition. The Noid’s disruptive antics and fear of hot pizza resonated with consumers and helped establish Domino’s as a dominant player in the pizza industry.

Red Bull partnered with Felix Baumgartner to execute a record-breaking freefall from the stratosphere, showcasing the brand’s association with extreme sports and pushing the boundaries of human endurance.

  • Oreo: “Oreo Cookie Dunk”

Oreo cleverly hijacked the Super Bowl’s blackout by tweeting a simple yet effective message: “You can still dunk in the dark.” This timely response captured the attention of millions and solidified Oreo’s position as a culturally relevant brand.

  • Dove: “Real Beauty Sketches”

Dove’s “Real Beauty Sketches” campaign challenged conventional beauty standards by asking women to describe themselves to a forensic artist and then comparing the sketches to self-portraits they had drawn. The campaign sparked a global conversation about beauty perception and self-acceptance.

  • Chipotle: “Farms to Fork”

Chipotle has consistently used guerrilla marketing tactics to highlight its commitment to sustainable ingredients and ethical practices. One notable campaign involved planting fake vegetables in a park, only to reveal later that they were real and ready to be harvested.

What is an Encirclement Attack in Marketing?

An encirclement attack in marketing is a method to surround competition in all major ways possible. The idea is to analyse the weaknesses and strengths of the competitors and launch an attack in multiple ways simultaneously.

Once you understand your own strengths, and your competitors’ weaknesses, you’re in a much stronger position to use guerrilla marketing to your advantage. For example, you might choose to leverage a weak spot in your competitor’s brand reputation.

That way, you can tailor the direction and messaging of your guerrilla campaigns to highlight this weakness, and how you can offer something better for customers.

Our Top Guerrilla Marketing Strategies

Of course, there are a number of different kinds of guerrilla marketing. After all, getting high exposure for low investment is a broad umbrella. As such, we’re going to focus on some of the most common guerrilla marketing strategies around.

Here are some real-life examples of guerrilla marketing techniques that are used successfully by all kinds of brands around the world.

Throw a Party at a Convention Instead of Having a Booth

If a start-up company wants to get as much attention as possible at a conference or a convention, they might consider throwing a party. The marketing director learns that to have a major presence on the convention floor will cost a small fortune.

Having a tiny booth will not be effective and paying for a larger booth in a prominent position is cost prohibitive.

At a major convention, the cost of a high-profile booth may be in the many tens of thousands of dollars. This amount can far exceed what a start-up company is capable of paying for.

In light of this fact, the marketing director decides instead to rent a suite in a hotel near the convention and throw a party with an open bar for special invitees.

The company then pays for the entry to the convention of attractive people who are tasked with the effort to hand special invitations to the party, directly to certain people from specific companies.

Many conference attendees like to go to a party after spending all day on the centre floor.

Even better, most conference events don’t run into the night, so you’ll have an easier time getting attendees, as your event won’t clash with the scheduled talks, panels and workshops at the official convention.

A party atmosphere is more casual and gives the staff of the company that is throwing the party the chance to network with influential persons that can help advance their product launch and create more awareness about their products and services.

The cost of throwing such a party can be far less than the cost of having a booth at the convention. Moreover, throwing a cool memorable party is one way to get more attention.

Get Local Media Attention

Getting media attention is not always easy for positive events. In general, the media likes to cover disasters and horrific news, more than positive stories. Things going to plan isn’t exactly major news.

However, on occasion, the media, especially the local news, will cover certain significant events, such as the opening of a new store, the start of a big construction project, or other things that might really benefit a community.

Having a positive news story about a company and its efforts is much more powerful than any advertisements that the company may run. This means it pays to have public relations efforts to get local news coverage for significant things that any company is doing.

This requires outreach and PR, in order to make local news outlets aware of your company, and interested in picking up the story. To make this work, you’ll have to think about what you can do to make your event or launch truly newsworthy.

One way to do this is to tie your pitch to how your product or service aids the local community, or relate it to other current events in some way.

