Guerilla Marketing: A Guide for Businesses (with Examples)

A Guide to Guerilla Marketing for Businesses

Competition for ad space is fierce in today’s world. From their TV and phone screens to radios and billboards, consumers are constantly bombarded with ads. Companies need to be creative in devising unconventional methods of promotion to maintain the public’s interest. Often, guerilla marketing is employed to beat out the competitor. 

The ingenuity and fresh tactics employed with this form of marketing can build up a positive image of one’s brand. However, this marketing technique needs to be done with enough planning to ensure smooth and flawless execution.

What is guerrilla marketing? We explore this popular form of marketing and how it can be used to drive sales and growth for your business.

What is Guerilla Marketing and Why Does It Work?

Guerilla marketing is an advertising strategy in which a company uses surprise or unconventional marketing methods to promote a product or service. These methods are often low-cost but yield maximum results largely due to the element of surprise. 

If you’re thinking of guerrilla warfare, you’re on the right track. “Guerilla warfare marketing” draws its inspiration from the tactics in a warfare context, only this time you are ambushing, sabotaging, or raiding your target audience. 

Guérilla marketing can be an effective marketing tactic if companies come up with imaginative campaigns. The element of surprise not only increases your customer’s engagement with the product or service, it also makes a big impression which means they are more likely to remember your brand. It’s low-cost, high reward ratio makes it an ideal strategy for small businesses or those with a tight marketing budget.

The History of Guerilla Marketing

The guerilla marketing definition was curated by the late business writer Jay Conrad Levinson in his 1984 book Guerilla Marketing. He was the first to use the term in describing unconventional marketing methods.

Being an ad-man himself with a background in psychology, Levinson understood the need for businesses to turn to innovation where financial or other resources were limited. The term grew in popularity among the industry. The book sold over 21 million copies and Time magazine named it one of the top 25 best business books. Today, guerilla marketing is one of the best-known brands in history. Levinson taught guerilla marketing at the University of California in Berkeley for 10 years and even went on to write several books in other professional areas. His guerrilla concepts have influenced marketing all over the world—his books appear in 62 languages and are required reading in MBA programs worldwide.

Types of Guerilla Marketing

Guerilla marketing tactics fall under several categories:

Ambient Marketing

This type of guerrilla advertising can be found anywhere from public bathrooms to public transportation. It involves presenting communication on nearly every available surface of the environment. These kinds of ads offer flexibility with placement, it all depends on your creativity.

Ambush Marketing

Most common in major sports events, this is a marketing strategy in which an advertiser "ambushes" an event to compete for exposure against other advertisers. It involves associating a product or brand with a major event, without being an official sponsor or partner.

Indoor and Outdoor Guerilla Marketing

These both involve adding something to urban environments, such as putting temporary artwork on sidewalks for outdoor marketing and the opposite for indoor guerilla marketing such as train stations and shops.

Experiential Guerilla Marketing

Can be done indoors or at events, where the public interacts with the brand in unique ways. Product animations, VR and gaming experiences, human and product animations, and the like.

Grassroots Marketing

Commonly termed as a grassroots campaign, this type of marketing is used to convert customers on a one-to-one basis. Grassroots marketing involves creating a personal relationship with the consumer.

Guerilla Marketing Examples

Most tactics of guerilla marketing employ more than one category at a time and various organizations even include them in larger campaigns. Some examples are:

Moving Billboards

No doubt you’ve seen an enlarged photo or words moving around town on the side of a bus. Putting outdoor advertising displays on taxis, buses, and truck fleet vehicles is a popular form of guerilla advertising for brands.


A flash mob is a large group of people who suddenly appear in a public place to perform a dance or other type of activity before quickly dispersing. Flash mobs can be organized by companies and businesses and usually consist of branded items such as dancers’ clothing, banners, and handing out print marketing materials.

Influencer Stunts

A method of online guerilla marketing where companies rely on people with a following to create a buzz around a campaign. One notorious example of this is the infamous Fyre Festival’s announcement, where influencers flooded Instagram with a photo of an orange tile.

Guerilla marketing is a go-to tactic for most companies for its ability to efficiently sell products and services. If you’re exploring different marketing strategies like guerilla marketing, LeadJig can take your efforts to the next level. We’re transforming the way financial professionals identify, target, and deploy marketing. Talk to us to learn more about how we can help your business.