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Guerrilla marketing

What’s the buzz on this hot tactic?

“Guerrilla Marketing is an alternate and unconventional form of advertising that combines the elements of shock, involvement and unconventional wrapped up with a strategic intent” – Priscilla Dominguez

As creative mavens of the special events industry, people in our line of work are always looking for new marketing methods that will attract new clientele and help propel our businesses to the next level. Direct marketing, online marketing, traditional advertising…you have probably tried all of these in some means or another—but have you tried guerrilla marketing?

Firms large and small have used this exciting and innovative style of marketing in order to generate excitement and reel in new business. Click here for 122 examples of successful guerrilla marketing from around the globe!

What is guerrilla marketing?

First coined in 1984, the term ‘Guerrilla Marketing’ was introduced by Jay Conrad Levinson in the book of the same name. Broadly, the term refers to advertisement strategies that attempt to promote businesses in an innovative way while using only a small budget.

One cannot hear the word “guerrilla” without thinking of warfare, and this form of fighting is indeed the inspiration for the concept. Guerrilla fighters are often civilians, and they are usually dressed in plain clothes and loosely organized into a decentralized structure. They use these non-traditional warfare methods in order to fight against a larger and more organized army. Guerrilla warfare methods refer to a fighting style in which the smaller, less powerful group of soldier’s uses irregular tactics, such as ambush, elements of surprise, and sabotage in order to achieve success.

Applying principles of warfare to marketing—really?

It’s true! Much like guerrilla warfare, successful guerrilla marketing strategies attempt to use the element of surprise in order to shock, delight, and inspire clients and gain their business. This unconventional style is high energy, imaginative, and innovative, utilizing surprise to make a lasting impression and create a ton of buzz on social media. The shock and amazement is intended to affect the customer at a personal level and create a memory and emotional connection to the brand that they will never forget.

Why is this a good strategy for event planning?

At its best, guerrilla marketing attempts to connect with potential clients in an emotional and visceral way. The best events are creative, fun, and have an element of spontaneity—just like guerrilla marketing. This strategy is innovative and fresh, and can be a great way to surge past the (often dull) marketing of your competition. 

Tips for a guerrilla marketing campaign that will grab clients’ attention

Identify your target audience – Will your guerrilla marketing campaign target potential clients, existing customers, or your suppliers? Is it B2B or B2C? In addition, you should also think carefully about who will be making the ultimate decision (if you are targeting a company or larger firm).

Set a specific objective – In order for any marketing campaign to be effective, you must set clear objectives. Do you want people to visit your website, book an event, attend a trade show, or simply provide you with their business card? Each one of these objectives will be best served by using different strategies.

Select an appropriate tactic – Once you have identified your target, spend some time thinking about their demographic, age, industry and other factors that might determine the kind of experiential marketing that would best suit their personality.

Be creative – With guerrilla marketing, the sky is the limit. Think about ways that you could set yourself apart from your competition while at the same time staying true to your company and its unique brand. Identify a challenge that your potential clients might be facing, and showcase a creative and efficient solution.

Figure out where (and when) you can reach your target market – It is often more cost effective to launch your guerrilla marketing campaign in a location and at a time when your target audience has already gathered. An event that you host or at a donated gala that we all get roped in would be a good opportunity.

Seek expert advice – Guerrilla marketing is meant to look effortless and spontaneous, but the most effective campaigns have a lot of thought, time, planning, and effort involved.

Make sure your social media is involved – In order to ensure that your campaign has a ton of impact over time and across many demographics, introduce a specific hashtag that will help you compile mentions across different social media platforms.

By trying something new and by coloring outside the lines, you can really impress your clients, earn more business, and increase your bottom line.


Meryl Snow

Owner, Feastivities Events, Philadelphia, PA and Senior Consultant, Certified Catering Consultants

With nearly 30 years in the special event and catering industry, Meryl Snow is the co-founder of Feastivities Events and the creator of The Triangle Method.  As a Senior Consultant for Certified Catering Consultants, Meryl travels throughout North America training clients in the areas of sales, marketing, design and branding to help businesses get on their own path to success.She is the author of Booked It! and Cha-CHING!

Meryl Snow

Catersource Advisory Council Member

Founder of