Skip to main content

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.

Popular posts from this blog

Stranded by Uber's dysfunctional customer service

I was getting ready for my trip to India and my friend recommended that I download a couple apps for our trip, including Ola (a local Bangalore taxi company) and Uber. No worries, I thought. I was one step ahead of her having downloaded Uber for when in New York, as we were spending a few days there. I was quite excited to use the app considering the fact that there was a $20 credit sign-up bonus promotion going on. It seemed as though everything was falling into place as I was ready for our big adventure. I didn't bother with Lyft or the other competitors, knowing I had the Uber app on my phone and assuming since it's 2017, and a very popular option, it's going to work great. This as it turned out, would be a huge mistake that resulted in us taking the public bus at the airport.

What happened? Well, the first time I used the app, it immediately banned me. Thankfully, Bangalore has thousands of rickshaws that got me to and from our destinations. Had I downloaded Ola ahead …

Kuwait Airways, a case study.

I'll admit, I didn't plan on writing about Kuwait Airways' public relations. Initially, I reached out to them as preparation for a series of articles on India I was writing for another publication. My plan was to informally include the airline and to obtain press materials to accurately present the organization in the travel series. However, soon I found myself down the rabbit hole and into a communications Wonderland, vacant of actual outreach. The Mad-hatter experience felt like an interesting case-study which I felt was worth posting online. An experience that was both pleasantly surprising and completely frustrating from a PR perspective.
A few weeks ago, I needed to book the flight for an article I was writing on India. I came across Kuwait Airways who was offering idyllic rates on their fares from New York to Bangalore India. Working freelance, I'm always trying to keep costs down. The airline has a rocky reputation online with regards to their aging fleet prior…

United Airlines failing in PR after Dragging Screaming Doctor off Plane

Having just flown with United last week and having flown millions of miles with the airline, I'll admit that the recent video of an Asian medical doctor being dragged off the airplane (UAL 3411) screaming seemed excruciating from a PR perspective. The airline has always been good to me, but the last 72 hours has me a little bit grateful, my next flight, in about a week or so, is on American.

Making matters worse is that the incident has become the mockery of memes on Facebook and social media like this:

United Airlines Training Video
It's bad when it your crisis becomes news, it's another thing when you become the laughing stock of the internet (trending as #NewUnitedAirlinesMottos) It's happened before when United smashed the guitar of a famous musician. Then there's the suggestion that Twitter is proactively deleting posts. Meaning, the company is paying a staff of their own (or using automated software) to likely report and remove tweets as against Twitter'…