9 Steps for Designing Guerilla Marketing Campaigns for Event Planners

Visit Britain Giant SuitcaseGuerilla marketing, which was introduced by Jay Conrad Levinson in 1983 in his book with the same name, is popular in the retail and luxury sectors. It has been making inroads in destination marketing and hospitality and it has great possibilities for the events industry.

What is Guerilla Marketing? Priscilla Dominguez of Creative Guerilla Marketing captured the essence of this "out of the box" marketing approach:

"Guerilla Marketing is an alternate and unconventional form of advertising that combines the elements of shock, involvement, and unconventional wrapped up with a strategic intent."

Event planning firms and independent meeting planners who are interested in using guerilla marketing to promote their own services and events should keep a number of strategies in mind.

  1. Set very clear objectives.
    Strategic intent and the action you want people to take is a key success factor for any guerilla marketing initiative.
    Do you want people to:
    • visit your website?
    • purchase a ticket?
    • download your app?
    • provide a business card to receive an e-mail, catalogue, or brochure
  2. Select your target market.
    • Is this a B2B or B2C campaign?
    • Who is the decision maker?
  3. Determine when and where you can connect with your audience.
    It's most cost effective to select a location where members of your target already gather in groups. Professional associations, conferences, trade shows, and even workshops geared towards your target audience and demographic are great bets
  4. Get professional advice and plan the campaign thoroughly.
    Guerilla marketing may seem impromptu but, when it's effective, it's the result of carefully crafted strategy and tactics
  5. Scale the campaign based on your objectives and budget.
    Perhaps a public campaign would be cost prohibitive but a campaign at a conference, in the lobby of an office building or as part of an event that is already taking place may be viable. There are smaller pop-up event venues and units that can work well for smaller campaigns.
  6. Think of an issue or challenge that your product or service will solve for members of your target market.
    Come up with an object, metaphor or theme that represents that issue and build the campaign around it.

Giant Stress BallJamaica Tourist Board's World's Largest Stress Ball

Jamaica Tourist Board (JTB) held a 12-hour launch of its Get All Right campaign by unveiling the world's largest stress ball at Times Square.

One of the reasons people travel is to get relief from stress. The 24-ft. stress ball was a gift to the people of New York from one of the world's happiest countries (based on research).

There were reggae performances and give-aways, including mini-stress balls.

  1. Integrate guerilla marketing with your other marketing and communication efforts.
    For the Get All Right campaign, tweeps who tweeted with the #GetAllRight hashtag were entered into a draw to win a trip to Jamaica.
  1. Avoid tunnel vision. Get inspiration fro other industries and sectors.
    One of the main aims of guerilla marketing is to stand out from the crowd. If you just replicate what other event planners are doing, you'll never stand out.

Here are some examples of a successful guerilla marketing campaign from another industry.

Coca Cola Happiness Machine

This clever campaign, for which Coca Cola won a prestigious CLIO Gold Interactive Award, has been used at various locations. The whole thing was video taped when it was launched and uploaded to YouTube where the video has gone viral with over 6 million hits. Similar to the JTB campaign, it associates Coke with happiness.

Here are examples of guerilla marketing in travel, tourism, and events.

BritishAirways & Visit Airways Giant Suitcase in Moscow

Place a giant suitcase in the middle of a shopping mall. Add the element of surprise. Here is what happens:

Perth Jazz Festival Pop up Performance

This pop-up performance on April 23 promoted the festival that took place from May 9 - 11:

For more ideas, also read Destination Marketing: Marvellous Marketing Ideas from Tourist BoardsDestination Marketing: Brand Jamaica Leverages Olympics Success, Pop up Events - A Hot Marketing Trend, and 9 Creative Marketing Events 

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