How to Conduct Guerrilla Marketing in Singapore

how to conduct guerrilla marketing

The Singaporean business landscape is getting more competitive with every passing day, and businesses, as well as individuals, are looking for ways to gain the upper hand over their competition through marketing and advertising. In this article, we look at how to conduct guerrilla marketing in Singapore. However, before we discuss how to do it right, let us define what it is first.

What Is Guerrilla Marketing?

This is a cheap advertising strategy that businesses and individuals use to promote their products and services on the streets and other public areas. The goal of guerrilla marketing is to grab the attention of the public especially in parks, beaches, shopping malls, bus stops, train terminals, and the like.

Much like in the guerrilla warfare, guerrilla marketing also depends on the element of surprise. According to a post on HubSpot, there are several types of guerrilla marketing namely: 

  • Outdoor guerrilla marketing such as parks, on the street
  • Indoor guerrilla marketing such as in train terminals, inside shopping malls
  • Event ambush guerrilla marketing such as in a concert
  • Experiential guerrilla marketing

With the low costs associated with guerrilla marketing, both small businesses and established enterprises can gain the much-needed brand engagement with their consumers. But how do you do it?

Guerrilla Marketing’s History

Additionally, it may be a lot more risky to get a huge business to perform guerrilla advertising strategies. Their own guerrilla stunts come to be a PR nightmare and can flop. Since folks will simply write it off companies do not run as much danger.

Many large corporations are jumping on the bandwagon by embarking on guerrilla marketing. However critics have hit out that because their brands are already so well known, whatever they amount to does not count as true guerrilla marketing because it does not have the “shock” and “steep climb” in brand recognition.

Companies approached advertising and began changing their methods of thinking. The idea of guerrilla advertising continues to grow and expand organically.

Campaigns focus on advertising spending in mass media channels like print and radio.
Marketing may be dated back to 4000 BC. That which we believe promotion and advertising developed over the centuries but not thrived until the early 1900s.

Agencies fought to create an impression on customers and customers have been tired of being promoted to.

It was that the objective of advertisements would be to teach the consumer about service or the product rather than to amuse and engage them.

In Levinson’s book, he suggests methods of combating and coming types of advertisements. The objective of guerrilla advertising was supposed to use unconventional approaches to market on a budget. In this time period, print, television and radio were on the upswing, but customers were becoming tired. Levinson suggests that attempts will need to be smart, unique, eccentric and shocking. It ought to make buzz.

Big Businesses Are Using Guerrilla Advertising Guerrilla advertising initially was a theory aimed towards small companies having a small budget, but that did not stop huge companies from embracing the exact same ideology.

It was not until early 1990s and the late 1980s that cable tv began seeing advertisements messages. The leader in this period has been MTV, where they concentrated on obtaining the consumer into the promotion message instead of it being the by-product of a series that is featured.

Everything You Should Know About Guerrilla Marketing in Singapore

The first thing that comes to mind when most hear the term “guerrilla marketing” is comical images of brands trying to connect with the target audience in unique and ingenious ways. To some extent, that imagination is true as this form of marketing uses the element of surprise and unconventional strategies to promote services and products.

One of the main reasons most traditional and even some new marketing strategies don’t deliver the expected results is because they are overly used. The customers are already accustomed to the strategies used by the brands to promote the products and services, and so they are less intrigued or convinced to take the desired action. 

How to Conduct Guerrilla Marketing in Singapore 1

Photo Credit: Think Guerrilla

Guerrilla marketing helps to recapture their attention and encourage them to convert by using a new communication approach. It uses a whole different angle to promote a product and service. Over the years, this form of marketing has gained massive traction across the globe, even as most businesses invest heavily in digital marketing.

How to Conduct Guerrilla Marketing in Singapore?

Here is a breakdown of how to successfully conduct guerrilla marketing. We will also include examples of Singapore companies that are using or have used this tactic to their advantage.

Make the Campaign Endearing

While you want to take risks with your guerrilla marketing, ensure that it is endearing to your consumers or the intended audience and tailored to your business. For example, Deliveroo Singapore, a restaurant in Singapore used the guerrilla marketing method to boost its sales.

They realized that most white-collar Singaporeans prefer to ask for lunch to be delivered into their offices. Deliveroo Singapore decided that every Friday afternoon, its staff would put on kangaroo inspired onesies and head out to the central business district.

How to Conduct Guerrilla Marketing in Singapore

They would hand out flyers, notebooks tote bags, and a multitude of other Deliveroo merchandise. The onesies created an awareness for the people working in the central business district that Deliveroo was the place to get lunch.

