12Jul 2023

What is Guerrilla Marketing Strategy? Definition, Types & Examples

When written, the term “guerrilla” has a strong presence. It brings to mind rebelliousness and conflict. People frequently question its presence when it is next to the term “marketing.”

The late business author Jay Conrad Levinson, who wrote multiple books about guerrilla tactics in a variety of professional fields, coined the phrase in the early 1980s. 

Naturally, marketing was considerably different back then, and while guerilla marketing strategies are still used today, the rapidly evolving digital landscape is changing how it appears. Small firms may find guerrilla marketing incredibly cost-effective, particularly if they successfully launch an online promotional frenzy. 

Guerrilla Marketing, written by Jay in 1984, was so popular that Time Magazine ranked it among the top 25 most influential business management books, with over 21 million copies sold. It has subsequently been translated into 62 different languages due to its enormous influence, earning it the title of one of the best marketing books ever written.

This article will go through guerilla marketing strategy, its impact, types, and how it can be implemented in various businesses.

What Is Guerrilla Marketing Strategy?

Guerrilla marketing is a marketing tactic in which a company uses surprise or unconventional interactions to promote a product or service. 

This type of marketing differs from traditional marketing in that it often relies on personal interaction, has a smaller budget, and focuses on smaller groups of promoters responsible for getting the word out in a particular location rather than through widespread media campaigns.

Guerrilla marketers rely on word-of-mouth or viral marketing to distribute their outright advertisements, enabling them to reach a larger audience for free. Guerrilla marketing relies on a connection to a customer’s emotions. 

This approach is not intended for all products and services; rather, it is frequently employed to market to younger consumers who are more likely to respond favorably to “edgier” things.

Types of Guerilla Marketing

Types of Guerilla Marketing
Types of Guerilla Marketing – Image Source: AtZ Technology

You can utilize a variety of Guerilla marketing types to draw the attention of your intended audience. They include

1. Viral Marketing

Viral marketing is a sales strategy that relies on organic or word-of-mouth advertising to disseminate information about a good or service at an accelerating rate. Viral marketing aims to get people to spread a marketing message to their friends, family, and others to increase the number of people who receive it rapidly.

The presence of social media platforms and tools has made viral marketing strategies easy to simple to implement. Some commonly used social media platforms like Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Snapchat, and YouTube. Businesses that sell to consumers directly through the internet (B-to-C) frequently employ this tactic.

All intentional or unintentional viral marketing cases have three things in common: the message, the messenger, and the setting. Each component needs to be utilized to develop a fruitful viral marketing campaign.

Any size of business can develop viral marketing initiatives, which can either stand on their own or be a component of a bigger conventional campaign.

To engage users or viewers emotionally, spread knowledge of a worthwhile cause, and make content easier to consume and share, these campaigns may use various technologies (such as videos, games, photos, emails, text messages, and free products. 

An influencer or a  person with huge followers following would be ideal for viral marketing. The strategy has the following benefits:

  • Cost friendly
  • Easy to reach a lot of users
  • It is not invasive 
  • It builds your brand image

Dove is a good example of utilizing viral marketing to the fullest. Dove created the Real Beauty Sketch campaign in 2004. The campaign aimed to show women they are more attractive than they may realize.

In the video marketing strategy, the artist creates two sketches of a woman: one that the woman herself inspired and the other by someone else’s description. The brand message and confidence in oneself were communicated through the video, which went viral worldwide.

The campaign raised many women’s confidence levels, and Dove came up with the notion of employing actual women in its advertisements rather than models.

Dove Products
Dove Products – Image source: Dove

2. Ambient Marketing

Ambient marketing is a strategy for advertising goods or services by taking advantage of odd objects, locations, or settings to communicate. It entails engaging with the target audience and using creative advertising messaging, and it ought to move people emotionally.

Technology began to replace conventional advertising when ambient advertising first appeared. For most businesses, commercials weren’t worth the enormous expense. No one was paying attention. 

However, because of ambient advertising’s perceived avant-gardeness, many advertisers are wary of it. Results are also hard to follow. If this guerilla marketing strategy is used correctly and creatively, this media will be very effective.

A good example of ambient marketing is Nat Geo. They’ve had a challenging time making the shift into the tech world, as most magazines have. Disney recently bought them, rebranded them, and rebuilt the business. You will still see excellent advertising from them even though they won’t see their publications stacking up monthly in the corner.

3. Ambush Marketing

An ambush marketing strategy entails a brand team attempting to link their goods or services to a significant event that already has official corporate sponsors. It is more like taking over or cynically exploiting another advertiser’s marketing strategy to promote a different business or brand, frequently in the context of event sponsorships.

