Barista making coffee at a typical local business

Guerrilla Tactics for Local Businesses

We seem to get a lot of questions from local businesses about Guerrilla Marketing: how it works, how much it costs, whether it’s “beneath” a reputable business, and so on. So we thought we’d take a moment to answer some of those questions and maybe expose a few myths.

Guerrilla marketing is nothing new. In fact, some of its simplest forms predate conventional advertising and even the mass media themselves.

Generally, guerrilla marketing campaigns are defined by several characteristics:

  1. They are non-media based. In other words, they do not rely on traditional advertising channels, like newspaper, radio, television, billboards, and the like. Frankly, it’s always been a wonder why local businesses (other than grocery stores and large retailers) use traditional media advertising at all. Media has always been expensive, and it’s very difficult to measure for ROI. And when you consider the fact that social media, including Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr and YouTube, are supplanting television, SiriusXM and iPod docks are obviating local radio stations, and newspaper readership (other than online) has been declining for more than a decade, one would have to wonder what you’re paying them for in the first place.
  2. They are often low-budget productions. This alone should make guerilla marketing the darling of small businesses, all struggling to compete against other local businesses, chains, and the dreaded long tail of online marketing.
  3. They deliver attention-grabbing messages (sometimes risky or edgy, but always unexpected). Let’s face facts, today’s buyers – even in business – are from a younger generation. They are open to new ideas and almost impossible to shock. So, what may have caused concern in the 1950s or even the 1980s no longer raises an eyebrow.
  4. They meet the audience in a place or time where the audience is not expecting to receive the advertiser’s message. And by meeting the audience in unexpected surroundings, marketers meet the buyer when his filter is turned off.
  5. They are usually mono-dimensional (uncomplicated, and sometimes relying on only one medium or delivery channel), which makes them very easy to pull off, and easy to change or adjust.
  6. And most importantly, they deliver more mileage per investment dollar than any traditional media campaign.

From our perspective, guerrilla tactics fit perfectly in the marketing arsenal of local businesses, from independent banks (if you can find one) to theatre troupes; from chic restaurants to dress shops; from dentists to CPAs. Still have questions? Call us.