Taking the Data-Driven Approach to Guerrilla Marketing

Guerrilla marketing. It’s a term that we’ve heard thrown around town—usually to describe an unconventional idea for promoting a campaign. And that still rings true. Guerrilla marketing has been around for a while now, starting with door-to-door salesmen.


But with the evolution of marketing via the digital age, guerrilla marketing has also transformed. Guerrilla marketing isn't just handing out flyers or knocking on doors anymore. People are busy, and it's getting harder and harder to break through the information overload we all experience on a daily basis. Flash mobs just aren't doing the job anymore.


As marketers, we need to better understand who we're targeting, why and how? And the only way we're going to be able to do that is to measure our successes and failures. Since we're a data-driven agency, we wanted to put guerrilla marketing to the test and use the tools we have as SEOs to effectively research and track the campaign from start to finish. When a client was gearing up to launch a new microsite, we pitched the idea of using guerrilla marketing tactics, hopped up on data.

Zero In On The Target

To start off, we needed to find people who would want to share the microsite and find value in it. We scraped the web, used advanced search queries and took advantage of tools like Followerwonk, Buzzsumo, Twitrland and MyMediaInfo to research influencers we wanted to target with this campaign. We grouped our influencers into two categories: journalists and various tech companies/incubators.

Lead With Intent

We wanted to find a product we could send them that would speak to who they are, as well as the idea of the campaign. We didn't want to send out a gimmicky product that wouldn't resonate, so we took care to come up with an idea that would be relevant and fun. For journalists, we took into consideration that they're often on deadline, suffer from email bloat and are on-the-go, so we came up with customized travel mugs centered around the journalism field. The tech companies received customized coasters, in keeping with the coffee trend.

But simply sending people swag and assuming they will just "get it" is not the approach to guerrilla marketing we wanted to take. Instead, our content team wrote poems for each target audience and we hand wrote them on card stock, so each recipient would have something tangible in their hand to take in, besides the product. Even if they didn't take to the mugs or coasters, we got our brand in their minds.

"Letting your customers set your standards is a dangerous game, because the race to the bottom is pretty easy to win. Setting your own standards--and living up to them--is a better way to profit. Not to mention a better way to make your day worth all the effort you put into it." Seth Godin

Set Up for Success

So how will we know if all the effort we put into this worked? We want to be able to talk about our wins, but we also want to know what we can do differently next time to reach the next level. When we had the mugs and coasters made, we associated vanity URLs, to each product's design, as well as the hashtag we earmarked for the campaign that will appear in every social post or share mentioning the microsite to keep track of referral traffic. So when a journalist receives a mug, they would visit the site under and tweet out a message via #thisismyhashtag, which are both printed on the mug itself.

The purpose of this was to track the URLs through Google Analytics and have the ability to not only measure success, but be able to see how the campaign is performing in real-time, without the need for follow-ups or surveys. In fact, through GA we can even see specifically which prospects are responding. So not only have we researched what products to send, but we've also come up with a way to quickly and easily measure our success, without the extra time and effort of having to personally ask each prospect for feedback.

By taking an ultra-targeted approach to outreach for this microsite, the goal is not only to promote the site itself, but to build and maintain relationships with influencers who find value in your brand and want to share your message. The campaign has just launched, so stay tuned for a post-mortem once the results are in!

Have thoughts on guerrilla tactics you'd like to share? Tweet me @Marianna_Morris!


(h/t to Alisa, Ali F., Kristin B., Lana and Stephen for all of their hard work on this so far!)

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Marianna Morris
Marianna Morris
Sr. Lead, Client Engagement