It Is Not About Traditional Media

One thing is certain, you cannot pull off guerrilla marketing using traditional advertising media such as billboards, or TV adverts. This is because instead of investing copious amounts of money that is synonymous with traditional media, you only need to invest your imagination, time, and energy into guerrilla marketing.

According to Jay Conrad Levinson, the person who coined the term, ‘guerrilla marketing,’ businesses have to maintain a devotion to customer follow-up and feedback after making a purchase. Besides this, Levinson continues to say that instead of focusing on single marketing avenues, guerrilla marketers use different marketing combinations to get the word out. 

Step Up and Take A Risk

Guerrilla marketing is nothing like traditional and digital advertising, and it requires that you take a gamble and risk it all for the sake of your brand. In addition, there are some industries where guerrilla marketing tactics will not work. For example, businesses in highly regulated industries such as insurance and the financial service providers, a guerrilla marketing tactic would be a risky undertaking.

It needs tenacity to pull off this type of marketing seeing that there is a chance that a guerrilla marketing campaign could rub off city officials and irk a section of your consumers. What this means is that if you cannot bend the rules, then guerrilla marketing is not for you.

This is what WePay did against PayPal. It is no secret that PayPal freezes accounts randomly, and this could leave you in a fix. WePay, that competes with PayPal, froze several hundred dollars in a block of ice with a note saying that ‘PayPal freezes your accounts.’ Rich Aberman, WePay’s co-founder, wheeled in the box of ice during PayPal’s conference.

This was a bold move on WePay’s end, but it did send the message across that the conference attendees can unfreeze their money if they switch to WePay. It was a risky and daring move that was very successful. 

Make Your Campaign Clever and Subtle

To leave a lasting impression on your target audience, the campaign has to be new and smart. The most memorable campaigns are those that bring a new yet subtle twist to the common point of views.

For example, McDonald’s painted the infamous red fries’ holder on the road next to a pedestrian crossing. They then went ahead to paint the strips on the road yellow, so as to resembles a box of fries on the road. Anyone who accessed the road would automatically start craving for fries and guess what, they bought McDonald’s fries at the end of the day.

Another company that used the pedestrian crosswalk tactic is Mr. Clean. The company painted one strip white and added the company’s logo. Compared to the other strips, the message was clear for all to see, ‘Mr. Clean makes surfaces cleaner.’ This way, Mr. Clean increased sales and brand engagement.

Impress People Who Can Expand Your Reach

Uber is known the world over, but did you know that they expanded into 300 cities in 6 years by word of mouth? The lesson here is that you do not need money to create a guerrilla marketing stunt. 

In one of its guerrilla marketing campaigns, Uber partnered with ASPCA and Cheezburger for Uber Kittens promotion. Uber drivers would deliver kittens to users in the participating cities in the US, and the people had 15 minutes to play with the kittens.

How to Conduct Guerrilla Marketing in Singapore

The kittens were also up for adoption, and during the campaign period, 30 of the kittens got adopted. It was a win for everyone; Uber got its publicity, and ASPCA kittens were adopted by loving owners. However, while impressing these people, make sure that your brand is getting consumer engagement as well.

Create A Challenge

Social media is abuzz with challenges, and the most popular challenge has to be the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge. It can be difficult to achieve level of success that the Ice Bucket Challenge had, but there are some things you can learn from it.

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The challenge has to be doable, attract high social media following and flatter the participants. Many celebrities and ordinary citizens from all across the globe took to the challenge, and the ALS donations went through the roof. In 2013, they only received $1.7 million prior to the challenge, but at the height of the challenge in 2014, the donations were more than $11.5 million.

Another challenge that has sparked interest online is the No Make-Up Selfie. It became insanely popular with women who under the guise of the challenge would express their frustration with the imposed beauty standards. 

Engage Influencers

Influencers are part and parcel of the digital space, and since traditional media will not do much for your guerrilla marketing campaigns, they will help you engage with the target audience better. They will also drive much-needed traffic to your campaign.

For example, in 2015, Jerome Lim a Singaporean blogger wrote about ‘Stumbling upon a Tiger’s lair’ where he described how he came across a wooden crate with an assortment of memorabilia among them old Tiger Beer cans and bottles. As soon as the post went up on his blog, Singaporeans responded by claiming that it was a publicity stunt which Tiger Beer admitted it was.

Tiger beer had not counted on Lim finding the box, and in a statement to the press, the company’s spokesperson said it was an SG50 celebration. While some say it was a failure, it got people talking and spurred engagement.

