Guerrilla marketing is one of those ideas that gets thrown around a lot — but do you really know what it means?
Yarn bombing a statue to get publicity for a crochet club, a game of flag football in the middle of a farmers market to get the word out about a neighborhood league, and a pop-up candle making stand on a busy street to let people know there’s a new candle shop in town — these are all forms of guerrilla marketing.
In a nutshell, think low-cost strategy, unconventional means, used in a small (localized) way that draws attention to a product or service. The term comes from guerrilla warfare, a way of fighting with tactics that surprised the enemy.
At first these techniques might’ve just been adopted by small businesses who just didn’t have the cash for big dollar campaigns. Now, though, big business is cashing in — they’ve seen how successful guerrilla marketing can be. It is a way to cut through the clutter of billboards, television commercials, newspaper ads and (now) social sponsored posts.
Instead of relying on an expensive marketing campaign, you can use your imagination to come up with something unique and thought-provoking to create some buzz about you and your music. So where do you start? Utilize the characteristic that naturally sets artists apart from corporate — creativity!
The first step is to figure out your point of differentiation. Find something about your music or your brand that is original, then build from it. Here are a few rudimentary types of guerrilla marketing.
- Empty street corner? Looks like it’s your lucky day: here’s a chance for you to take this space and make it your own! Don’t just use it as a busking location, be creative and think of a way to capture people’s attention with more than just a song. Get them to stop and then they can enjoy your tunes.
- Maybe you need to move some merch — head to a trendy or well-trafficked part of town and set up a small display. You can have someone watch the goods while you walk around creating personalized songs for passerby. Who knows, it could be the hook to draw them into your work.
- Get a group of your fans together and create a flash mob dance to your music, then perform it in a public area to promote your sound. It’ll be even better (and have viral potential) if you get a good quality video.
Urban Art/Street Propaganda
- Do you have a logo or symbol that your music is known for? Start integrating that image around your city, in stickers or chalk art — no need to vandalize or be destructive — get creative and place it where it will be noticed.
- Tactical urbanism is all about being the change, doing what needs to be done without official clearance. One of the ways that many neighborhoods are trying to rehabilitate themselves is to throw block parties with food, music and other entertainment. Here’s your chance to grow your local fan base by becoming involved and offering your services.
- In Memphis alone this has been successful at Broad Avenue, Tennessee Brewery Untapped and in the Crosstown area. Stay informed about your city and use tactical urbanism to boost your image and to sell merchandise.
The beauty of guerrilla marketing is that you can use it anyway that you need. These are only ideas, the starting point from which you can create your own campaign! Sit down with a pencil and pad of paper and just see what bubbles up. But remember, like any other marketing tool, it’s not one-size-fits-all. Just because a country band can do it does not mean that a metal band can pull the same move. Put your heart (and your brand) into whatever you do.