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Guerrilla marketing in the B2B space: 4 ways to let your hair down and generate leads

Guerrilla marketing campaigns utilize innovative and unconventional strategies to push the bounds of possibility, convey a bold message and make a big impact on a small budget. Some take the form of publicity stunts, street pop-ups and nationwide “movements,” such as Domino’s “Paving for Pizza” campaign. Others may be more subtle in the form of innovative packaging or creative 404 error pages.

But guerrilla tactics are not just for B2C brands. Here are some creative ways you can add edge and audacity to your next B2B campaign.

Add a little spunk to the story

When your key stakeholders are C-level executives, as is common in B2B, it can be easy to fall back on creating marketing collateral that focuses on the “-alities” of your offerings: functionalities, technicalities, etc.

As with traditional campaigns, it’s still essential the overall campaign message strongly communicates competitive advantages, selling points and the business benefits of the product or service you’re marketing. But when you put a clever spin on the regular day-to-day, it proves you put in the extra energy to showcase your differentiators.

Salesforce is one B2B brand that harnessed the power of guerrilla tactics from the get-go, as it was a new service entering a crowded market. Shortly after the company was launched, they staged an event — hiring fake protestors and TV crews to disrupt a competitor’s user group conference. Not only was launch of Salesforce and its “End of Software” campaign a controversial move, but the mock protest resulted in a huge news story that was picked up by over 100 local and national media outlets. Salesforce quickly became the company to watch and PR Week later named the campaign the “Hi-Tech Campaign of the Year.” Within two weeks of the launch, nearly one thousand organizations signed up for the service.

Key takeaway: Creativity and experimentation are key to telling stories that surprise, intrigue and involve the audience in a meaningful way. It may take guts, but that’s what allows guerrilla campaigns to successfully cut through the noise. As we progress away from traditional media-based strategies, it’s time to find new ways to spice up your branding materials, customer experience and creative messaging. Nobody needs another branded pen.

Make your message memorable

Like warfare, guerrilla marketing techniques often rely heavily on an element of surprise. There is something to be said about the shock value of an all-out flash mob. It’s the wit and candor that goes into guerrilla displays that make them so appealing to the masses.

Granted, I’m not suggesting you round up the troops and take to the streets in full force right off the bat.

Start simple. Identify the biggest problem that your product or service solves at the most basic level. Then round up the troops to begin brainstorming some unconventional ways that you could communicate your solution to the public – preferably without words (because showing is usually better than telling). Make use of ideation tools and persona mapping to help kick off the conversation, and keep in mind – humor is almost always a good entry point.

Key takeaway: The random, silly thought that comes to you in the shower just might evolve into the idea that wins over the customer. When the “usual” shows up in an unexpected way, it sticks in our heads. Not only can this inspire brand loyalty built on familiarity and repetition, it could also push customers to recommend your brand the next time a colleague is in the market for one of your offerings. Long live word of mouth referrals!

Location, location, location

According to the Event Marketing 2019: Benchmarks and Trends Report, 84 percent of vice presidents and C-suite executives believe that in-person experiences are a crucial component of their company’s success. Additionally, 75 percent of content marketers believe live events are the most effective part of any marketing strategy.

A tradeshow or conference may provide an opportune moment to present your message and/or experience since you already have access to your target audience. But don’t let that be your only consideration. Meet your audience where they are and do something where they work or with an item they use on a daily basis.

Key takeaway: Understand your market. Think about the places, spaces and things that your audience interacts with every day. These insights will dictate where and how you’ll want to make your statement. Adding an element of audience participation will improve the entire customer experience, too.

​Mo’ money, mo’ problems

It’s a widely held view that large budget campaigns are more likely to outshine the others. I’m here to offer a few alternative truths to debunk that myth.

Guerrilla marketing is cheap to execute. The main idea behind the guerrilla approach is that originality and ingenuity beat out big budgets. The basic requirements are time, energy and imagination. Not money. For this reason, sales are not the primary metric to measure business success when it comes to this type of approach. Instead, profit and engagement rates may be more accurate forms of measurement.

Key takeaway: Bigger budgets don’t always translate to higher success rates. Using guerrilla marketing-inspired tactics will help you maximize budget while extending the life and relevancy of your campaigns, messaging and marketing collateral. Don’t underestimate the power of word of mouth and social media, that is how stories go viral and pique the interest of the media.

Guerrilla marketing doesn’t have to be strictly for B2C companies. These tactics can actually be easy to execute and incorporate into B2B campaigns, which is why you shouldn’t shy away from guerrilla-fying your messages. Find us on LinkedIn to let us know what guerrilla marketing tactics you’ve tried or think would be successful in this space.

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