How to organise an alternative marketing campaign.
If there’s one word that is considered kryptonite to any savvy marketing guru, it’s ‘viral’.
We’re often asked “Can you make it go viral?”, and the short answer is: No.
Every campaign tends to come with the caveat that the only guarantee is that you can never predict 100% whether or not a campaign will take off and become a viral sensation; the best we can do is get creative with our strategies, keep an ear to the ground in the digital world and sniff out what is likely to create a social media buzz.
Most retailers are already aware that a successful business relies heavily on both online and offline marketing strategies, but there is a real challenge in the latter, given that it can often be difficult to measure the success of offline campaigns in order to recalibrate and improve our output. There are, however, genuinely exciting ways that you can make a huge splash with your offline approach through guerrilla marketing tactics which can set you apart from your competitors and earmark your store as the go-to destination for your customers whilst hopefully creating that social buzz that we’re all striving to achieve!
Guerrilla Marketing 101
A guerrilla warrior is defined as a fighter who makes sudden, passionate attacks. Take this onboard as your mantra if you are considering creating your own guerrilla marketing campaign.
Guerrilla campaigns tend to be loud, pop-up events that take the public by surprise and occasionally even shock people in order to get potential customers to sit up and take notice of a brand. Think of it as traditional marketing’s punk rock sister: it’s loud; sometimes disruptive and tends to get the message across extremely well!
In the world of guerrilla marketing, the sky really is the limit and it truly pays to be as creative as is humanly possible, so just in case you’re at a loss for where to start with such an endless stream of possibilities, we’ve put together a few helpful starting points to get you moving in the right direction.
‘Free’ is the magic number
Everybody loves free stuff, and a surefire way to draw a crowd is to bombard passing foot traffic with free goods. From branded merchandise to food, giving stuff away is a tried and tested method for street marketing, however it’s worth thinking about how to take this one step further and put a guerrilla spin on it. Consider putting the vendors in fancy dress perhaps, or fire branded t shirts from a shirt-cannon at a local gig; taking that extra step to wow people will likely pay off as the stunt gathers momentum on social media. Giving away free stuff isn’t really picture-worthy… Giving away stuff dressed as a gorilla definitely is!
Discounts and giveaways
Much like giving away free stuff, giving away exclusive or limited time discounts is a proven way to increase your footfall, so why not turn it up to 11 and do something immensely exclusive that will also get people buzzing for your store online?
Give away an extremely limited number of crazy discounts for lucky fans who perhaps find a code somewhere in your town or city, or you could even host a digital raffle system in exchange for likes and shares of your social media page content. Go all out and hide coupons in a giant ball pool in the town centre and have customers dive for a discount- Don’t be afraid to dream big and do something totally wacky in order to get a discount into as many hands and possible and drive traffic to your website and store!
Embrace a digital solution
There’s so much that we can do with digital marketing these days, it’s a shame that more retailers aren’t embracing the full scope of possibilities available to them. There are lots of social promotion builders available online to suit all budgets that will guide you through the process of making an online promotion such as a branded game or widget that can plug into your site or social media pages to draw in your customers and reward them with exclusive content, from prizes to discounts and other exclusives. If you really wanted to push the boat out, you could host a pop up event in your town where there is an incentive for customers to take photos with your products or branding, and upload themselves to social media to win all of the above. Don’t forget, the more unusual, exciting or innovative the concept, the more engagement you’re likely to experience from your customer base.
If this kind of creative thinking isn’t your strong point fear not, it’s fairly common practice to delegate the task of guerrilla marketing campaigns out to creatives! Consider enlisting local artists in your area perhaps to put together an eye-catching mural or huge piece of art (with your local council’s permission, of course), that showcases your branding and becomes a focal point in your community for a while. You could even use it as a backdrop for a pop up event in itself, bringing the community together and raising your business profile at a local level.
The real beauty in these kinds of campaigns is that everyone involved, especially the customers, leaves with a feeling that they’ve experienced something truly unique, and they have you to thank for that, and it's taking these kinds of gambles that will give you the best shot at being at the centre of your very own viral campaign!
Whatever you plan for your alternative campaigns, just remember the three golden rules:
- Campaigns should be here for a good time, not a long time.
- Don’t do anything illegal, or without the proper permissions.
- Make it personal to your brand, and unique to you.