Guerrilla Marketing: Strategies and Benefits

Business competition is at an all-time high, and traditional marketing isn’t getting the response rate it used to. The good news is that guerrilla marketing can help. It is a low- or no-cost form of marketing that can reap substantial profits if implemented correctly. It often involves unconventional and nontraditional ideas that cost very little to execute, so there is not much risk involved.

Implementing Guerrilla Strategies

The primary point of guerilla marketing is to get your business’s name in front of as many people as possible in nontraditional, unexpected ways so that when individuals are thinking of joining a gym, yours will be the one they think of first (Agoglia 2006). Gather your sales team, department managers and any other staff who wish to participate and brainstorm ideas. The following ideas will get you started:

Utilize Social Networking Sites. Websites like Facebook, MySpace and YouTube receive millions of hits each day--and are free to join. Post your business profile, including exercise-tip videos and any attention-grabbing ideas you can think of, on these sites. Of course, include a link back to your main website so that viewers can find out more about your facility.

Create “Free” Mailboxes. Set up mailboxes in business plazas located near your facility (with landlord permission) with the words “Free. Take One”—similar to the “mailboxes” set up with real estate or auto dealership brochures. Inside of each mailbox, place your facility’s marketing materials complete with free guest passes.

Partner With Local Businesses. Dedicate a section of your website to coupons, accessible to members, from local retailers. In exchange for providing the retailers with exposure, have them promote your business on their website or by visibly placing your brochures at their locations.

Enlist Member Participation. Ask members who have achieved great success in weight loss to serve as role models. Create giant “before” and “after” posters of members who have reached noteworthy goals. With the members’ permission, these posters can be hung throughout the gym to provide motivation and increase retention. These photos can also be used in fliers that you distribute throughout town.

Speak Up. Offer your services as a speaker for community organizations and local businesses. Your presentations should be creative and unconventional, selling the benefits of exercise, not your business. This focus will build your expertise in the eyes of the attendees and should not appear to be a sales pitch.

Successful Examples

It can be helpful to seek out creative guerrilla campaigns that have been effective in fitness and other industries. Here are a few novel ideas that have led to considerable success:

Chipotle’s Mexican Grill. With locations nationwide, this business implemented a promotion in which anyone who came into the restaurant on Halloween dressed up as a burrito (basically wrapped in foil) received a free burrito.

Monti Fitness. In a neighborhood full of typical Italian restaurants, this fitness business in Rome reached out to people when they were thinking about their weight the most (after lunch). The club printed a series of exercises on the back of the restaurant receipts with an accompanying message and guest pass, inviting patrons to come and “burn off their meal.”

To learn more about guerilla marketing, see “Marketing Advice: How to Go Guerrilla” in the online IDEA Library. If your membership does not give you access to this publication and you would like to receive it, please contact IDEA member services at member@ideafit.com.

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Valerie Applebaum, MPH, CHES

IDEA Author/Presenter
Valerie Applebaum, MPH, CHES, is a certified health education specialist with a master’s degree... more less
November 2010

© 2010 by IDEA Health & Fitness Inc. All rights reserved. Reproduction without permission is strictly prohibited.

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