Guerrilla Marketing and the Retail Pop-up - Medallion Retail
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Guerrilla Marketing and the Retail Pop-up

POSTED ON: 08/24/17 starbucks display

All guerrilla marketing is not pop-up, but all pop-up is guerrilla marketing.

Think about it. Guerrilla marketing is “a […] technique that uses unconventional methods […] to promote a product, service and/or organization. [It…] relies on unique and unorthodox practices to gain prospective customers’ attention and interest. Guerrilla marketing is […] interactive in nature and tends to be less costly than typical marketing tactics.

Sounds like great pop-up to me.

Pop-up and guerrilla marketing depend upon emotional resonance and the element of surprise in order to succeed. Both are works of interactive street theater designed to provoke thought and build brand buzz.

Approach retail pop-up from the point of view of a guerrilla marketer. Use this perspective as a lens through which to view untraditional retail concepts and opportunities. Your pop-up will be edgier, bolder and maybe even a little dangerous (in the best possible way).

The basic rules of guerrilla marketing can serve as a guide.

The Rules of Guerrilla Marketing

Obey the law.

Guerrilla marketing is risky, but the risk should be only in the hit-or-miss nature of the tactic, not the law. When planning tactics, do your research ahead of time make sure that you won’t be violating a solicitation law, that you don’t need a license/permit for what you’re doing or that the venue doesn’t have any special policies.


Catch shoppers off guard…

In today’s world of screen-based technology, consumers have developed an immunity against being marketed to. Find a way to get your message to a shopper when she’s not on high alert to reflexively ignore or shut out advertising.


…but don’t scare them.

Way back in the fall of 2007, Turner Broadcasting placed several blinking robot machines around Boston to promote the new season of Aqua Teen Hunger Force and the much-loved Mooninite characters on the show. Unfortunately, this execution turned out to be too vague, and many passers-by mistook the flashy machines for potential terrorist threats. This led public officials to shut down mass transit and call in the bomb squad for investigation.

Before launching any guerrilla marketing campaign, test it out with a few people who have little knowledge of the product. If your plan risks causing genuine public concern, look for ways to either alter the plan or swiftly relieve the concerns of your audience.


Articulate your message creatively.

Once you catch shoppers’ attention, you’d better have something to say that will hold their interest. Writing “Our school supplies are awesome” on the side of a building won’t do you much good. Your message needs to be as unique as your delivery.


Don’t be annoying.

Organizing a water fight to advertise your swimsuit brand? Great idea! Soaking innocent bystanders on their walk to work? Not so much.

Take pains to make sure that audience participation in your event is voluntary and that the public won’t be inconvenienced by your activities. You’re doing this to create new customers, not enemies.


Know when (and how) to make an exit.

If your guerrilla marketing plan involves any type of public art, make sure that your work is easily reversed. Reverse graffiti, chalk spray and stickers are great options to make your mark — temporarily.


Test your activations in approved spaces first.

IBM’s “Peace, Love & Linux” chalk stencils turned out to be much harder to remove than anticipated. The company had to pay tens of thousands of dollars in fines and cleanup fees. Costing the city or a building owner time and money to fix property is not the brand message you want to send.

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