How to measure the success of your guerrilla marketing campaign

29 Jun 2022  |  by Melanie Davis

7 min read

Although they’re not traditional, guerrilla marketing campaigns are highly effective. After all, when they’re executed correctly, they create cheap, unique, and memorable events that can help your company go viral.

But, what exactly is a guerrilla campaign, and how can it help your business? Let’s take a look.

What is a guerrilla marketing campaign?

Guerrilla marketing is a way of driving publicity and boosting brand awareness. It involves the use of unconventional marketing methods that evoke feelings of surprise, wonder, or shock.

The term itself has been used since the 1980s when it was first coined by business writer Jay Conrad Levinson. Of course, the world of marketing has been transformed since the 1980s, and marketing activities today look radically different than they did 40 years ago. However, today, guerrilla marketing activities are just as popular as ever.

In fact, over the years, several sub-categories of guerrilla marketing have emerged. These are:

Outdoor guerrilla marketing

Outdoor guerrilla marketing campaigns add something to a pre-existing urban environment. For example, as part of an outdoor guerrilla marketing campaign, something removable may be added to a statue, or temporary artwork may be added to a building or a footpath.

One great example of this was provided by the cleaning company Bounty, which installed life-sized messes throughout New York. The installations included a giant knocked-over coffee cup and a huge melting ice cream.

Indoor guerrilla marketing

This is similar to outdoor guerrilla marketing. Except, as the name suggests, indoor guerrilla marketing activities take place inside office buildings, shops, and university campus buildings.

A guerrilla marketing campaign like this was recently carried out by Frontline as an advert for the company’s flea and tick spray. The company filled the floors of large, public spaces with a photo of a dog scratching itself. When people on the upper floors looked down, the people on the ground looked like fleas.

Event ambush guerrilla marketing

These marketing campaigns leverage the audience at an event (like a concert or a football match) to promote a product or service in a noticeable way. This is usually done without the permission of the event sponsors.

One of the best examples of an event ambush guerrilla marketing campaign was the Fiji Water Girl at the Golden Globes in 2019. Stood strategically behind stars on the red carpet holding the brand’s water, it’s estimated that the Fiji Water Girl saved the company $18 million in advertising costs through the exposure generated. She also set social media ablaze, with the hashtag trending for days. 

Experimental guerrilla marketing

Experimental guerrilla marketing campaigns can take any of the above forms. However, they force participants to interact with the brand in some capacity.

Examples of experimental guerrilla marketing campaigns include Deadpool’s Tinder profile and UNICEF’s vending machines that sold dirty bottled water.

Other forms of guerrilla marketing

These are the main forms of guerrilla marketing. However, other forms are also commonly used. These include:

  • Viral marketing
  • Stealth marketing
  • Ambush marketing
  • Pop-up retail
  • Ambient marketing

The difficulties of measuring a guerrilla marketing campaign

By their very nature, guerrilla marketing campaigns are unconventional. Due to this, they are incredibly difficult to measure accurately. For instance, if your sales go up, how can you tell this happened as a result of your guerrilla marketing campaign, rather than one of your other ongoing marketing strategies? 

Knowing which of your marketing activities is succeeding and providing the best ROI is incredibly important. Thankfully, with guerrilla marketing, a number of different metrics can help you uncover the effectiveness of the campaign. Using these metrics, you can then compare the ROI of your guerrilla marketing campaign against your other efforts, such as your email marketing campaign or your pay-per-click (PPC) strategy.

Different metrics you can use to measure your guerrilla marketing campaign

The exact metrics you’ll track as part of your guerrilla campaign will depend on the nature of the campaign itself. For example, if much of your campaign is online, then website traffic will be an important metric. Conversely, if you’re running an outdoor guerrilla marketing campaign near a physical store, then footfall is likely to be a more reliable metric.

That said, the best guerrilla campaigns track a number of metrics so that the effectiveness of the entire campaign can be analysed. Popular metrics to track and monitor as part of a guerrilla campaign include:

Direct and organic traffic

As a guerrilla campaign gains traction, you may notice that your website traffic begins to spike (particularly if your efforts are actively pushing people towards the site). However, as is the nature of guerrilla marketing campaigns, this traffic can be hard to track and even harder to attribute to conversions.