Top 6 Guerrilla Marketing Strategies for Singapore in 2021

Like digital marketing, there are different types of guerrilla marketing that you can use to get ahead of the competition. Below is an overview of the top 6 strategies you can use to increase brand awareness and sales.

1. Street Marketing

Street marketing is an outdoor form of guerrilla marketing where brands write messages and names of the products on strategic places on the street. It uses street art to pass the message and make a statement about the brand to the world.

Below is a perfect example of a street by McDonald’s to encourage anyone who walks by to visit the eatery.

How to Conduct Guerrilla Marketing in Singapore 2

Anyone who loves this brand will be intrigued by it and happy to visit the establishment for some delicious fries and freshly prepared chicken.

2. Ambient Marketing

Ambient marketing is a way of capturing prospects’ attention by smartly interfering with the flow of things. One common way of doing this form of marketing is by placing advertisements at unconventional places that are conspicuous.

People will notice the ad and be intrigued to visit the website or the brick-and-mortar store. The ads have to be creatively designed to get much-needed attention and promote brand awareness efforts.

Below is an image of an ad used by BIC for branding.

How to Conduct Guerrilla Marketing in Singapore 3

Nobody expected to see a huge razor in the middle of a lawn and the mowed section of grass cements the message even more. BIC’s statement is that its razors are reliable and sharp enough to mow a lawn!

Such a brilliant guerrilla marketing strategy will get the attention of your audience. They will also be wowed because your brand is different and bold enough to try out something new to promote the product and not just rely on online marketing.

3. Event Ambush Marketing

Even ambush marketing seeks to take advantage of the people attending an event. The product on sale should be related to the event and relevant to the attendees for this form of marketing to be successful.

For example, if your brand sells sporting gear, you can use ambush marketing to promote them at a sporting event. 

The cost is low compared to other forms of marketing, and you may or may not need to seek the approval of the event sponsor since your goal is to ambush the audience when they least expect it.

How to Conduct Guerrilla Marketing in Singapore 4

Here are two examples of common strategies used to do event ambush marketing.

  1. Strategically Placed Signage: It entails the placement of signage in or outside the event venue. Don’t be surprised if some of the attendees think you are one of the sponsors – this is a good thing that you can capitalise on to get ahead of the competition and sales. They will perceive your brand as an authority in the niche.
  2. Flash Mobs: This refers to a group of performers suddenly emerging in the arena or public area as the event is going on or shortly after it ends to briefly perform a dance or something related to your brand and what it offers. This mob performs for a few minutes then disperse, leaving the audience with suspense and a deep desire to learn more about your brand.

4. Experimental Marketing

Gone are the days when generic ads and content would be enough to convince customers to purchase your product. Customers, nowadays, gravitate towards businesses that provide an immersive experience and connect with them at a deeper level.

The beauty of this form of guerrilla marketing is that instead of the potential customers being passive participants to be bombarded with ads and enticing marketing messages, experimental marketing is hinged on the belief that the customers should be active members of the marketing campaign. That is, they should be active participants, and their interests should be factored in during the campaign’s creation and implementation.

To achieve this goal, marketers invite target customers to create a marketing campaign to create a formidable relationship with them. This co-creation arrangement creates a mutually beneficial relationship. The brands benefit from a regular and constant stream of sales while the customers get access to the services and products that match their needs.

How to Conduct Guerrilla Marketing in Singapore 5

Photo Credit: BecauseXM

The above image is a Coca-Cola virtual reality set up in Zurich during the FIFA World Cup. It allowed the public to enjoy a mini-soccer game in VR. Such a set-up may be expensive to some marketers, but it’s a sure way of engaging with the customers in an interactive and fun way.

The experimental marketing strategy doesn’t have to be expensive, though, be creative and use the available resources to create memorable experiences for your customers.

Here are two guerrilla experiment marketing strategies that you can try out.

  • If your products are contentious or challenging to discuss in public, you can come up with a professional and polite experience to spark a conversation
  • If you sell computer games, give the target customers a chance to use the gadgets for free. You can also set up a competition to evoke positive emotions and a sense of accomplishment.

5. Stealth Marketing

Stealth marketing is another common form of guerrilla marketing that relies on creative and indirect/subtle marketing strategies to connect with customers. In most cases, the customer is not aware that the marketer is promoting a product to them.

There are may stealth marketing tactics, but the most common one is strategic product placement in spaces and undercover marketing. A good example is shown in the Castaway movie by Tom Hanks.

How to Conduct Guerrilla Marketing in Singapore 6

Photo Credit: Product Placement Blog

Unlike the previous strategies, stealth marketing’s main objective is to create awareness about the product and its offerings, not to generate sales or revenue immediately. By sparking interest and evoking excitement about a product, the consumers are inherent led to research more about the brand and place an order.

