Chances are, when you first hear the words guerrilla marketing ,one of two things come to mind:
– A large King Kongish primate who has made himself available to hire for promotional purposes (nope, not gorilla marketing) or…
– A communist military activist armed with automated weapons and camouflage bandannas, but only on the weekends. During the week maybe he too, offers marketing services.
Fortunately, however, guerrilla marketing is far more likely than either of those things to bring a great benefit to your life and business. It’s also possibly less dangerous (particularly if your objective is marijuana marketing).
What is guerrilla marketing?
The concept of guerrilla marketing is interesting because its definition and context seems to change dramatically from one resource to another. For example, Entrepreneur.com’s definition focuses on the low cost, practical sense of the term and further explains that telephone and email marketing are the most effective forms. In looking deeper into the subject, I discovered that these are examples but they are not comprehensive in the sense of maximizing brand exposure.
You will find in the ideas shown below that maximum exposure is more likely to be obtained with a little creativity and thinking outside of the box. This is not to say that email marketing, digital marketing and good old fashioned phone calls are not effective and necessary, because they definitely are – likely more-so than some of the examples shown below. The most comprehensive definition I have found actually comes from Google:
guer·ril·la mar·ket·ing noun
innovative, unconventional, and low-cost marketing techniques aimed at obtaining maximum exposure for a product.
How are the most effective guerrilla marketing ideas created?
In order to create the most effective guerrilla marketing ideas, pay close attention to your immediate resources as well as the various objectives of the products or services you are promoting. There is no ‘set in stone’ method of creating highly effective guerrilla marketing ideas, and that is what makes the concept special.
Whether you are a business owner or a marketing professional, take some time to evaluate each of the concepts presented. From vape shop marketing concepts to bar marketing ideas, the guerrilla marketing ideas mentioned here can definitely be useful as a guide to creating your own. Pay attention to the actual thought process which took place in the creation of the ideas – from the standpoint of the person who created the campaign. You will begin to recognize the overall thought process involved in creating these campaigns has some consistency in each different application. Once you have become familiar with that thought process, it will be easier for you to identify real world opportunities in which these concepts can help you grow your business.
As you will see below, there are many ways of going about maximizing a brand’s exposure. The common theme among most of them however, is that of staying outside of the box (literally, in many cases) to provide a new perspective on something which is found in every day life. The most effective guerrilla marketing techniques are those which blur the lines between advertising and reality for the audience and transform advertising efforts which are typically seen as an annoyance to the public, into humorous, enjoyable experiences .
In making your target market feel as if they have entered an alternate dimension, you are creating an unforgettable experience which will naturally be shared across social media outlets and with the friends and family of those who get to experience the advertising first hand. For marketing professionals, this viral effect is the goal of all marketing efforts and guerrilla marketing can be the answer. I have compiled the examples below as a means of giving you some idea and inspiration in creating your next big guerrilla marketing campaign. Be sure to pay close attention to the thought processes behind these ideas as they may help you formulate concepts for your business.
The flyers below are awesome examples of low cost (relatively speaking), highly effective guerilla marketing. It is nice to get some inspiration from these examples which remind us that standard flyers do not have to annoy people in the process of seeing or finding them. Creating humor and originality are essential aspects of the guerilla’s flyer creation strategy.
Awesome example of taking the annoying ‘flyer in the windshield’ concept to an entirely new level.
Ballet classes, anybody?
Sticker bombs are likely one of the most common, cost effective guerrilla marketing ideas out there but as Golden Ale and Lay’s show us below, sticker bombing does not always have to come across as trashy or annoying. The humor and surprise factor bring a new dimension to sticker bombing which is much more effective than putting a logo on sticky paper and littering the city.
I had personally never heard of Golden Ale before but now I have. That is how you know this broken urinal campaign worked exceptionally well. If you are looking into doing your own sticker bomb campaign, be sure to comply with your local laws and/or establishment rules and be mindful of the environment in the process. Failure to do this will make your brand look highly unfavorable.
This concept for Lay’s potato chips was definitely ‘outside of the box.’ This is a very clever example of surrealism mixed with absolute awesome creativity.