When a company tries to outsmart another by using one of its efforts as the basis for one of its own, this is known as ambush marketing. Many other techniques can be used in ambush campaigns, such as puns, word games, deceptive imagery, etc.

There is a real risk of violating the copyrights of another corporation if you use an ambush strategy. If you don’t research first, it’s also possible to break advertising laws in some countries or regions.

However, as long as the marketer is careful to follow all relevant laws and refrain from violating anyone’s copyright, ambush marketing as a concept is entirely lawful.

If you want to be on the safe side,

  • Avoid using names, slogans, logos, and other branded elements associated with other businesses or occasions.
  • Give a hint of events instead of directly showing your competitors you want to use their strategies. For most of these competitors, you are directly competing with them.

Rona taking advantage of the Apple paint is an example of ambush marketing. Apple advertised the iPod nano in Canada’s Montreal on a billboard where the iPod’s color would drip down at the bottom. 

Rona, a major retailer of home improvement products, seized an excellent chance and executed arguably one of the most brilliant ambush marketing ploys. It appeared like the paint was falling into buckets, placing a banner beneath Apple’s billboard. “We recycle unused paint,” read the banner’s translation.

4. Astroturfing

Astroturfing is a marketing and public relations strategy based on presenting a false sense of spontaneity and naturalness to win support and spread online. It is a popular sort of campaign, among others, between political parties and major corporations, whose success consists of swaying public opinion with cutting-edge technology and digital media.

Astroturfing is frequently used to present messaging as grassroots advertising.  It typically begins with a small group of believers who naturally distribute the desired message to a larger audience through word-of-mouth. 

By imitating grassroots marketing, astroturfing helps generate the appearance of widespread demand or support within a specific demographic, which enhances a brand’s reputation or income.

People are more likely to believe in a message or brand when they see support from others in their social networks or peer groups. The organizations that engage in astroturfing might also avoid public scrutiny by masking their purpose as a populist message.

Exposure is a concern associated with this guerilla marketing strategy. When a business or political organization is exposed for using astroturf, it may face intense public criticism and retribution. 

The disclosure of such practices damages any sense of trust or affinity people may have felt towards the accused entity by tearing apart the facade of authenticity.

Walmart is an example of a retail business that has used astroturfing. It is one of the most well-known retail locations in the US. It has been charged with astroturfing numerous times. 

By establishing or supporting several lobbying groups that pose as grassroots movements, it typically participates in astroturfing. Then, these organizations promote Walmart’s policies while slandering anyone who disagrees with the business.

Walmart Logo – Image Source: Walmart

5. Grassroots Marketing

The idea behind grassroots marketing is to target a particular set of people to get them to spread your message on their own. The success of this guerilla marketing strategy is highly dependent on social media and virality. Social media facilitates this because this campaign aims to get people to share a narrative.

The grassroots marketing strategy offers the following benefits.

  • It is cost-effective. Smaller, more focused audiences translate into much-reduced costs. This is a crucial benefit of grassroots marketing, especially for businesses with small marketing resources.
  • It enables more focused, smaller initiatives to be successful. Even though the audiences targeted by grassroots marketing initiatives are frequently smaller and highly segmented, this particularity often excludes them from more extensive Advertising and paid social campaigns.
  • It takes advantage of current social trends and provides audiences with what they want. Taking a proactive stance and directly appealing to your social fans is a great way to engage with your audience and capitalize on that desire for an interactive social experience. 

Social responsive brands are frequently seen as being much more positive than businesses that ignore their followings.

A good example of grassroots marketing is referrals. You have the basis of an effective grassroots marketing strategy if a business or salesperson can persuade customers to buy from other customers. Referral programs have been utilized for years by professionals such as lawyers and insurance brokers have utilized referral programs for years. 

Customers that recommend other people to acquire the goods from the business or professional receive compensation. Happy customers effectively become salespeople, and the business or individual only needs to compensate the referring customers if a sale occurs.

6. Stealth Marketing

Any marketing method advertising a product to individuals without them realizing it is being done is considered stealth marketing. Product placement and covert marketing are common strategies used in stealth marketing. 

Stealth marketing’s primary goal is to pique consumers’ curiosity and excitement to increase their receptivity to direct advertising in the future rather than to produce instant sales.

Although this guerilla marketing strategy has also been used successfully by small businesses to generate interest in a new product, it is most frequently utilized by larger organizations that can afford to use many marketing tactics for a single product.

Stealth marketing can be a risky investment. It rarely has a demonstrable influence on business as rapidly as other forms of marketing, and if people learn about it too soon, it may hurt consumer perception. 

