Using Guerrilla Marketing for New Products

Guerrilla marketing is one of the most democratic and empowering forces in the business world. It allows for the triumph of the intellect over the pocketbook.

Guerrilla marketing can be defined as marketing that goes outside normal channels, that does not prominently feature paid ads, press releases, mass e-mailings, etc. While some component of a guerilla marketing campaign may be paid, the money very well may go to a firm or consultant who designs the campaign rather than producing the sorts of materials mentioned above.

The visually-striking, controversial, often flamboyant nature of guerilla marketing makes it ideal for launching a new product. Physical objects are often a big part of guerilla marketing campaigns, as are invitations for the audience to actively engage with something tangible, specific, and easy to understand. So, let’s look at some strategies for using guerrilla marketing for new products:

Demonstrate Uniqueness

Guerrilla marketing is all about showing rather than telling—with telling being the provenance of traditional marketing. Your new product needs attention, and calling out its unique characteristics is probably the best way to do this.

One guerrilla marketing campaign for Coke involved placing adhesive material to bus stop benches to herald a new bottle’s stick-grip. This means people waiting for buses were pulling their clothes off of an advertisement for something meant to be sticky—apparently it really was.

So, if you make long-lasting batteries, try to place them in some marathon event, powering a radio or other key component; place one of your hand-crafted coffee tables in a coffee shop or public space, being sure, of course, to have some inconspicuous tag to identify yourself as the maker. The point is to put your product in action or to market it in a way that demonstrates some of its outstanding traits.

Visually-Arresting and Active

Since the idea is to get maximum bang for your buck (real or metaphorical) it’s probably best to create some striking visuals, which aim to make the product come to life as much as possible. One example of both of these is the beer company that painted large steins of its brew around large brass door handles, so that anyone opening the door simulates the hoisting of a the glass.

There’s the Folgers coffee painted on a manhole, which animates it with steam regularly wafting from it. As an example, you could try placing a display of your plant fertilizer near a lush growth of vegetation in a park, perhaps with some mannequin simulating the perpetual application of it.

Well-placed Free Samples

Passing out free samples on the street is an easy-enough idea, one every business person has thought of. But that’s a matter of cold solicitation, often trying to thrust something unwanted into a person’s hand. The sort of free samples that work better are organically-integrated, as in offering a coffee shop some free samples of your creamer; do you manufacture seat cushions, products that provide back support? Hand them out at the local ball game. Do you sell herbal hangover cures? Mysteriously deliver cartons of samples to all the sororities and fraternities in town on a Saturday morning. Service businesses like snow-plowing, lawn care or web design can find similar strategic delivery in conspicuous areas.


Again, you’re trying to get audiences to know about your product or service and what it can do. Having them confront it or perhaps use it, or at least in one way or another, be actively engaged while confronting it, is key. The above example of placing a model of your coffee table where people will be happy to find one and thus see its benefits is what I’m touting here.

Another example is an auto insurance company called Novocortex. They placed stickers on parked cars that looked like large dark scrapes. But written on the stickers was the message that their company fixed damage to cars as easily as the would-be customer peeled off the sticker. It would be hard not to form a favorable impression of a company in this case.

These strategies involve highly-focused, direct campaigns that put your product or service in sharp relief. They aim to get the very most out of your time and money.

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Posted in Startups.

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