Street & Sidewalk Brilliance
Finding ways to create new meanings and purpose to every day fixtures on the sidewalk or even in the road can be an excellent place to start in creating a guerrilla marketing campaign. Some of these concepts are still even a little easier on the budget than some of the ideas included further below.
How could you possibly not want a cup of Folgers after you see a city full of steaming Folgers manhole covers around the city?Another awesome example of creating a new perspective around an every day item in the name of highly effective branding.
Street Knobs… Durex Knobs.
“Let me out of here!” Amnesty International did a great job of getting their point across by re-creating the purpose of this street drain. Is that a real person in there?!
It’s true though! Jeeps can park anywhere. Might as well show people a few examples around the city.
As you can see, a guerrilla’s primary objective in creating a highly effective guerrilla marketing tactic should be to blur the lines of reality for the targeted audience. Any time you can alter the audience’s life experience or give them a new perspective as a result of them seeing your campaign, you know you are on the right track and have created something which has potential to be highly effective. The campaigns are not only effective because of the people who will directly see them but also because of how many people will voluntarily share the images on their social media pages, Reddit, etc…
Somebody at Coops Paints deserves two thumbs up for this spilled paint bucket with paint coming out of the 2D image. This is particularly effective due to how it created a 3D effect coming from the 2D image. Covering the vehicles was also a nice touch.
The Honda Cereal Box Campaign… How much better would a Cracker Jack’s surprise be if a Honda came out?
You can never go wrong having an amazing artist on hand to make it look like there is a person stuck somewhere in the ground, especially if you are promoting a product or service which gets people ‘un-stuck’ our ‘out of a hole’ literally or metaphorically.
Lait… It does a body good. As long as it’s giant sized carton doesn’t spill on your head while you’re waiting at the bus stop.
Nice work, Mini-Coop. Not everybody will have the resources to convert the airports conveyor belt into an advertisement but when you make a large investment in the banner space above, I am sure the airport becomes negotiable.
“Somebody get that neglected child out from behind that…. Oh wait, nevermind. Dangit.” Above is another great example of creating the illusion that a person in in a very inconvenient situation, to effectively get a point across. People always tend to recognize humans in situations so any time you can create concepts which involve a human figure or realistic artist replica, you may be on to something special.
Display and Billboard Advertising
Some of the ideas below overlap with the surrealism category but continue to provide more examples of highly effective guerrilla marketing strategies which surely achieved the goals they were created to achieve. The key again here is changing the audience’s reality or their perspective on an item in order to create something amazing (and in many cases hilarious, like the free air guitars).
I find 96.3 Rock Radio’s Free Air Guitar advertisement to still be one of the most clever guerilla marketing ideas I have seen. This is not only because the concept works well with the rock radio station but also because the low cost involved. This advertisement also reminds us that the more clever the guerilla marketing idea, the less likely you will have resistance in anybody insisting that it gets taken down.
The marketing brain behind Mondo Pasta’s rope to noodle perspective transformation was on his or her A-Game when this idea came about. Creating these face displays for the sides of the boats was likely not cheap but you can be sure that everybody who sees these boats will not forget about Mondo Pasta’s awesome guerrilla tactics. I am sure Mondo Pasta found the investment to create an extraordinary ROI.
The Economist’s motion sensor activated light-bulb is an excellent example of a very simple, yet highly effective guerrilla marketing concept. The lit bulb indirectly portrays the notion that people who read the Economist have their light bulb turned on, but they did it in a way that did not require any words other than The Economist.
Creating a new perspective for everyday objects is one thing but this bus stop ad for NYC Taxi goes to show how creating a new meaning to an every day gesture such as raising a hand can also be effective. This is another great example of a very clever, cost effective guerrilla marketing idea.
‘Mapvertisements’ and Wide Area Ground Displays
This is where the expense and resource availability may start to become a hurdle for many guerrillas looking to create new ideas for their businesses or their client’s. Creating advertisements which can only be seen from airplanes are cool to look at pictures of and possible for the rare occasion you catch a glimpse of one from an airplane or on Google earth, but other than that, I assume there is not a significant amount of visibility compared to the other forms of guerrilla marketing mentioned. Not to say that you shouldn’t pursue this type of advertising, but I can only imagine that they are actually viewed by significantly less people and require a fairly significant marketing budget.