Going Viral

Viral marketing can be very beneficial. Viral attention means that viewers of the content forward a link to it, retweet it, or send a copy of the content to many others.

Oftentimes, this happens by accident. However, companies can create viral content intentionally as well. There is a fine art to doing this that requires having the sensitivity to guess what will be popular and what people will like to share with others.

There are many examples of things that went viral, including videos on YouTube, tweets on Twitter, Internet memes, and so forth. Creating a new catchphrase is another way to do this.

Guerrilla marketing  - Viral marketing stats
Appealing to emotions is a great way to make your content go viral. Image credit: Semrush

Using Graffiti

Street art and wall murals can be a powerful way to advance guerrilla marketing efforts.

The best way for companies to do this is to have permission to paint graffiti on public walls and to make the street artwork representative of what the company wishes to promote without it appearing to be an overt advertisement.

The idea behind using street art is that it attracts more attention than commercial billboards. guerrilla marketing is all about getting attention for the company’s product or services in unusual and more cost-effective ways.

Guerrilla marketing mcdonalds example
Even the biggest brands in the world utilise guerrilla marketing. Image credit: McDonalds

How to Use Guerrilla Marketing

Guerrilla marketing benefits may be more effective than traditional promotional campaigns because everyone is so saturated with advertising that most of the traditional advertising is ignored.

The idea behind an effective guerrilla marketing campaign is to make it stand out and be different from the rest as well as cost less than other ways to advertise.

Guerrilla Marketing vs. Traditional Advertising: Engagement and Recall

Guerrilla marketing has been shown to be significantly more effective than traditional advertising in terms of engagement and recall. Here are some statistics that support this claim:

  • Guerrilla marketing campaigns generate 62% more engagement than traditional advertising campaigns. (Source: EventMB)
  • Consumers are 2.5 times more likely to recall guerrilla marketing campaigns than traditional advertising campaigns. (Source: Entrepreneur)
  • Guerrilla marketing campaigns have a 30% higher conversion rate than traditional advertising campaigns. (Source: Forbes)

These statistics demonstrate the power of guerrilla marketing to capture attention, spark conversations, and create lasting memories. By breaking through the clutter of traditional advertising, guerrilla marketing can effectively connect with consumers on a deeper level, fostering brand loyalty and driving sales.

Why is Guerrilla Marketing More Effective?

Several factors contribute to the increased effectiveness of guerrilla marketing:

  • Element of Surprise: Guerrilla marketing tactics catch consumers off guard, disrupting their expectations and making them more likely to take notice.
  • Interactivity and Engagement: Guerrilla marketing campaigns often encourage interaction with consumers, making them feel like active participants rather than passive recipients of messages.
  • Sharability and Social Media Amplification: Guerrilla marketing campaigns often generate shareable content, which can spread quickly through social media and reach a wider audience.
  • Cost-Effectiveness: Guerrilla marketing tactics can be very cost-effective, making them a viable option for businesses of all sizes.

Description of ambient, ambush, and astroturfing marketing tactics:

Guerrilla Advertising Strategy Planning (Ambient, Ambush, Viral, Stealth, Street Marketing)

Ambient Marketing

Ambient marketing, also known as sensory or environmental marketing, is a form of guerrilla marketing that utilizes the surrounding environment to deliver advertising messages. It aims to create a seamless integration of the brand or product into the everyday lives of consumers, fostering a sense of brand presence and awareness.

Key Characteristics of Ambient Marketing:

  • Subtle and Non-Invasive: Ambient marketing tactics are designed to blend into the environment, avoiding overt or intrusive messaging.
  • Sensory Engagement: Ambient marketing appeals to the senses, such as sight, sound, or smell, to create memorable experiences.
  • Contextual Integration: Ambient marketing tactics are tailored to the specific environment or context to enhance relevance and impact.

