Small Business Marketing

Guerrilla Marketing for Product Launches

Guerrilla marketing tactics offer a nontraditional venue for launching products on a shoestring budget. But it takes more than an off-the-wall promotional concept to pull off an effective guerrilla marketing campaign.

Young entrepreneurs usually assume that once their business gets on its feet they will be able to afford glitzy, over-the-top marketing campaigns to support new product launches.

Guerrilla Marketing

But most entrepreneurs quickly discover that high-end marketing agendas don't mesh with small business budgets. Marketing basics tell you that your business needs an aggressive promotional strategy to properly support new products or product lines, but financial realities may limit the amount you can invest in marketing initiatives for product rollouts.

Guerrilla marketing for product launches bridges the gap between budgetary limitations and aggressive marketing requirements. If successful, guerrilla marketing can deliver maximum promotional impact for little or no financial investment. But guerrilla marketing isn't as easy as it sounds. The trick is creating a guerrilla marketing strategy that delivers key product messaging while resonating with large volumes of consumers or even B2B buyers.

What is Guerrilla Marketing?

In its most general form, guerrilla marketing is a promotional strategy that relies on low cost, high-energy tactics to engage large groups of consumers. The hope is that the marketing concept will be so unique and unexpected that it will become viral, inspiring legions of consumers to promote the company's product and/or messaging within their circles of influence.

One of the most famous examples of guerrilla marketing was the Oscar Meyer wiener-mobile. Although there was clearly a cost associated with creating the hotdog-shaped vehicle and sending it around the country, the unusual nature of the campaign captured consumers' imagination and gave Oscar Meyer a promotional return that dramatically outpaced their investment.

Guerrilla Marketing Tips for Product Launches

Unfortunately, not all guerrilla marketing campaigns are capable of generating enough buzz to support a successful product launch. In fact, more guerrilla marketing campaigns fail than succeed, primarily because they lack the fundamental strategic elements of effective guerrilla marketing.

  • Creative Concepts. The most impactful guerrilla marketing campaigns leverage exceptionally creative concepts for viral advantage. In many cases, guerrilla product launches revolve around either unique visual ads (e.g. optical illusions painted on doors or buildings) or promotional stunts.
  • Opportunism. Guerrilla marketing strategies use available opportunities to generate buzz for new products or services. Rather than focusing on what you don't have (or can't afford), start brainstorming guerrilla marketing ideas by examining the opportunities and resources in your business and the local community.
  • Public Visibility. Across the board, guerrilla-style product rollouts feature highly public visibility -- either online, offline or both. Since there's no such thing as an undercover guerrilla marketing campaign, strategize to make your efforts as public and as memorable as possible.
  • High Impact/Low Cost Approach. It's easy to get carried away during the development of a guerrilla marketing campaign for a product launch. Although the idea is to develop low cost marketing ideas, you could end up spending as much on a guerrilla marketing strategy as you would for an outsourced marketing campaign. Stay focused and remember that you're working toward creating a high impact/low cost marketing concept.
  • Social Media Tie-Ins. These days, it's impossible to talk about guerrilla marketing without considering social media tie-ins. Social networks like Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and Pinterest are now the primary vehicles for word of mouth marketing, so it's important to incorporate social media elements into your strategy.

Finally, it's important to note the role customer retention strategies play in generating long-term value from product rollout campaigns. In most instances, guerrilla marketing campaigns for product rollouts focus on acquiring new customers for the product or business. But unless your business has a strategy in place to retain those customers, the time and effort you spend on guerrilla marketing initiatives will have little or no long-term impact.

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