On the other hand, the Frontline display shown below, which makes people seem to be the fleas on the dog, is purely genius.
This coca cola ad was carved into the side of this dirt hill and will likely be seen by far less people than many of the other ads discussed so far. This does not mean this type of advertising is ineffective for Coca-Cola, however. The objective of guerrilla marketing is to keep the brand on your audience’s mind and by doing indiscreet things like this they are actually doing this very effectively, but almost in a more subliminal manner which the intended audience will likely not consciously even think about.
Frontline did an excellent job in implementing this highly effective creative marketing tactic in what appears to be a shopping mall. Creating the appearance that humans are fleas is a funny and also effective strategy which has been properly executed here.
Papa John’s went all-out with this mapvertisement display which can only be seen from an airplane or satellite. It is pretty awesome to think about the planning which this type of project involved however, it must also be difficult to measure the effectiveness of the advertisement. I honestly think somebody just did it for fun however, I am sharing it so it is definitely serving its purpose.
The mapvertisement above, from KFC and shown on a Google Earth image, is another example of a method which a food company has used to reach out to the public. Again, I don’t know that these are the most effective ideas for making the best use of a creative marketing budget however, when you have the resources that Coca-Cola, Papa John’s and KFC have – you might as well!
Food services are somewhat questionable in terms of their potential to benefit from mapvertisements however, airlines are a different store. In the mapvertisement image shown above a SwissAir advertisement is available in plain sight. I can see this being tremendously effective if it were placed in an area with high air traffic (such as close to an international airport). I can imagine that keeping up with this mapvertisement is a full time job but I am sure they know what they are doing or possibly this was just a temporary setup for photographs.
When in Doubt, Prank Somebody and Make a Commercial Out of It
Not everybody will have the resources to create a retractable floor or a faux news station to broadcast in the airport but these ideas are still valid for entertainment’s sake, if nothing else. In diving into the hilarious world of practical joke guerrilla marketing campaigns, you will notice a non-US trend involved, especially in the more effective campaigns such as the examples shown below. One can assume this is likely because of the tendency for everybody in the US to feel the need to immediately file lawsuits because of the permanent emotional distress which was violently inflicted upon them as a result of the practical jokes involved. Then again, I’m sure the examples shown below are easier to watch than they would be as the target.
North Face Korea – ‘Never Stop Exploring’ Campaign
In this guerilla marketing campaign, a retractable floor was built into the new North Face building and set up to retract into the walls as customers were shopping. The results are hilarious and the budget was obviously not much of an issue for this. Then again, it does help when you just happen to be building a rock climbing facility inside of your newly constructed building.
Nivea Airport Prank – Stress Test Commercial
For the new Nivea Stress Protect Deodorant brand, the company went through some pretty amazing hoops to take over the airport news broadcast and to produce fake newspaper articles in an effort to stress out the victims of the prank.
LG TV 84 – Asteroid Prank
This one is pretty awesome and definitely clarifies the concept of why these companies go through the great lengths that they do in executing these guerilla marketing tactics on non-US soil. “LOL.”
Hopefully these ideas have given you some inspiration to create guerrilla marketing tactics which can be used to grow your own business, or at least gave you some laughter. If you are looking for marketing ideas for your own business be sure to contact me, request a free digital marketing report and/or learn more about me. The digital marketing report provides me with the opportunity to evaluate your business and situation, allowing me to create and ultimately propose solutions to maximize your business exposure, streamline your workflow and/or simplify your life. Whether you are looking for a web designer, digital marketing solutions specialist or email marketing services, I can help create powerful campaigns to grow your business and online visibility.
In recent weeks I have had several discussions with my clients who own ecig retail and wholesale businesses regarding a particular challenge. Their vapor customers have begun to use their establishments as a ‘window shopping’ resource where they identify the devices they would like to have, then ultimately end up purchasing from somewhere else (usually online). Their high performance mod sales are down and uncertainty has begun to set in. Fortunately there are specific things which can be done to address this issue which can be effective for retailers as well as wholesalers.
