Home Guerrilla Marketing: Growth Hacking Your Startup

Guerrilla Marketing: Growth Hacking Your Startup

Do you have a product or service that you’ve given your heart and soul for? Have you fought tooth and nail for your product and service? Actually bled and lost sleepover? Then you find that the media doesn’t want to go anywhere near it? Here is guerrilla marketing — how to growth hack your startup.

Your marketing isn’t going your way.

You’re preaching to the choir on this one. I know first hand how frustrating it can be for entrepreneurs who believe in their startup so strongly but are struggling to get the traction they need.

Yes, Elle Woods! It’s incredibly hard!

There’s no question that with today’s access to technology, coverage in the media is difficult to attain but you still might find yourself asking why: if my baby is so beautiful why does nobody want to hold it and rock it to sleep?

The Shift

There’s a change in the tech industry happening — and that change is that everybody and their dog has an app.

Does the media want to hear that they should write about this really cool app that’s changing the world? NO! The media wants to hear that they should write about this really cool app that’s changing the world because it got ten thousand users in six months. THAT’S media worthy.

It’s not entirely the media’s fault either, we’ve heard horror stories from popular tech publications and how they can receive up to one hundred pitches in their inbox by the time they get back to their desk from walking to the water cooler.

How do you get around this incredibly frustrating problem? You can’t get in the media unless you have traction and you can’t get traction unless you get your startup covered, right? Not necessarily.

Start Thinking like a Guerrilla

So the idea is guerrilla marketing is used as a strategy designed for you to promote your startup in an unconventional way with little budget to spend.

The way to marketing strategy involves high energy and imagination in order to grab the attention of the audience you want to target.

Essentially, you want to get your product directly in front of your ideal customer without spending a whole lot of cash.

Micro Case Study: One of the greatest examples of a successful guerrilla marketing tactic I have ever heard was from Pinterest founder, Ben Silbermann.

Silbermann used to stop into Apple stores on his way home from work and change all the browsers on the Macs and iPhones to the Pinterest homepage

Another really great example of this tactic was in 2002 when Sony hired actors to walk around cities and ask strangers to take selfies with them. During this interaction, they then would boast about all the nifty features the new phone had.

A few more whacky yet respectably effective GM strategies include:

  • Flashmobs
  • Graffiti
  • Publicity stunts

These are obviously all physical demonstrations of guerrilla marketing. With today’s digital presence and fascinations with social media, there are many ways to execute this strategy online as well as viral videos, newsjacking, and even social media competitions that could be considered guerilla marketing.

We recently had an experience with a client who was launching a new dating app in Toronto called Zepeel. The premise was to bring reality back into online dating. Essentially remove the notion of “bad dates” from the online dating process by operating on a video-based platform.

With the video chatting push, you no longer have to sit through an entire awkward dinner after you realize the personality of your match just isn’t exactly what you thought.

Naturally, you’d think by solving a clearly relatable problem — while also taking advantage of the evident presence of video content in our social media that this product would go viral overnight.

The only problem is the online dating app space is completely saturated.

After going through a few pitches with our PR team and watching article after article come through about the hottest new dating apps on the market (which was filled with brand new apps each and every time). Our team quickly realized we needed to do something extra to fast track this startup’s visibility.

Enter  The Bachelorette Canada.

Once we started looking around for advertisement opportunities we quickly realized the timeliness of a show, airing in Canada for the first time (remember Zepeel is launched in Toronto).

With a bachelorette who literally could not have fit Zepeel’s ideal customer persona anymore perfectly was almost too good to be true.

But again, we come back to the question of how do we pitch this partnership to The W Network when we still are trying to scale this dating app?

We presented the idea of live-tweeting the show weekly to compliment the ads running on their website. The campaign has delivered some of our highest engagement rates on Twitter so far.

The campaign has pushed Zepeel’s brand and message in front of more ideal customers — and we can’t wait to see what’s next.


All in all, sometimes thinking outside the box is not just creative, but necessary for your startup to survive in an era where technology is more accessible than ever.

Don’t rely on your favorite publications to tell the world about the really cool stuff you’re up to.

Get out there and tell them yourself.

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The ReadWrite Editorial policy involves closely monitoring the tech industry for major developments, new product launches, AI breakthroughs, video game releases and other newsworthy events. Editors assign relevant stories to staff writers or freelance contributors with expertise in each particular topic area. Before publication, articles go through a rigorous round of editing for accuracy, clarity, and to ensure adherence to ReadWrite's style guidelines.

Sameer Ahmed
Digital Marketing Consultant

Sameer Ahmed is a Google Certified and Digital Marketing Manager/Consultant, who contributes his post to many websites like Ezine, Self-growth, YourStory, etc. I love to write a blog on Marketing, Sales, and ongoing IT Trends and manages several websites and blogs. When he isn't writing, he's playing the latest role-playing game, traveling with friends, or watching movies and reading.

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