Lori Mang, CPT
Guerrilla Marketing Ideas You Need to Steal For B2B Sales
Updated: Sep 30, 2020
A gorilla walks into a bar...
He orders a beer. The bartender figures "what does a gorilla know?", charges the gorilla $50 for the beer. Gorilla pays him. It's early, the bar is quiet, so the bartender isn't busy. He is curious, so he says to the gorilla "You know, we don't get many gorillas in here." "At these prices, it's no wonder."
Like a good joke, guerrilla marketing ideas should be humorous, unexpected, cost-effective, and most of all unique. Traditional marketing is sometimes humorous and cost-effective. But it's never unexpected and rarely unique.
Traditional marketing is a logo. Guerrilla marketing is a hilarious meme, with your logo on it. Traditional marketing focuses on taking. Guerrilla marketing focuses on providing unique value.
Some B2C companies are expert guerilla marketers. What guerrilla marketing ideas can you as a B2B seller steal from them?
Guerrilla Marketing Benefits
Guerrilla marketing differs from traditional marketing because it requires less money but more time and imagination. Which is wonderful for small to medium businesses that have more of the latter and less of the former.
It's said that B2C companies get all the creative copywriters and marketers and B2B gets the leftovers. That isn't true.
However, B2B sales aren't as sexy and emotion-driven as B2C. But a good B2B marketer remembers that we're still selling to other humans, not machines.
Unless you're on a tight shoestring budget, traditional marketing will remain your biggest effort. But even in the more conservative world of B2B, marketing guerilla tactics have benefits:
Solidifies brand identity and sets you apart from your competitors.
Usually low-cost with quick results.
The interchange is a unique and memorable experience for the clients that create a lasting impression.
Is a refreshing alternative in an increasingly hectic online space.
Generates free publicity- by word of mouth and PR – and becomes shareable both online and offline.
If there're so many benefits and lower costs, why don't more companies -B2C and B2B- use guerrilla marketing more often? Well, it's often time consuming, and being imaginative can be incredibly hard.
Lucky for you. I have some great ideas you can steal.
Feel Free to Steal
There's no need to reinvent the wheel. Instead, take the wheel someone has invented and make it yours. Make it better. Tailor it to your business and your needs.
First, consider your target customers. Marketing to brain surgeons requires different strategies than marketing to personal fitness trainers.
Some audiences will appreciate low brow humor while others need a sophisticated touch. However, everyone loves cleverness. You can't go wrong there.
Here are some clever ideas you can steal today.
If you don't have an email campaign already, start now. Email marketing is not dead and is one of the lowest cost/highest ROI marketing strategies available. But it's not without problems.
First, people loath to give their email addresses out. Second, when people give their address out, they hate seeing boring or unhelpful emails even worse. People are busy and attention spans are getting shorter every day.
That's why your subject line must be interesting. Otherwise, it won't be opened. Use a subject line that invites intrigue. Don't talk about your company or reveal what the email is about.
Say you're marketing a widget to fitness professionals at a trade show in two weeks. Your email campaign is attempting to get attendees to your booth. The subject line could read, "Revealed: Why Personal Trainers are Clueless".
That sounds insulting and counterintuitive. But it's guaranteed to a get better open rate than a boring "Stop by Our Booth". You could start the email with a funny GIF showing a fitness professional falling off a treadmill or banging their head.
Then begin your copy by saying it's only fitness professionals who don't stop by your booth are clueless to see the best widget in the world.
Keep your emails short. Only 200 or 300 words. It's better to have a brief email linking to a special page on your website about your booth than rambling on and on in your email.
And in closing, make an irresistible offer for your potential customers to stop by. I'll go into more detail about unique trade booth giveaways in the next section. But none of them involve boring ballpoint pens and koozies. Nobody wants that crap.
Trade Show Marketing
It's tough to stand out at a trade show. Handing out key chains isn't guerrilla marketing. It's a waste of time and money. And even worse, it's lame. Maybe you only spent a few hundred dollars, so it feels like a good deal. But I guarantee you every key chain went into the trash, was given to a child, or was thrown into a catch-all drawer somewhere never to be seen again.
You literally wasted every single dime you spent.
Do you want to know how that money could have been spent better? Hire a professional videographer for the day. Set up a small space at your booth where every fitness professional who comes to your booth gets a few minutes to make a video they can share on their website or social media.
Have a few questions you can ask that they can answer on camera or let them riff on whatever they want. Just make sure they start their video with, "I'm at the Best Widget booth, blah, blah, blah." Make sure the lighting is great and the subjects are mic'd up.
No need to hire an expensive production team. Hire someone who is looking for new business and has a quality camera and knows simple graphics. Show attendees will be thrilled and it won't cost more than those key chains.
You can also have a product give away for the most humorous post about your booth/product on attendees' Instagram or Twitter accounts. The most hashtags and "likes" wins. Please make sure your giveaway is worth their time. Consider having a 1st, 2nd, and 3rd place.
Another idea is to have mini alcohol bottles labeled with your logo and contact info (check the laws in the state your show is in). But don't make them bland or boring wine or beer. Have uncommon and interesting flavors that make people curious enough to try it. Curiosity is one of the strongest human emotions.
Have a salesperson walking the show floor giving them away and directing people to your booth for more.
Better yet, hire a celebrity impersonator to man your booth or hand out snacks. Tailor the celebrity to the age and income bracket of your target audience. An older male crowd may appreciate a Marilyn Monroe look-alike, but a video game or anime character may work better for a younger crowd.
If you're feeling brave, hire divisive or X-rated celebrity impersonators like Donald Trump or Cardi B. But please know your audience before you attempt this...it could backfire.
You could combine the video idea with the celebrity and have the celebrity make the video with the attendee. The combinations are endless.
If you're strapped for cash and can't afford to spend any money, call a local winery, distillery, or brewery in the town the show is in and ask them to set up tastings at your booth. It's a win/win promotion for both of you. And I promise it will drive people to your booth and product.
Other Free & Low-Cost Trade Show Ideas
If you have a particularly talented staff, consider having them do a flash mob dance or routine. Just make sure there is some actual talent...
Another winner is to have an associate handing out keys near the show door. The associate should direct people to the booth to see if their key opens a treasure chest that you have packed with giveaways and product information.
A free idea it to live stream real-time testimonials from satisfied customers. Promise to promote their brand at the same time. Another win/win.
If you must hand out trinkets, make sure it's not the same old tired stuff. Make sure it's fresh and relevant. You could have a developer write some free WordPress themes and hand out info where they can download them. Make sure you have do-follow links back to your website. Another win/win idea that you can use at a show or with an email campaign.
Other Ideas That Offer Value
Hire a food truck for a day to go by several warm prospects' offices. Offer to pay for one free sandwich or drink per person.
Snail mail is widely under-used now. Don't just send a direct mailer advertisement, include something of value. Perhaps an offer of a free in-office demo for donating dog food to the local SPCA. Only use this for your warmest prospects as this could get expensive. Don't worry, you need not buy expensive dog food.
Always tie into holidays when you can. Think of a creative way you can offer value, fun, and holiday cheer at the same time. And don't forget, businesses have their own celebrations. Do you have a client with 20 years in operation this year? Send an anniversary card.
Professional and Personable
Guerilla marketing is a fantastic way to get buzz around your product or service. More businesses should use it.
But it doesn't replace professional-and personable-copy on your website, emails, or social media campaigns. All the guerrilla marketing ideas in the world won't help if the copy you present is lousy.
So, first things first. Contact me for a free 30-minute consultation and let's talk about ways I can help.