Over the past few years I have had the opportunity to work with many vapor industry business owners across the country, some of which have created tremendously successful businesses and others which have struggled to keep their doors open. As the business development manager for a vapor hardware distribution company, I had the opportunity to collaborate with the owners of these businesses on a daily basis. In that role I began to notice some commonalities among the most successful of the bunch and now that I work with many of these same companies in a somewhat different capacity, the traits which the most successful owners have in common have begun to stand out.
One of these traits which relates particularly to declining high performance mod / hardware sales, is having the ability to identify market trends and adapt accordingly. In fact, I have found the most successful tend to be the ones who identify market trends which most vapor industry business owners would see as negative and are able to reframe these ideas in ways which are beneficial to their business. In recent weeks I have had several discussions with my vapor industry clients regarding decreases in high performance mod sales and felt this would be a good opportunity to offer some suggestions to those having the same experience. Before I get into that, it is important to consider the bigger picture of what is actually taking place.
High Performance Device Trends
I departed from the vapor hardware distribution business to develop FogPusher nearly one year ago. At that time the 70w iSticks were just coming to market and that was the most powerful device of its size available at that time. The industry has obviously been moving towards smaller, more powerful devices however, I’m not certain that even five years ago anybody could have predicted that 200w devices of that same size or that single 18650 devices which output over 100 watts would be available now. Improvements in battery and circuit technology have enabled the development of some of these tiny, powerful devices which are available today yet would have been considered hocus pocus only a few years ago. Since the technology required to develop these devices is still fairly new and the manufacturers who have access to it are still somewhat limited, the devices cost more. They are more expensive to manufacture.
Why is this important? Because every vapor customer, whether they are a seasoned vaping professionals or just getting started, want the best value they can afford when purchasing a new mod and the most valuable devices are expensive. Your customers, whether retailers or end-users, know there are online resources where they can find these products for less than what you can sell them for and likely close to what you can buy them for. In making a strictly dollar-for-dollar comparison it is impossible for you to compete. So is it time to pack up shop and find a new business? Not for most. Regardless of whether you are a retailer or wholesaler, you are not going to be the cheapest in the entire world. You CAN however, identify means of providing value in ways which justify your customer’s decision to purchase from you.
Additionally, consider what has happened in the computer business over the past 50 years. Computers which used to take up entire rooms have now been far surpassed in power, memory and everything else, by mobile phones and these devices cost a very small fraction of what they previously did. In
The Vapor Industry is Changing and You Must Adapt: Survival of the Fittest
For many of my clients in the vapor industry, mod sales seem to have taken a sudden dip – more so in recent months than ever before. Some of them own vape shops, wholesale operations and others have tobacco, cigar shops and even convenience stores which also carry hardware. Luckily, there are things you can do about the situation. First it is important to realize – and get very clear about – the fact that the industry is changing and now may be the right time to reconsider your business model and overall strategy, particularly in regard to high end mod sales.
Converting High Performance Mod Window Shoppers
Identify and clarify your value proposition.
What value can you offer to the customer that online vendors are unable to offer or that will be more convenient for the customer? Make sure this is clear when customers come in to look at higher end mods.
Do you offer in-store exchanges? Returns? Additional services outside of strictly selling them the hardware product? Assume that the customer is going to look up online prices immediately after leaving your store. If they are genuinely interested and do not buy it then, you can pretty much guarantee that they will anyway. Can you blame them though? If a retail customer is shopping a $100+ device and they can save $50 buying online and cannot justify the additional expense with anything they are aware you are offering, it probably doesn’t make sense for them NOT to take the time to find the better deal. Make sure your added-value is very clear when customers are shopping.
For wholesalers, the idea is basically the same. Shortly after I started working in the vapor hardware wholesale business I realized that my literal objective was to increase revenue but the most effective way to do that was to help my retail business customers grow their business. This was one of the strategies which I learned as a sales manager in the high end building material manufacturing industry which translated very nicely into the vapor industry. Once I made it a point to go out of my way to help my customers grow their business, the entire game changed. If you are in the vapor wholesale business, pay attention to the strategies your most successful customers are using and use your observation to help the retailers who need it. Your product might be hardware or juice but your real value is found in the resources you have available to you which you can use to help your customers grow their businesses.
