5 minutes to explain why Guerrilla marketing is important

Read on Medium.

Christmas is an expensive time. Everyone’s still looking for a clever deal that still brings a smile to their loved one’s faces.

At the start of December, Dribble & MatchPint offered to send 250 free Sambrook’s Brewery beers to unsuspecting recipients across zones 1 & 2 of London.

All you had to do was enter yours & your friend’s details on a landing page.

The experience highlighted two important cliches:

The Problem

Brian Balfour writes a great piece demanding modern marketers make sure they nail the basics before going deep: user psychology, data analytics, quant modeling & storytelling.

Audiences are begging for a traditional &personalised storytelling to recapture their imagination.

They’re smarter & find it easier to switch off. Digital marketing channels are also bountiful & easy to access, making the consumer world a noisy place.

Yes, you can change the creative to make it more exciting. Yes, you can experiment with new found channels to optimise your results.

But truly moving the needle forward is tough to nail. You have to tell a good story. Supercell are the masters of it (their Finnish roots help).

The following is an overused statistic, but remains an easy way to illustrate the issue:

“Half of U.S. smartphone users download zero apps per month.”

Standing out. Convincing people to use or buy. It’s a big challenge.

The masters of storytelling


Dribble is in the business of football & gambling. Since launch, we’ve experienced the rush leading up to the Euros, the post-event love for Leicester’s historic Premier League win & competition finals including the FA Cup & Champions League.

Point? I’ve seen how noisy the football space becomes during these important points in the season. You have to talk to audiences somewhere else & you have to tell a story that people care about.

Christmas is one of those pivotal points in the season that’s packed with games and audiences are bombarded with marketing messaging.

Noise isn’t just a problem for big brands trying to stand out. It’s an issue for smaller players; buying ad space becomes more expensive as return on ad spend is higher, driving competition.

Go back to the basics. Do something no one expects.

Why marketing becomes noisy during Christmas

Force them to take notice

In a “gunman entering a room” scenario, marines are told not to run for the exit, but to charge. Hans Rosling, teacher to the likes of Bill & Melinda Gates to Fidel Castro, echoes the same; “the risk is higher if you run than if you face them.”

Why? The gunman doesn’t expect it. It catches him off guard, making them stop & think for a split second, giving the defendant a chance to make their move.

Making your target hesitate, catching them off guard for that split second, is the difference between winning and losing in any scenario. Whether it’s war or marketing.

They’re going to expect Christmas styled Facebook ads. They’re going to expect Christmas email offers. They’re going expect a bombardment of Christmas TV ads.

What they’re not expecting is being hand delivered free beer directly from their friends with handwritten notes.

It’s hard to do. Not many want to put the effort in. But if you can do it right, expect big rewards.

Handwritten with a cherry on top…

Execute quickly & get it done

i.) Find a partner.

  • An established brand in the same space speeds up execution increases potential reach & opens doors to networks for seeding purposes. We’d wanted to work with the guys at MatchPint for a while, so reaching out to Mark Weston there was an easy choice.

  • Quick situational changes & scarce resources hold true for both. We met once a week to brainstorm, plan & spend an hour working together for a month. I’d recommend this to anyone partnering up for the first time. You’ll find out very quickly if you work well together. Invest in the relationship early on, increase your chance of bigger campaigns later.

ii.) Get stuff for free

  • Resources at startups are scarce but hustle is renewable. Challenging myself to run a campaign with close to zero spend helped me enter the mindset of being careful with my marketing budget in the future.
  • Sambrook’s Brewery thought it was an awesome idea & jumped on board, providing 250 free beers to send across the city.

iii.) Come out with a bang

  • We seeded by setting aside a batch of beers to send to influencers across London at the same time. We knew these pre-selected guys would love the idea, share on social & more importantly, write about it.
  • It just so happened that someone was Joe.co.uk, one of the biggest traffic generating sites for men’s culture in the UK. The campaign took off after this.
  • v.) Being different

  • Again, hustle is the cheapest but biggest impact resource you own. Myself, Mark & Pete from MatchPint spent hours into the night scribbling the names and (mostly) heartfelt Christmas messages on everyone’s notes.
  • Did we spend on delivery? You guessed it, not a penny. We prepared in advance & set aside times during the day where we would cycle around London to deliver the brews ourselves.

It works

Everyone I personally delivered a beer to was taken aback for just a split second, smiled, and loved it.

It led to happy Tweets.

It led to thank you emails.

It led to companies reaching out and wanting to do campaigns with us.

Throwing people off guard and surprising them with something that other people think is a waste of time. That’s how you win in a shouting match.

“That’s all great”, you’re probably thinking, “but where’s the big impact?”

We made sure to capture emails on the sign-up page & using a FB retargeting pixel.

Point? The campaign itself was a primer. We primed our audience with Christmas cheer and joy.

So when we eventually retarget them with Dribble, they’ll remember that time Yousif from Dribble hand delivered them a beer with a Santa hat on.

And they’ll be much more likely to try it out.