This low budget guerrilla marketing strategy can be instrumental in helping your brand penetrate even the most competitive market niches. It will also save you the money you would have spent on expensive digital marketing campaigns such as influencer marketing and pay-per-click campaigns.

Here is an overview of the two examples of stealth marketing explained above.

  • Product placement: A paid product is added to the package of another product package. However, the two products have to be related for this strategy to work.
  • Undercover marketing: The advertiser or marketers pitches the product to the target customers so that it does not seem as if he/she is marketing. This strategy is sneaky but has tremendous potential if well implemented.

6. Grassroots Marketing

As a small business, you don’t always have the luxury of spending thousands of dollars on email marketing or any other digital marketing method. Grassroots marketing can help you generate sales without breaking the bank by marketing your brand through events and other occasions of interest to the audience.

How to Conduct Guerrilla Marketing in Singapore 7

Photo Credit: Food Navigator USA

A good example if Brandon and Jared, who founded the Nooma sports drinks business. The two market their products by supporting local sports events in Cleveland. During the events, they promote their products to athletes who have been yearning for a healthy sports drink that is devoid of additives and other harmful chemicals.

This form of guerrilla marketing focuses on a small group of customers who are more likely to purchase the product. The hope is that by engaging with these customers and offering the product for free or at a discounted price, they will pass the message to more customers. Note that word-of-mouth is one of the most powerful forms of marketing.

In a nutshell, guerrilla marketing relies on unconventional, less traditional, but creative marketing strategies to connect with customers. Compared to other guerrilla marketing strategies, it is more affordable and has a massive potential of generating sales if well executed.

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Here are two ideas of grassroots marketing that can apply to your business.

  • Leverage emotional marketing: You use the positive emotions that the product or service evokes to encourage the users to not only use the product but also market it through word of mouth
  • Support events: Get out of your comfort zone and support events that resonate with the target customers. Helping the community do a project will boost your popularity and help connect with the target customers at a deeper level.

7. Guerrilla Projections

In the 80s, the projector was one of the most common technologies used to show films at the community arenas. This handy gadget has stood the test of time as it’s still used in conferences, though the current ones are technologically advanced.

You can use them for marketing your brand to thousands of people in public places without spending a fortune. All you have to do is install the projectors onto one of the high-rise buildings located in high-traffic streets. Create a buzz by abruptly projecting your products and brand on the adjacent building’s wall.

Rest assured that the visual will grasp the attention of everyone walking by the building, thereby promotion your brand awareness efforts. If you have an online business, expect a spike in organic and direct traffic as people try to search the web for more information about your brand.

How to Conduct Guerrilla Marketing in Singapore 8

In the above image, Vueling uses projectors to promote its airline to passengers. The smart and beautiful display is difficult to ignore even if you are rushing somewhere or on your phone.

Be sure to consult the local government, though, to avoid a legal tussle. This ingenious marketing strategy will take your competitiveness to the next level, and don’t be surprised if your competitors try to use the strategy in the same or different location.

8. Viral Marketing

Its every marketer’s goal to come up with online marketing videos or any other form of content, and it goes viral. Millions of people watch or interact with the content, resulting in more traffic to the main website and, consequently, sales.

Word of mouth increases the chances of a marketing video going viral. People learn from peers and search the web for it; it also shared on social media platforms and messaging apps such as WhatsApp.

To create a viral campaign, you need to be smart and creative. You need to understand the audience and what is currently trending, then ride the wave.

How to Conduct Guerrilla Marketing in Singapore 9

Dollar Shave Club recently created an amazing marketing video to promote its razors, and it went viral. Reports indicate that the brand received more than 12,000 orders in two days.

The only downside associated with this type of guerrilla marketing is that there is no guarantee that the content will go viral. The content’s fate lies squarely on the target audience and how they respond, not the digital marketers you hire to distribute the content.

5 Accurate Ways to Measure Guerrilla Marketing Success

The above guerrilla marketing strategies will give your brand more exposure and help generate sales. However, you have to monitor the success to know if the campaigns worked. The data collected will provide ideas on which strategies you should invest more time and resources in and which ones you should avoid.

Remember that most guerrilla marketing strategies are one-time; you cannot keep repeating them in the same location. Here are the primary metrics that you can use to gauge the performance of your guerrilla marketing strategies.

Metric 1# Conversion Rates

Conversion rate is a percentage of the people who purchased your product versus those who received the marketing materials. The goal is to record the highest possible conversion rate after doing guerrilla marketing.