If the situation is severe, make your profit on eLiquid instead.
This one might suck to think about but if your higher end mod sales have suddenly taken a 50% or more plunge, it may be time to start thinking about including eliquid with a full price purchase of your higher end mods. Make the same amount of profit but include something additional with the purchase.
Let’s say, if you are a retailer and have purchased devices which cost $65 each with shipping and you have them for sale for $110. $55 profit per device. You sell 30ml eLiquid bottles with a $15 profit per bottle. Maybe include 3-4 30ml bottles with the full price purchase. You’re likely saying to yourself, “I would rather not give away my mods at cost” and I certainly concur. However, if you are one of the businesses which is seeing their customers window shop then buy online, what is the alternative?
If your retail business has seen a tremendous drop in mod sales and you do not make a change to adapt to your customer’s online buying habits, you are going to get stuck with soon to be outdated devices and may not even get the eLiquid sale. This way you get both sales, make some profit and retain a customer who will likely recommend your business and keep coming back.
If you are in this situation and feel this might be the right solution for you, try it for a day and see what happens. Better yet, try it with a single customer. The great thing about all of this is that none of it has to be set in stone. See how it works and go from there. Chances are, as technology continues to improve and devices become more readily available manufacturer-direct, you will soon make the majority of your profit on eliquid sales anyway, if you are not already. It may be time to start preparing.
Find ways to get rid of any high performance mods which are even slightly outdated, ideally in ways that will help you sell more eliquid.
This is particularly important but if you have been fortunate enough to not get stuck with outdated devices then this article is likely not of much use to you anyway. Most retailers and wholesalers seem to have an inventory of mechanical mods they wish they could give away to make more room. If you have an abundance of devices which were big in 2014, it may be time to start looking at ways to use them to bring more traffic to your shop via social media contests, giveaways, etc…
I have seen the consequences of having an enormous inventory of outdated product in stock and it gave me a new perspective on ‘breaking even’ or taking a slight loss on these products (If you still have an abundance of Kanger Protank II’s and III’s or first generation mechanical mods in stock, you likely know exactly what I mean). There IS something worse than breaking even or taking a slight loss and it’s called never being able to sell your inventory, even if you started donating it.
If you can find ways to stimulate traffic or sell more juice using your outdated inventory, do it while you still can. If you don’t you may find yourself calling Salvation Army to inquire on vape hardware donation tax write-offs. I have actually never personally tried this but if you have, let me know how that worked out. I have literally researched everything from scrapping the materials used to make outdated products to offering them to customers for free. There are some things in this world which people do not want even if you give it to them for free. I advise against letting outdated inventory reach that point if you can avoid it.
Set up a game plan to check and re-check your eliquid and hardware suppliers. Make sure you are selling product that people want or even better, product they don’t know they want yet.
It might seem like a no brainer but you might also be surprised. The industry is full of innovation these days and whether you manufacture your own eliquid or resell other brands, you want to make sure you are going about it in the most effective manner possible, while providing your customers with the best value for their money.
Vapers are typically technologically inclined individuals and many of them spend their free time on forums or blogs discussing the latest in eliquid and mod technology. You definitely want to make sure you are offering the latest and greatest (within reasonable limits). It can be expensive and difficult to keep up with the latest mods but as long as you have a few really awesome products to choose from, this may not even be as important as the juice is. Make sure your juice is on point.
This article is not intended to present a doom and gloom situation but rather to offer means of going about solving issues which several of my customers seem to be experiencing. I have worked in the vapor industry for the last few years and many of my SEO / online marketing / web design clients consist of vape shop and wholesale owners. Since I work with businesses in the vapor industry from across the country, I also have many valuable contacts which may be of value to your business as well.
To learn more about what I can do for your business, please request a free digital marketing report or contact me and I am more than happy to talk with you about specific things we can do to increase traffic to your business and/or help it run more efficiently.