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Guerrilla Marketing in a Millennial World

Guerrilla Marketing
Millennials are all about digital media. Companies are clamoring for their piece of the pie on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter. However, sometimes what you need is a little bit of guerrilla marketing. Now, not every PR-pro has the grit or the intuition for this sort of thinking outside the box, but I believe those who do have a distinct advantage to their counterparts who only work in the digital or traditional medium.

Some of the best campaigns have been grassroots movements that utilize traffic patterns or public spaces to advertise their message. Some of the first of these clever campaigns simply used bed sheets hung at dawn on overpasses to catch the L.A. traffic rush that often sees hundreds of thousands of commuters.

A few years ago, I served as editor and chief on a local forum that used guerrilla marketing techniques to reach our audience. One of these techniques was borrowed from a hobby called Car Casting whereby you basically created a tiny pirate radio station. It involved modifying a small FM transmitter that you could buy at any electronics store to broadcast your I-pod on to your car radio. I started looking a local laws to make sure I knew I was in compliance with the FCC (the signal had to be under 200 feet) and then I went to work soldering a much larger antenna and power source to the electronics. I was able to gain about 30% more range with a device that could fit in my pocket.

The result was I now had a device that could broadcast to the area around me. Effectively, with less than $50 in parts I could now broadcast whatever message I like to other cars, in a place of business or at sporting events. Today one could even mount the transmitter to a drone or a nearby building to gain further exposure.

Imagine sitting at a long red light in your car. Attached to the telephone pole is a cardboard sign that says, "Tune to 88.5 or Else!" (We can come up with the hook later). Curiosity gets the best of you and you do. On that same telephone pole is such a radio transmitter operated on a few batteries, broadcasting whatever message you want. Now imagine a very busy intersection and the thousands of people being reached inside their cars. That's pretty effective outreach.

Today, it's even easier as you can purchase ready made FM transmitters for Christmas displays.It's all completely legal too, as long as you don't broadcast too far.

This isn't unheard of either. Companies today are tying into technology such as wifi and celluar signals, especially at events gathering data and promoting their messages. That free-wifi you just connected to is a perfect opportunity for people like myself to advertise to you on a splash page and/or track your web surfing habits. Just remember that the next time you walk into Walmart (or the London Underground for my British audience) and agree to their terms of service for their wifi, that this is why they're doing it. It's a marketing platform that is also driving huge amounts of data for them to use in future marketing efforts.

While there's always a place for direct relationships on social media, sometimes what gives a campaign a creative advantage is the ability to think outside the box and build a broader set of tools where you're in control of the data instead of these large social media companies.


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