As a result of a guerrilla marketing campaign, more people will search for your brand on search engines or will come directly to your website. Due to this, you need to compare your direct and organic traffic levels from before and after your guerrilla marketing efforts. This way, you’ll have an idea of just how much extra traffic the campaign has generated.

An uptick in traffic is great, but to fully measure the effectiveness of your campaign, you also need to see how these sessions are affecting your bottom line. If possible, you should make your campaign trackable. You can do this by providing people who have witnessed your guerrilla marketing campaign with a specific URL, or by providing them with a QR code that will take them straight to your website. This way, you’ll also be able to measure conversions.

Social media mentions and press mentions

The majority of guerrilla marketing campaigns aim to create a buzz around a new product or increase brand awareness. If this is the case for your campaign, you should monitor your social media channels closely and see what your customers are saying about you (remember that guerrilla campaigns are disruptive by nature, so they will attract at least some degree of negative publicity).

But, as well as looking at brand mentions, make sure that you also track other social media metrics, such as follower numbers, likes, and shares.  

Finally, you should also set up a Google News alert. This way, you’ll also be able to see whether you’ve picked up any additional coverage in the press.

Sales

Although many guerrilla campaigns are designed to build a buzz about a brand, some are instead designed to drive sales. This is particularly the case when a business opts for a guerrilla marketing strategy to help them promote a product launch.

If you’re promoting a product using a guerrilla marketing strategy, then comparing your sales before the campaign to your sales after the campaign can give you an idea of the campaign’s impact.

Sign-ups

Similarly, if you’re promoting a new product or you’re unveiling a new version of software and offering a free trial, then you need to track how many people sign-up to use it.

Again, you should provide anyone who views your campaign with a code, if possible. This way, you can track who has signed up as a direct result of your guerrilla marketing campaign. You can then compare these figures to the number of people who signed up through other marketing activities to compare effectiveness.

Calculating ROI from a guerrilla marketing campaign

The best guerrilla marketing campaigns start with the end result in mind. For example, is your marketing campaign intended to:

  • Raise brand awareness?
  • Increase sign-ups?
  • Increase conversions?
  • Drive traffic?
  • Cause a buzz on social media?

Once you have clearly defined objectives, you can begin to plan your campaign with a goal in mind. As well as helping ensure that your campaign remains focused, planning your goals at such an early stage will also make it much easier for you to quantify the success of the campaign when it concludes.

After all, to accurately measure the effectiveness of any marketing activity, you need to start with concrete metrics. But, as well as considering metrics such as website traffic and social media mentions, you also need to consider traditional metrics, such as sales. This is because guerrilla marketing often blends the lines between the physical and digital aspects of marketing. As a result, the combination of metrics used to measure the success of a campaign can be very sophisticated.

Thanks to this, calculating the ROI on a guerrilla marketing campaign is part art and part science. When measuring ROI, you need to place a nominal value on everything, including non-transactional digital actions, such as tweets, likes, and plus-ones.

How Apteco’s software can help you measure the impact of a guerrilla marketing campaign

Here at Apteco, we understand that you need access to a variety of data points in order to accurately measure the effectiveness of your guerrilla marketing campaign.

Thankfully, our omnichannel solutions help you design and deliver successful campaigns that take advantage of every possible touchpoint during the customer journey. Of course, modern marketing involves being smart, creative, and present. This may sound exhausting, but our tools do the hard work for you, helping you communicate with your customers in exactly the right way at the right time.

Similarly, through attribution modelling, we can help you calculate the impact of your marketing efforts. We understand that looking at the final step before purchase may overlook previous touchpoints while focusing on the initiative that first attracted interest may negate more effective messages later in the funnel. Depending on the objective of your campaign, we can help you deploy a range of evaluation models.

Finally, with the help of our predictive analytics tools, you can uncover data-driven insights that will improve campaign performance. With our help, you’ll generate a true understanding of every customer. As well as identifying common characteristics of your customers, you’ll also be able to discover how you can influence their next purchase and increase loyalty.

If you’d like to hear more about how our products can help you measure the impact of your guerrilla marketing campaigns, then book a demo with our team today. Alternatively, test-drive our software and discover the power of our intuitive platform for yourself.

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Melanie Davis

Group marketing manager

Since 2007 Mel has led the Apteco marketing team in driving the Apteco brand. She has been a B2B marketer in the data and marketing technology sectors for over 20 years. Her aim is to ensure that Apteco is a trusted and respected brand that is the first point of call for all data driven marketers.

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