If you’re looking for a creative way to promote your event, a guerrilla marketing campaign is the ticket. This strategy can help you amplify your exposure with attendees.
Guerrilla marketing tactics are unexpected, experiential methods of advertising to build brand awareness. For example, guerrilla content marketing takes the form of publicity stunts, viral videos, or stencil graffiti.
This strategy is meant to infiltrate consumers’ daily life without them realising it, providing a memorable experience — just like your event.
But unlike other channels of promotion, there’s no room for even the tiniest error with guerrilla marketing. Execute your campaign poorly and the result could scare, annoy, or even anger your audience. So how do you get it right?
By having a thorough understanding of your brand, event, and attendees. And by creating the kinds of experiences that feel authentic and organic to your event. To help you get started, here are 10 guerrilla marketing ideas to inspire your own.
Guerrilla marketing idea #1: Pop-up events
Temporary and unexpected, a pop-up event is a perfect blank slate. It can be anything from a one-day free program to a week-long brick and mortar store for an online shop. Low-cost and low-risk, pop-ups can help you generate awareness and introduce your event to potential attendees in person.
Location is key to a successful pop-up, research your target audience to find the best spot that will gain the most foot traffic. (Also, check to make sure you don’t need a permit before confirming the details.)
Guerrilla marketing idea #2: Temporary street art
Want to grab attention on the street? Partner with a local artist and create a wall mural or graffiti. With most guerrilla marketing ideas, timing and location are everything with temporary art. Your slice of concrete should be in a high traffic area where it will get seen by plenty of potential attendees. It should be photo-worthy and interesting, not just screaming a brand or advertising at passers by.
Pro tip: If you’re borrowing a building wall, sidewalk, or street, be sure to collaborate with your city or the business owner to avoid any fines.
Guerrilla marketing idea #3: Interactive ads
An interactive ad does something clever with the space available. For example, check out this two-page sun reflector from Hawaiian Tropics, or this billboard for Carlsberg featuring a built-in pump that dispenses free beer. These ads might cost a bit more than other ideas on this list, but the impact could be worth it.
Interactive ads engage the viewer beyond words and images, making it a unique way to get noticed. Aim to create something that goes viral, and stands out in a sea of words.
Guerrilla marketing idea #4: Temporary logo or uniform change
If your event is representing a brand or venue, you could change staff uniforms or your logo, either permanently or temporarily, to feature the colours, logo, or slogan of your event.
For example, when McDonald’s swapped signs across Australia to ‘Maccas’ in 2013 for Australia Day celebrations.
Guerrilla marketing idea #5: Activity vending machines
In the lead-up to the 2013 Winter Olympics in Sochi, the Russian Olympic Committee installed a Moscow ticket machine that let public transport riders pay their fare with 30 squats. It was a huge success, with high levels of engagement off- and online.
Getting people involved with your brand in an experiential way is fun for event-goers, and boosts your brand by helping your event stay top of mind.
Guerrilla marketing idea #6: Props
Planting thematic props into an appropriate landscape can create mystery and get people talking, especially on social media. For example, in celebration of the 10th anniversary of Shark Week, The Discovery Channel left “shark-bitten,” branded surfboards on Australian beaches, which created plenty of buzz.
Guerrilla marketing idea #7: Skywriting or plane signage
Skywriting is a gutsy way to get your brand in front of the right audience, allowing you to get your message in the sky — even at a competitor’s event, like Zoho CRM at Dreamforce 2016 in San Francisco.
Keep in mind that skywriting or signage on planes only lasts for a short period of time and your target audience must be outside to see it (although any social buzz will help spread the word).
Guerrilla marketing idea #8: Geofilters
Geofilters are illustrations or “filters” for Snapchat and Instagram photos that you can only use within specific geographies. Most cities have geofilters, and Snapchat also creates seasonal geofilters for cultural events. You can even create your own in support of your event.
Taco Bell used a custom, on-demand Geofilter to promote the launch of their Quesalupa. At the launch party, attendees were then able to use the custom geofilter to share their experience with their followers.
Guerrilla marketing idea #9: Stickers
Stickers are an inexpensive and easy way to get your brand out there. You can use them on store windows, public transportation, bus shelters, and inside elevators. You can use large stickers to surprise your intended audience, like this giant moustache on the Spirit Of Tasmania, giving the Movember charity promotion with a sense of humour.
Guerrilla marketing idea #10: Hands-on art installations
Interactive art installations are conversation starters, no doubt. They engage the viewer through an action of some kind, and make the experience personal and memorable. Interactive art installations helps you make deeper emotional connections with your target audience.
Absolut Vodka created a sculpture with their liquor bottles that fans could put their finger on, and would light up with the beat of their heart.
Building out the rest of your marketing strategy
Guerrilla marketing on its own isn’t enough to sell out your event, but it helps. For more marketing techniques, check out this comprehensive guide to marketing and promotion for events. Or, if you’re looking to elevate a corporate brand with events, check out Events as a Marketing Tool: A Guide for Corporate Brands.