I’d been looking forward to it for days. A family trip to North China, my favorite Chinese Restaurant.

Nine of us congregated around the table, drinking hot tea, giving updates and joking around. Who’s buying a new home, which young adults are never moving out and teenage sports updates … the usual family gathering.

There were eggrolls and egg drop soup. There was Szechuan something and Kung Pao whatever. I had a tender, sweet, simply amazing Mongolian Beef.

All in all, it was a wonderful evening, made even more memorable when the fortune cookies arrived.

“A friend asks only for your time, not your money.” (in bed)
“A good way to keep healthy is to eat more Chinese food.” (in bed)
“Hard work pays off in the future, laziness pays off now.” (in bed)

Someone blurted out the ol’ cliché, “Help, I’m being held captive in a Chinese bakery.”  No one laughed.

Fortune cookie with Zelle AdThen, my son turns his fortune over…

“Zelle® is a fast way to send money to friends and family.”

An ad … in a damn fortune cookie … is nothing sacred?!?

I have to admit, my initial reaction was one of disgust. How dare Zelle intrude on my family meal?

Then the marketer in me took back over:

  • Zelle reached a family … who may, one day, want to send money fast.
  • The message was certainly intrusive and noticed.
  • None of us had ever seen an ad on a fortune cookie, so it was differentiating and new.
  • My son instantly Snapchatted it … making the ad viral.
  • Overall, the half-inch by two-inch message had to be pretty cheap.

What a great idea!

Guerrilla marketing is unconventional. It is typically lower-cost. It is impactful. It is creative.

Consider your customer personas … where do they hang out? Is there a way to reach them in their natural habitat that isn’t buying traditional advertising, where you get hidden in the clutter?  Your message can be:

Ambient: Taking advantage of physical surroundings and placing a message in unconventional places. On the inside of a restroom stall door, where people often whip out their phone to surf or play games, you could say, “Take advantage of this time to bank online at…”

Ambush: Taking advantage of an audience at someone else’s event. Can you get hundreds of people to wear a obnoxiously bright t-shirt with your logo on it at a local festival? Can you organize a flash mob at that festival?

Grassroots: Focus on a personal connection between your potential customer and what you do.  Maybe you can coordinate a fundraiser for someone in the community in need.

Peoples Bank Street Team

In 2011 we arranged a Street Team for Peoples Bank to launch into a new market.

Street Marketing: Promote yourself in public areas. Dress-up a “street team” on a sunny spring day and have them ride unicycles through a crowded local park giving away popsicles with marketing messages attached.

Viral: Anything that makes someone want to share your message … like my son Snapchatting the fortune.

Honesty, the options are only limited by your imagination, budget and nerve. Remember, the goal of guerrilla marketing is to be noticed. You may need to step outside your comfort zone a bit, but I’ve seen it pay off in huge ways.

And don’t worry, if Zelle can advertise in fortune cookies, nothing is sacred.

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