For these reasons, any business adopting stealth marketing as a strategy should objectively evaluate the costs and potential drawbacks of the tactic before using it.

To get a comprehensive idea of who its customers are and how they could respond to covert marketing materials, a corporation needs to study consumer data and perform surveys.

7. Street Marketing

Street marketing is a marketing strategy that offers goods or services to clients face-to-face in a public setting. This marketing style deviates from regular advertising techniques and is frequently unusual in its implementation to generate commotion and attention. 

By travelling to a location where they are likely to congregate, street marketing can be useful for a company’s strategic plan to reach valuable clients. It can also help a business raise brand awareness by leaving a lasting impression on customers. 

A small firm that wants to establish a name for itself can do so through street marketing. The people in charge of carrying it out must be creative in their presentation while still being able to get the point across.

8. Wild Posting

Wild posting is a guerilla marketing strategy that uses several posters on street-level boards—barricades at construction sites, building facades, alleyways, etc.—to advertise an occasion, a fresh service, an item, or a brand.

Wild posting is more affordable than traditional advertising while producing the best brand awareness and recall results. By lowering the overall CPM, this outdoor advertising approach remains very effective for media campaigns, even though prices may rise depending on the region.

The advantage of wild posting campaigns is that they are made to target particular neighbourhoods, pedestrians, and drivers. Due to its potential for greater reach, this type of advertising has been widespread across many industries. Almost every category has used wild posting, from music and fashion to technology, cuisine, and autos.

Wild Post Guerrilla Marketing Strategy
Wild Post – Image Source: Wild Posters

Impact of Guerilla Marketing 

Several benefits come with using guerilla marketing, and they include,

1. Building connections

In order to launch a campaign in a public space, it is effective to establish connections with organizations, retailers, and city officials. Social media platforms must be contacted for online efforts. These connections may be useful for upcoming marketing strategies.

2. Going viral

The most effective guerilla tactics have the potential to go viral if they successfully grab customers’ interest and imagination. A guerilla marketing strategy has a greater potential for brand awareness growth than conventional initiatives.

3. Emotional impact

When they laugh, are astonished, or reflect on the campaign’s theme, guerilla marketing efforts emotionally impact consumers. Emotions are a powerful driving force behind purchasing decisions.

4. Low cost

Guerrilla marketing is innovative and affordable. The distinctiveness of the strategy performs all the legwork: It links the target demographic with the brand name, and the consumer spreads the word about the good or concept via social media or word-of-mouth.

The shortcomings that come with using this marketing strategy include,

1. Misunderstandings

Guerrilla marketing campaigns must have a clearly defined message, or else consumers may misinterpret it, which may lead to conflict. Some types of guerilla marketing are controversial, such as astroturfing and ambush marketing.

2. Unpredictability

Both traditional marketing and guerilla marketing are open to outside influences. Guerrilla campaigns, however, may experience additional problems: An event might be entirely ruined by inclement weather, emergencies, or issues with a venue or location. Specific encounters must even be timed perfectly to avoid destabilizing the campaign.

3. Hard to measure results 

Guerrilla marketing yields effects right away from a single interaction. Viral videos can generate incredible word-of-mouth publicity, but a firm has little control over whether or not its campaign will become popular after the first campaign.


A guerilla marketing strategy is ideal over traditional marketing strategies. Guerrilla marketing’s main goal is to boost customer contact through grassroots, experiential, stunt, graffiti, and ambient marketing, encouraging consumers to feel good and positively impacting business sales.

It would be best if you always thought outside the box regarding advertising materials. There are several types of guerilla marketing tactics, including Viral or buzz marketing, stealth, ambient, ambush, astroturfing, grassroots, wild posting, and street marketing. Each guerilla marketing strategy comes with its advantages and disadvantages.

Before settling on any strategy, analyze your goals and determine which type of strategy suits your needs best. Also, before starting your guerrilla marketing campaign, make sure you have done your research on your rivals. 

You should research your competitors’ claims, guerrilla marketing tactics, and advertising history. After that, create a plan while keeping in mind your brand’s core principles and where you want it to be in the near future.

Acodez is a leading web design company in India offering all kinds of web design and development solutions at affordable prices. We are also an SEO and digital marketing agency offering inbound marketing solutions to take your business to the next level. For further information, please contact us today.

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Rithesh Raghavan

Rithesh Raghavan

Rithesh Raghavan, Co-Founder, and Director at Acodez IT Solutions, who has a rich experience of 16+ years in IT & Digital Marketing. Between his busy schedule, whenever he finds the time he writes up his thoughts on the latest trends and developments in the world of IT and software development. All thanks to his master brain behind the gleaming success of Acodez.

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