Guerrilla Marketing: A low-cost strategy for startups
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A reason as to why many startups fail is poor marketing. Due to scarce financial resources, startups are restricted from using traditional marketing methods that are associated with high costs. An alternative strategy that does not require extensive financial resources and can help break through the endless clutter of marketing campaigns is guerrilla marketing. The aim of this paper is to contribute to the research on the subject by addressing the following: What is guerrilla marketing and how can startups use it in the promotion of their products? In order to answer this research question, a theoretical and empirical study has been performed. The work of Hutter and Hoffmann (2011) is used as a foundation for the theoretical study. Other sources are used to supplement their views, in addition to theory on traditional marketing where theory on guerrilla marketing is limited. A multiple case study exploring the unconventional campaigns of six different companies is used as a basis for the analysis and discussion of the thesis. Data regarding the campaigns was mainly collected through in-depth interviews. The campaigns possess several characteristics similar to those of guerrilla marketing and are studied to gain a better understanding of the phenomenon and how guerrilla campaigns can be created. Findings from each case are compared and contrasted, and further linked to the theory presented. Based on the analysis and discussion, the following revised definition of guerrilla marketing is proposed: Guerrilla marketing is an alternative, low-cost advertising method that exclusively utilizes unpaid channels by creating an unconventional campaign that causes an unexpected reaction, motivating recipients to distribute the message. The precise definition should not be used as a strict set of requirements that must be met, but rather as guidelines for where focus should be directed. The low cost aspects force the startup to consider alternative strategies differing from those of traditional advertising. This may contribute to making a campaign unconventional. This is important in order to elicit a reaction in recipients, which may motivate them to further distribute the message. The media and influencers can also be encouraged to distribute the message. These strategies eliminate the distribution costs of the campaign. A framework regarding how startups can create a guerrilla marketing campaign to promote their products is also proposed. The framework consists of the following steps: (1) set the goals for the campaign, (2) identify the target audience, (3) design the message and campaign, (4) prepare the distribution, (5) establish the budget, and (6) measure the results. Similarly to the definition proposed, the framework serves as a set of guidelines, rather than steps that must be followed. The proposed definition challenges existing theory. Based on a framework used in traditional marketing, the steps were revised and adjusted to better fit the context of guerrilla marketing. A framework addressing how a guerrilla campaign can be created does not exist in theory, and is therefore viewed as a possible new contribution to theory.