You’d be forgiven if you thought the digital marketing vs. traditional marketing debate was something new to the 21st Century. These days, everyone has an opinion, each louder than the last.
But long before people were shaking up the traditional advertising with digital marketing like high ROI content marketing, innovators were trying to re-write the scripts of traditional marketers who were seen as uninspired and often annoying.
Guerrilla marketing is one such movement, and it’s still active and strong today. We’ve located some of the best guerrilla marketing examples to generate marketing ideas for B2B building supply companies.
What Is Guerrilla Marketing?
Guerrilla marketing is an ideology that focuses on low-budget creativity, virility, localization, and often the “surprise attack” over expensive, “predictable” ad campaigns. In other words, you’re not doing what everyone else is doing, so people notice you, maximizing word of mouth.
Jay Conrad Levinson’s 1984 book “Guerrilla Marketing” brought the idea to the mainstream. The methodology gets its name from the term “Guerrilla warfare,” a tactic used by Guerrillas (Spanish for warriors/soldiers), who were originally civilians with little financial backing who hid in plain sight and sneak-attacked their enemies to gain the upper hand against much larger, more organized, and better-funded military units.
Why Is It Important to Marketers?
As the origins elude, guerrilla marketing allows shoestring marketing budgets to take on those with behemoth ad budgets to gain market share and disrupt the marketplace.
It gives startups and struggling businesses a shot they would not otherwise have in a saturated market. And yes, it can work in the B2B building materials industry.
And perhaps best of all, guerrilla marketing ROI is much higher than traditional or even digital advertising because the costs are low compared to the reach. But a word of caution: Be very clear about your target audience. Any highly creative marketing techniques can fall flat, or worse, backfire if you misjudge your target or seem inauthentic.
Guerrilla Marketing Examples
You’ll see some big names here in our guerrilla marketing examples. But it doesn’t matter where your building materials company currently falls on the business size spectrum; you’ll find ideas that inspire and don’t cost a ton of money.
1. Street Marketing
Street or outdoor marketing puts unexpected marketing in outdoor spaces as an integral part of that outdoor space.
McDonald’s turned a busy crosswalk into a massive box of fries with the lines on the crosswalk being the French fries. As a building materials B2B company, you could strategically position a similar creative piece in plain sight of a business you’re targeting.
2. Ambient Marketing
In ambient marketing, the ad disrupts what you expect to see in a familiar space, often making it look like something else.
Lego accomplished this by matching a billboard on the side of a building to the structure’s color. It then used perspective to appear it’s missing a section… of Legos, the original building materials.
3. Old-Fashioned Word-of-Mouth
This guerrilla marketing strategy focuses on the localization side of the philosophy to make meaningful connections in the local community which can be a niche online community such as digital marketing or a physical town, neighborhood, etc.
- Ask your friends and family to visit your website, follow your business and share to get the ball rolling. Never, ever ask them to write reviews.
- Talk about your business to everyone you meet. It doesn’t have to sound promotional. It’s more like, “this is who I am, and this is what I do,” and then move on.
- Hand out physical business cards.
- Create a viral marketing campaign. Yes, its easier said than done, but using other guerrilla marketing techniques here can help you do it.
4. Leveraging Employee Engagement
Your employees are your greatest asset. First, treat them well, or this doesn’t work. Then, regardless of their job role, engage them in the lead generation process.
- Spotlight employees on the factory floor, R&D, accounting, the front desk, and in every department on your social media sites.
- Encourage employees to interact with these and your other social media posts.
- Ask employees to refer people who work at businesses that may need your building materials. Even if they’re not the decision-maker, this may give you an in at a smaller company.
Remember: You need to pay employees for any mandatory work they do for you. But, within reason, you can also leverage your social butterflies to engage with you on social media in their spare time.
5. Sponsor Local Sports Teams
Nearly bankrupt, Red Bull went from having a product no one knew they wanted to creating the hot energy drink industry by sponsoring local teams, events, and festivals with small niche followings, which are often cheaper to sponsor. Red Bull saturated fans with free merch and even stat landing pages to engage the core group to generate more fans.
6. Get on NextDoor
NextDoor is a neighborhood-based social media site where only people who live in nearby neighborhoods can see your posts. This is a friendly way to reach your neighbors who may also be builders, building supply retailers, local handypeople, and other B2B customers in need of building supplies.
It’s against the terms of service to openly promote a product or service in the feed. But local businesses get around this by:
- Asking an existing customer to give you a shoutout on the great product and service
- Setting up a local business page
- Creating a NextDoor group where you attract and engage a community of people in the building industry
- Become a thought leader locally
Guerrilla marketing takes many forms. It’s ultimately about inventive thinking to get attention and increase word-of-mouth. Adapt strategies like these to your own B2B building materials marketing strategy to get a big bang for marketing bucks.