This article offers a round-up of guerilla marketing ideas for South African startups. Innovative thinking, combined with a bit of daring, can result in marketing that’s highly effective and inexpensive.
Modern “guerilla marketing” isn’t just about billboards, although these can be surprisingly effective. It can happen online too.
Examples of creative guerrilla marketing campaigns in South Africa
These examples aren’t from startups but they demonstrate how creative marketing can get.
M-Net’s live Survivor billboard successfully paired the power of social media with real-time activation and audience participation. The campaign reached 2,87 million South Africans and generated 2,000 new Facebook fans in just 48 hours.
British American Tobacco took the disruptive approach in highlighting the negative impact illegal cigarettes have on social development. Billboards, featuring a school, hospital and low-income houses, and backed by real braziers, flames and smoke, grabbed the attention of passersby.
Similarly, mystery and intrigue are not misplaced, as Jeep’s #UnleashRenegade campaign proved. It pulled audience participation, celebrity influencers and hype together, using challenges, videos, radio and the deployment of vehicle-sized wooden crates to local airports.
Guerrilla marketing ideas for small businesses
Here are 10 easy ways to engage audiences, attract new customers and boost your brand.
1. Give away free merchandise
Everybody wants a little something for nothing, whether it’s free shipping, discounted deals or complimentary cash. Incentivising new customers to purchase products or services may seem counter-intuitive but it generates interest and gets people talking face-to-face and on social media.
Daily deals site OneDayOnly occasionally offers cash vouchers, targeting first-time buyers, on its Facebook page. R50 here and there is nothing compared to the kind of outlay required for a conventional marketing campaign.
2. Take the product to the people
Use the urban environment to showcase products or services. Pop-up stores, food trucks and vending machines in high-traffic areas are a great way to expose a brand.
In Cape Town, local coffee baristas are doing a roaring trade selling lattes and cappuccinos from mobile units in Newlands Forest, along the beachfronts and outside churches, schools and offices.
3. Encourage audience participation
The use of a flash mob is a creative, entertaining and highly effective way to turn heads. Any method that promotes audience participation is a winner.
The impact is even greater when dedicated spaces are created to encourage individual involvement in an activity or event.
In a recent campaign for Labello lip balm, stickers, featuring the words “kissing point”, were placed on platform floors to indicate where lovers could say goodbye. Needless to say, audience participation was excellent.
4. Tie the product to a social cause
Create a way for customers to use your product for social good.
In Brazil, a local brewing company installed temporary turnstiles at railway stations over the Rio Carnival. People “paid” for train rides by scanning their empty beer cans at the station. That way, revellers were kept off the roads and beer cans were safely disposed of and recycled.
5. Be your product’s biggest user
A limited user base is restrictive to growth. By generating engaging content on a website or social media platform or consistently using what you’re selling in public, you can ignite interest and start conversations.
6. Make people laugh
Try to add fun to marketing, especially digital marketing, which offers more freedom of expression and reach. Ideally, you want audiences to enjoy engaging with your brand.
When you make people laugh, you create a memorable moment. This is almost always shared on social media. Nando’s is the best proponent of comedic marketing in South Africa.
What we offer at The Workspace
At The Workspace, we offer the type of work environment where guerrilla marketing ideas for your startup can flourish!
We provide affordable, fully serviced offices and coworking on flexible terms – an affordable alternative to traditional workspace. All our members have access to meeting rooms, boardrooms and a range of business services.