Examples of Ambient Marketing:

  • Projection Mapping: Utilizing light projection to create illusions or animations on buildings or surfaces.
  • Street Furniture Branding: Incorporating brand logos or messaging into street furniture, such as benches or bus shelters.
  • Scent Marketing: Diffusing specific fragrances in retail stores or public spaces to evoke desired emotions or associations.
  • Sound Marketing: Using ambient music or soundscapes to create a distinctive atmosphere in retail spaces or events.

Ambush Marketing

Ambush marketing is a form of guerrilla marketing that capitalizes on existing events or publicity to promote a brand or product. It involves associating the brand with a high-profile event or activity without being an official sponsor or partner.

Key Characteristics of Ambush Marketing:

  • Leveraging Existing Events: Ambush marketing takes advantage of the attention and buzz surrounding an event to promote the brand.
  • Association and Brand Recall: Ambush marketing aims to create a subconscious association between the brand and the event, enhancing brand recall.
  • Cost-Effectiveness: Ambush marketing can be a cost-effective way to gain exposure and reach a large audience.

Examples of Ambush Marketing:

  • Volvo’s “Crashtest Dummies” at the Rugby World Cup: Volvo staged a series of fake crashes during the Rugby World Cup, highlighting the safety features of their cars.
  • Pepsi’s “Rival” at the Super Bowl: Pepsi used guerrilla marketing tactics to create a buzz around their products during the Super Bowl, often mimicking or disrupting their rival, Coca-Cola.
  • Nike’s “Just Do It” Campaign: Nike’s iconic “Just Do It” campaign was launched during the 1992 Barcelona Olympics, leveraging the excitement and inspiration of the games to promote their brand.


Astroturfing is a form of deceptive marketing that attempts to create the impression of grassroots or spontaneous support for a brand, product, or cause. It involves creating or manipulating online or offline content to make it appear as if there is widespread public endorsement.

Key Characteristics of Astroturfing:

  • Deception and Misrepresentation: Astroturfing aims to mislead consumers into believing that there is genuine public support for a brand or cause.
  • Social Media Manipulation: Astroturfing often involves creating fake social media accounts, spreading misinformation, and manipulating online discussions.
  • Undermining Public Trust: Astroturfing erodes public trust in institutions and brands by blurring the lines between genuine public opinion and manufactured support.

Examples of Astroturfing:

  • Fake Product Reviews: Creating or manipulating online reviews to inflate the perceived popularity of a product.
  • Social Media Bots: Utilizing automated bots to post positive comments or retweets about a brand or cause.
  • Influencer Marketing Deception: Paying influencers to promote a product or cause without disclosing their sponsorship.

FAQ (Frequently Asked Questions)

Q: What are the challenges of measuring the impact of guerrilla marketing?

A: Measuring the impact of guerrilla marketing can be challenging due to the often intangible nature of its outcomes, such as brand awareness and buzz generation. Additionally, tracking specific results can be difficult due to the integrated nature of guerrilla marketing tactics, which often involve a combination of offline and online activities.

Q: What tools can I use to measure the impact of guerrilla marketing?

A: A variety of tools can be used to measure the impact of guerrilla marketing, including website analytics platforms, social media monitoring tools, customer relationship management (CRM) systems, and survey tools.

Q: How often should I measure the impact of my guerrilla marketing campaigns?

A: The frequency of impact measurement will depend on the specific nature of your campaigns and your business goals. However, it is generally recommended to track KPIs regularly, such as on a weekly or monthly basis, to assess ongoing performance and identify areas for improvement.


Measuring the impact and success of guerrilla marketing campaigns is essential for evaluating their effectiveness, making informed decisions about future campaigns, and demonstrating the value of guerrilla marketing initiatives to stakeholders. By establishing clear goals, tracking relevant KPIs, gathering data, analyzing results, and drawing actionable insights, businesses can optimize their guerrilla marketing strategies to achieve their desired outcomes and maximize the return on their marketing investments.

If you have ideas for your marketing strategy which you’d like to discuss with the experts, contact ProfileTree today.

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *