Everything You Need to Know About Guerrilla Marketing

The term “guerrilla”, invokes a bit of an animalistic and aggressive vibe. It can project an image of disobedience, upheaval and exclusivity. Combine it with the word “marketing” and it can cause chaos, confusion and excitement. It’s truly unique and can captivate an audience with very few words or no words at all. 

Guerrilla marketing has been around for quite some time and although it’s messages and methods are unconventional, it serves a marketing intent. It’s meant to raise brand or cause awareness around large audiences and stir up dialogue. At its core, it’s marketing that needs to be seen in order to be understood.

Whenever guerrilla marketing is brought up anywhere it causes a sort of involuntary pause which warrants deeper discussion. In this article we will dive deep into the world of guerrilla marketing and learn what makes it so controversial, compelling and entertaining. It’s clear that it’s unlike any other form of marketing out there and it’s time you learned why. 

What is Guerrilla Marketing?

Guerrilla marketing is an advertising and marketing strategy in which a company uses the element of surprise to promote a brand’s products or services. It’s difficult not to immediately think about guerrilla warfare when you see the words “guerrilla marketing” and that is because that’s where this type of marketing got its name.

The whole concept of guerrilla warfare is based on the element of surprise. This is one of the main components of a well crafted guerrilla marketing campaign. The term was made popular by Jay Conrad Levinson’s 1984 book called simply Guerrilla Marketing. 

The core building blocks of guerrilla marketing uses different techniques and strategies in order to help brands make direct connections with their customers. One of the main goals of guerrilla marketing is to invoke an emotional reaction from potential consumers and get them to remember and spread the word about a brand’s products. 

Why Use Guerrilla Marketing?

One of the great benefits about guerrilla marketing is the fact that it tends to be fairly low-cost when compared to traditional marketing like tv, media, and video ads. The tough component of guerrilla marketing tends to lean on the creative side.

It takes some time and creativity to create something that is truly unique and dances with the elements of surprise. The great thing though, it doesn’t have to be expensive but it can take some time to put together an idea and move forward with a proper implementation. 

People use guerrilla marketing techniques because they can be extremely effective in exposing brands and their products in a non-traditional way which helps people remember the brand.

Types of Guerrilla Marketing

Although guerrilla marketing is very unique, there are a decent amount of different types of guerrilla marketing that exist. Let’s take a look into them and see how these different types are used inside different advertising and marketing strategies. 

Ambient Marketing 

In the ambient style of marketing the communication of advertising is presented on the physical elements of the environment. This can include any available space which an advertising or marketing piece can be displayed for the public to see. 

Guerilla marketing example, ambient marketing type

They are meant to be strategically placed in order to cause the public to think before taking a specific action. Advertisements can be placed anywhere like gas pumps, bathroom stalls, public park spaces, museums and so much more.

Checkout different ambient advertising examples  >> 26 Creative Ambient Advertising Examples

Ambush Marketing

Ambush marketing is a type of marketing which is used by companies or organizations in order to bring forth awareness and attention by having some sort of association to an event or property. This marketing is most often seen at sporting events where sponsors try to build an awareness of partnerships in order to bring exposure to their brands. 

Example of ambush marketing, a type of guerilla marketing

This type of style of marketing tends to be used frequently by large scale brands such as Nike, Coca-Cola, Pepsi, Audi, Apple and other brands who have large advertising and marketing budgets. 

Recommended Reading: 8 Of The Best Ambush Marketing Campaigns

Street Marketing

Street marketing is a form of guerrilla marketing which uses unique methods of advertising and promoting products and brands in public areas. The main goal of street marketing is to expose brands to the general public in a way that makes people remember the brand or specific product that is advertised. 

Example of street marketing, a great way for brands to do some guerilla marketing

Street marketing is typically carried out in public areas such as streets, parks, events and much more. You can also see street marketing carried out on buses, subways, sides of cars, footpaths and even garbage bins. 

Recommended Reading: 6-Killer Examples of Street Marketing

GrassRoots Marketing

The whole premise of grassroots marketing is to win over customers and people on a more intimate individual scale. They tend to be more face-to-face and labor intensive and tend to be difficult to scale. 

effective way of grassroots marketing, a type of guerilla marketing

They can be highly effective as they are meant to make a more personal connection between consumers and brands. If executed correctly grassroots marketing campaigns can build a long and lasting relationship between consumers and brands. They are also quite commonly used in political campaigns in order to educate people on agendas and policies.

Recommended Reading: 7 Powerful Grassroots Marketing Ideas


Astroturfing is one of the most interesting guerrilla marketing strategies. It tends to carry a high level of risk for a company’s brand and products. The main premise behind astroturfing is to generate hype around a particular product or service without pre-existing sales or customer feedback.

This is where the risk element comes into play. Most of the hype or reviews surrounding astroturfing tend to be incentivized to be positive. So most times consumers don’t really have a clear idea if the product or service quality is truly as advertised. It has the ability to generate negative press and feedback for a brand and it’s products if they don’t perform as advertised. 

If a company chooses to use a guerrilla marketing technique such as astroturfing they have to be 100% sure of the capabilities and quality. Astroturfing can oftentimes be seen with political ads or brands which don’t have a ton of customers or visibility in specific markets.

Recommended Reading: What is Astroturfing and Why Your Business Should Avoid It

Viral/Buzz Marketing

It’s quite common for videos on Youtube “to go viral”. The goal of viral and buzz marketing is for other individuals to spread the message or product around organically creating large exposure and growth for the marketing message and brand. It’s a kind of word of mouth marketing which in our digital age can spread quite quickly online.

It leverages different social media and advertising channels to give exposure to brands and messages in a organic way. This is most commonly experienced with videos which can spread in a matter of minutes.

Recommended Reading: What is Buzz Marketing?

Risk Associated With Guerrilla Marketing

It’s no question that guerrilla marketing tactics are unconventional and can carry a level of risk if not executed accordingly. They can quickly backfire and cause confusion with branding with products and services. Some of the common risk associated with guerrilla marketing include:

  • Brand perception can take a hit
  • Main marketing message can get lost in translation
  • The marketing is offensive to people
  • Can generate negative press for your company
  • People simply don’t understand the product or service

These are just a few of the common risks associated with guerrilla marketing. They can be mitigated by reviewing the core of the message and making sure the advertising isn’t overly graphic and triggering. 

It’s also imperative to measure the effects of the campaigns and gain some sort of feedback from people so you can accurately assess the effectiveness of the campaign.