Go Guerrilla: Adopt a Crucial Strategy to Reach Young Consumers

July 13, 2022
By iQ Staff
Park bench with a Nike logo and the word "RUN" encouraging an active lifestyle.

Millennials have become the economic driving force in America and wield the most spending power of any generation. Gen Z isn’t far behind. While they don’t command the most spending directly, they have emerged as influencers, setting trends and shaping lifestyle choices across generations.

Businesses are eager to capture this audience, but they find that their traditional marketing strategies aren’t up to the task because Millennials and Gen Zers don’t trust ads. These young consumers actively avoid marketing messages by opting for premium streaming accounts and ad blockers. Additionally, younger generations are bombarded with marketing messages. The constant and overwhelming number of ads they see daily leads to sensory overload. So, unless your marketing campaign is unusual and surprising, it won’t penetrate the consciousness of this audience.


Brands that successfully use guerilla marketing will cut through the noise and win the race to capture the most desired consumers in the market – Millennials & Gen Zers.


Guerrilla marketing is a type of marketing that uses novel or unconventional methods to reach consumers directly and personally. These methods are often low- or no-cost and can be used to boost sales or attract interest in a brand. It’s especially powerful when aimed at young audiences who shape popular culture and are active on social media.

Jay Conrad Levinson first coined the term guerrilla marketing in the 1980s. It refers to guerrilla warfare, a form of combat in which paramilitary personnel aim to weaken the opponent in a targeted manner through fast-moving, small-scale actions against orthodox military strategy. Combatants use the element of surprise, inexpensive and low-tech methods, and simple tactics to fight insurgents.

As you work to integrate guerilla strategies into your overall marketing plan, keep these best practices in mind:


Bring concepts to life.

Convey the essence of your brand physically. Instead of saying that your company saves 1 million water bottles from ending up in a landfill each year, commission an art installation at a local museum using 1 million water bottles.


Surprise people.

Make them laugh, think, or even cringe by going a little over the top. Marketers have promoted their products by dropping them off buildings to demonstrate their durability, blending iPads, and putting oversized underwear on the Wall Street bull during fashion week.


Get hyperlocal.

Identify and engage online communities like Facebook groups and subreddits. A word of caution: do not use traditional marketing tactics in these groups, or you will quickly be run out of the community. To succeed, marketers must match the tone and content of the forums or risk damaging their brand’s reputation.


Make it interactive.

Customers typically play a passive role when marketers engage them through ads. Experiential marketing, a guerrilla marketing strategy, invites consumers to participate in the marketing campaign and create memories alongside the brand.


Location, location, location.

Create an unexpected encounter where your customer lives, works, or plays – not just where they expect you to be (a shopping center). Ambient marketing, or reaching customers in their everyday environment, can take the form of an ad on the floor of an elevator or a surprise fashion show through the city’s main street.


Look for brand fit.

Ensure that the campaign matches your brand and the target group.


Scale it.

Make it easy for individuals to share your campaign online and go viral. If the concept is particularly compelling, time sensitive, or contributes to a greater cause, seek local and trade media coverage of the campaign for additional reach.


Listen, learn, and optimize.

Use social media monitoring tools to track when people blog, comment, post, and share about your brand. Look for trends, categorize sentiment and use feedback to improve your campaign.


While guerrilla marketing has traditionally been prized for its low cost, today it is an essential means of reaching and influencing young consumers. Capture your audiences’ attention and emotions by creating buzzworthy, creative, and memorable experiences that your competitors can’t replicate.