8 Risky Guerrilla Marketing Strategies to Get You Noticed

Alyssa Gregory
Alyssa Gregory

tattooGuerrilla marketing, defined by Jay Conrad Levinson in his book Guerrilla Marketing, is the act of executing an unusual or unexpected marketing activity in a common, everyday place in order to generate a buzz for your products or services.

Because guerrilla marketing tactics are different and typically more unpredictable than traditional marketing activities, they can be more memorable and produce a bigger impact. But these strategies are not without risk. In fact, key elements of a successful guerrilla marketing campaign include being bold, asserting yourself and taking a chance.

Are you ready to go for it and make a marketing splash? Here are some guerrilla marketing strategies to help get your risk-taking juices flowing.

  1. Take a Stand: Pick a popular or controversial industry topic, define your stance and make it known. Be ready to defend your perspective, participate in some healthy discussion and listen to opposing viewpoints in order to take full advantage of this strategy.
  2. Give It All Away: Many businesses offer free samples of their products and services in order to generate new interest. Take it one step further by giving away a full version of a product or a complete service in order to benefit from increased referrals and word of mouth marketing. To select the recipient, you can have a drawing, run a contest, or pick a favorite non-profit.
  3. Be Aggressive with Follow-Up: How often do you lose out on opportunities because you’re worried about annoying your prospects or being seen as desperate? Devise a well-timed plan for following up and then commit to following through each step of the way.
  4. Honor Your Competitors’ Coupons: Some major retailers use this technique to grab up customers who typically shop elsewhere. If you’re willing to risk creating an antagonistic relationship with the competition, you can use this strategy in your own business by piggy-backing on a special offer, coupon or other discount offered by someone else.
  5. Put Your Money Where Your Mouth Is: Use cold hard cash to get people’s attention. Locate some highly qualified and interested prospects, then send out a mailing with a “payment,” thanking them for their time spent reading through your letter. You can also mail a note written on cash, or send out half a $10 bill with the promise of sending the prospect the other half after a free consultation.
  6. Get Inked: Or pay someone else to get inked with your company’s  branding and then flaunt it at a public event. It might be a hard sell, but the shock factor can be worth the effort if you’re successful (see Shayne Tilley’s post for more non-traditional offline marketing techniques).
  7. Go Door to Door: Instead of just asking to speak to business owners and pitching your services in general terms, make your time increasingly effective and personal. Walk into a local business with their web site up on your laptop, have a mockup of a new site ready to go and pitch them on the spot.
  8. Throw a Party: Everyone loves a celebration and parties are one of the best ways to network. So consider throwing yourself a birthday party, anniversary party or other celebration and invite clients and prospects to mingle and get to know one another. As the common denominator at the event, you (and your products and services) will likely be the focus of conversation.

Do you do any risky, non-traditional marketing in your business? What has worked for you?

Image credit: madtornado