If you sell the products through the website, you can use cookies to know how many people visited the website and converted after street marketing. Track the data for several days or for as long as the advertisement is on the street to know if you are headed in the right direction.

Metric 2# Organic and Direct Traffic

Guerrilla marketing strategies are usually executed offline, but the effect is felt online. Once your guerrilla marketing tactics gain traction, you will start noticing a sharp increase in website traffic from search engines (organic traffic).

Monitor the new traffic and, more importantly, check how the new traffic affects your bottom line – sales. Unlike online marketing, tracking traffic from guerrilla marketing can be tricky and even harder to know the number of people who converted after seeing your ads on the street or at an event.

One sure way of jumping this hurdle is by monitoring both organic and direct traffic to the website. Direct traffic comprises people who come to your website directly, while organic traffic is channelled to your website from a search engine. Comparing the two will give you a clear picture of the performance of your marketing efforts.

Metric 3# Leverage Search Engine Marketing

Search engine marketing, also referred to as paid search, can help you monitor a guerrilla marketing campaign’s performance. If the campaign is meant to spark curiosity by using words that you would not ordinarily use on the website, you can use those words to create a search engine marketing campaign.

For instance, you can use a random name that is related to your product and is memorable. Bid for that word and track the number of people who use it to find your website or online store. The data will help you know how the customers interact and behave when they land on your website.

Make sure that the ads are compelling enough to get a high click-through-rate. Make sure that you use strong Call-to-Action buttons and link the ads to the right landing pages to make it easy for the customers to convert.

There is no need to worry if they don’t convert; you can use the personal information they submit after visiting your website and maybe adding products to the shopping cart, such as the email address for remarketing. Retarget them with special discounts and offers to get maximum ROI from the SEM campaign.

Be subtle as you remarket and strive to know why they opted not to complete the purchase. By understanding the friction points in the buyer’s journey, you will be able to redesign your website and the buyer’s journey to offer a smooth shopping experience.

Metric 4# Use Redeemable Codes

Redeemable codes are a combination of numbers that the target customers will provide when purchasing a product to qualify for a discount. They are super effective in increasing guerrilla marketing campaign trackability, as you can tell the number of people who redeemed them.

These codes function like the conventional coupon codes. The number of people who redeem the codes will help you to know if your guerrilla marketing tactics are working or not. Apart from codes, you can also use a memorable short URL to achieve the same objective.

If you decide to use the URLs, make sure that you tag them and invest in a professional landing page for this specific customer group. That way, you will track the number of people who visit the specific landing page and convert.

Metric 5# Growth Rate

Guerrilla marketing will help your brand grow if the strategies we recommend in this article are well implemented. Know if you are headed in the right direction and invest in other marketing strategies by monitoring the trends, patterns and remote customer sessions.

All this information will help you know the number of sales you get after launching the company. The growth rate will continue increasing if the campaign is well crafted, and the customers are responding to the message.

Set realist goals and use them to monitor the growth rate and performance of the campaigns. Tabulate the data in a spreadsheet and create reports to help you in the decision-making process. Be sure to engage with your marketing team to ensure that everyone is on the same page when launching a new guerrilla marketing campaign or improving the existing ones.


Final Thoughts

Guerrilla marketing can help you stand out from the crowd and scale up if you take the time to plan and execute it. If you are going to place the ads outdoors, contact the local government to know if you need a permit or license to avoid a legal tussle. Event ambush marketing is great, but it would be best to seek permission from the event organisers. The last thing you want is a confrontation with the event organisers in front of potential customers.

Coupling guerrilla marketing with robust digital marketing campaigns will give your brand the muscle it requires to rival the competitors. Get in touch with us, MediaOne Marketing, for the best digital marketing services in Singapore. MediaOne is the leading provider of digital marketing services in Singapore. We will help you come up with a superb guerrilla marketing campaign and implement it for you. Call us today at (65) 6789 9852 or get in touch with our customer care team for more details.  We will do everything possible to ensure that your brand scales up and the all the marketing goals are achieved. 


About the Author

Tom Koh

Tom is the CEO and Principal Consultant of MediaOne, a leading digital marketing agency. He has consulted for MNCs like Canon, Maybank, Capitaland, SingTel, ST Engineering, WWF, Cambridge University, as well as Government organisations like Enterprise Singapore, Ministry of Law, National Galleries, NTUC, e2i, SingHealth. His articles are published and referenced in CNA, Straits Times, MoneyFM, Financial Times, Yahoo! Finance, Hubspot, Zendesk, CIO Advisor.


Search Engine Optimisation (SEO)

Search Engine Marketing (SEM)

Social Media




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