Although the CPG food and beverage industry is one of the evergreen industries (because people are always hungry somewhere), it also makes it one of the most competitive. Getting a food business off the ground is incredibly challenging. Marketing, as with any business, is a crucial aspect of success. However, it might get a bit intimidating seeing other businesses run grand marketing campaigns. Don’t lose hope just because other businesses may have huge budgets. Money certainly helps, but it isn’t necessary to succeed. If anything, a tight budget often leads to the most innovative marketing campaigns. Money is no replacement for creativity, doing the groundwork, and building customer relationships.
Foundations of Guerrilla Marketing
Before you start, make sure you have the following set up right. A guerrilla marketing tactic isn’t much good if your leads don’t know where to find you.
Start a Social Media Page
Social media pages are not only free but also come with a complete arsenal of tools at zero cost. Most social media pages don’t even need any money for upkeep, unlike a website. Several businesses have flourished thanks to social media. It helps that there is so much variety.
Social media is free, flexible, and essential for your online marketing campaigns. Before anything else, get a social media page set up. When one of your tactics works, getting a mention on a viral social media post is an amazing benefit.
Set up a Google Business Profile
Right after social media, this should be your second priority. A Google business profile is the very first thing people see when they search for your business. In there, you need to have all the right information. The profile provides customers with your business’s service options, exact address, business hours, phone number, social media page, and personal website.
Guerilla Marketing Tactics
Guerilla marketing tactics are creative and oftentimes unorthodox ways to advertise your brand. Still, they work well for a reason. They’re far more memorable than conventional marketing, though they can be harder to pull off.
Interact With Influencers
Once you have social media set up, start looking for influencers to interact with. This is a tricky tactic because if done wrong, your business might come off as needy. However, with the right influencers, you’ll come off as witty and might even build a rapport.
For example, KFC’s social media pages are famously known for trading barbs with online celebrities. People don’t often expect brands to be so “unprofessional”, so to speak. Being funny is a great way to make yourself approachable to new customers. Many brands try to do this nowadays, and while humour is subjective, there’s no denying the viral impact when it works.
This is a very abstract way to market your brand, but it’s effective. Get people to talk about your products organically through oddball things around your business or the products themselves. For example, Coca-Cola had its famous name bottle campaign, and it had people excitedly post their names or their loved ones on social media.
Another example would be video content that is just outright weird. For example, the famously terrifying “Little Baby’s Ice Cream” campaign probably got more people aware of the brand than any other marketing campaign. All that video featured was a man covered in ice cream eating himself, so it hardly breaks the bank. Buzz marketing is a strange blend of organic and artificial buzz, so take caution when pursuing this tactic.
Weird Ad Placement
People like to laugh, and one of the funniest things in the world is “coincidences”. For example, a stock site just so happened to have a sponsored ad right next to its graph—the graph connected to form a rollercoaster rocketing down into a Six Flags advertisement. For physical examples, some Snickers ads were found near anger management classes.
Some of these might be coincidental, but a lot more are more intentional than you’d think. Horror franchises love to do this sort of thing too. For example, Stranger Things put “Upside Down” portals in random spots around the city. While you might not have Netflix’s budget, you could certainly place some ads in odd places for some potentially viral posts.
Grassroots marketing is as beneficial as it is noble. Sure, there’s always profit to be had, but the benefit of this is more for your brand’s image. Grassroots marketing involves focusing on a niche and supporting it as much as feasibly possible. Provide catering or snacks for your local events. Sponsor prizes for contests started by an influencer. Offer free samples in relevant places. People who enjoy your product will soon become loyal customers.
Capitalizing on Trends
If something is viral, find a way to implement your products into the hype. Better yet, find a way to make enjoyment of that viral thing a bonus for buying your products. For example, McDonald’s Szechuan Sauce, a formerly obscure promotional condiment, got a huge uptick because of the show Rick and Morty mentioning it.
In response, McDonald’s collaborated with the show to re-release it. It may have worked a bit too well, according to some cringe video compilations. Regardless, your business can very much do the same thing, as long as you keep your eyes open. If an influencer happens to talk about your brand, find a way to collaborate with them.
These are only some of the oddball marketing strategies to level up your CPG business. There are dozens of tactics you’ll be learning along the way. The difference is that these tactics have been tried and tested before. To learn some more conventional ways to improve your business, check out our CPG blog here.