How To: Engage in a Guerrilla Marketing War

Engage in a Guerrilla Marketing War

Warfare strategies have become an inspiration to different marketing professionals, many of them drawing influence from Sun Tzu's Art of War. This ancient Chinese text provided treaties on how to effectively manage resources, tactical positioning, and timing attacks. It also states that "..if you know your enemies and know yourself, you can win a hundred battles without a single loss", a basic concept in which you have to always watch your competitor to anticipate his next move. 

A strategy under marketing warfare is flanking. This concept revolves around the military strategy that attacks points of the enemy that are either weak or unprepared. This strategy is used in segmented markets where different companies compete for the market. 

Flanking strategy in marketing is composed of two main points: Offensive and Defensive Flanking. Offensive flanking involves competing in a market segment that a main competitor doesn't consider vital when compared with the whole market. This strategy involves subtle advertising and discrete promotion campaigns. Defensive or position flanking, on the other hand, involves developing or re-positioning products to not only protect your company from potential losses in a market segment, but also strengthen your competitive position in that aspect. 

Here are some tips on using a flanking marketing strategy:

Step 1 Avoid areas congested with competition

Use your competitor's strategy to your advantage. Observe his advertising and promotion campaigns and look out for places that he rarely targets or focuses on. An example in advertising is when your competitor focuses only on high traffic areas like malls and beaches. You can take advantage of this by dispatching your campaigns at streets, roads, or other places leading to high-traffic areas so you can grab their attention before your competitors do. 

Step 2 Make your move quickly

Execute your campaign quickly before your competitor can recover. If you're able to execute your campaign quickly, you'll be able to develop a niche in that market segment and use that as a stepping stone for further influencing other market segments.

Step 3 Make subtle moves 

Divide your campaign into smaller projects to keep your campaign under wraps. Doing so will prevent your competitors from not only seeing the bigger picture, but also responding decisively against your campaign. 


  • You can use different print media for advertising such as flyers, posters, stickers, etc. 
  • Assign teams for your campaign locations. It will make your campaign's "mobilization" subtle and faster. 
  • Always observe your competitors' marketing moves before deciding your next course of action. 

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