An indirect way of marketing products, stealth marketing focuses on creating buzz among the audience as a whole without letting people realize that products are actually being marketed to them. It can be done in many ways like creating the buzz in the social media platforms where people jump into tags, comments and discussions regarding the product; product showcases in malls; live audience interactions on promotion events and many more.
Here, consumers go with the flow and by default develop a keen interest in the commodity. Further, the environment, in which marketing is conducted, plays a significant role in seeding curiosity in the minds of people about the particular product.
Due to the nature of promoting and marketing products, it is also known as undercover or guerrilla marketing. Marketers implement stealth marketing strategy to attract people in large numbers and influence them to develop the interest in the commodity. In this case, immediate sales are not the priority.
What is Stealth Marketing or Undercover Marketing?
Stealth marketing, also known as undercover marketing or buzz marketing, is a form of advertising that uses subtle methods to reach customers.
Stealth marketing techniques often involves using word-of-mouth marketing (such as through referrals) to spread awareness of a company’s products or services. It can also involve using indirect methods to promote a product without making it obvious to the consumer that they are being marketed to.
The goal of stealth marketing is to create an indirect message about your product or service that does not appear to be advertising. For example, if you are trying to sell a new kind of dog food at the pet store, you might place free samples on the counter where people shop for their dogs’ food. If they try it and like it, then they will come back and buy more from the same brand.
Examples of Stealth Marketing
Here are a few stealth marketing examples over traditional marketing campaigns.
1. Showcasing Products\Brands through Movies and Sports
Of all guerrilla stealth marketing campaign tactics, this is perhaps the best way to attract audience towards a specific product. From showing products in relevant movie scenes to creating hype in prime sports events like T20 matches, World Cups, etc. it works wonders for appealing to a larger audience.
2. Online Forums
Virtual communications in forums increase consumer attention towards the product. It engulfs people in a positive spirit and makes them naturally interested in the commodity. Such forums hold the power to encourage millions of consumers in having a consensus for a product or service.
3. Product Promotions and Showcase in Malls
Whether it is pre or post-launch; displaying products in malls, engaging customers and going live with their feeds help in spreading awareness and increasing interest in the audience. Of late, 3D model showcases have evolved as a trend and marketers are witnessing marvelous response from visitors.
4. Tasting Events
From cakes to wines, tasting experiences have a tendency to directly develop a positive image of the product and not just mere interest. When people taste anything, they instantly feel that they have got something few-of-cost and therefore make up mind to pay and purchase the product is available on the spot.
Strategies of Stealth Marketing
There are many strategies that companies use to market their products. Some of these strategies include:
1. Product Placement
Product placement is a form of stealth marketing efforts in which a product or service is integrated into a movie, television program, song or other media platform. The placement must be subtle enough that it does not distract from the entertainment experience.
Product placements can be found in many different types of media outlets including movies, television shows and music videos.
2. Undercover Marketing
Undercover marketing is a form of stealth marketing that involves creating an event or experience that will attract people to a certain product or service without their realizing that they are being marketed to.
The goal of this particular marketing approach is to create an experience so enjoyable that people will want to experience it again without realizing there was an underlying motive behind it all along.
For example, if you see a billboard along the highway advertising some kind of product or service, it’s probably not really an ad but instead just an advertisement disguised as something else (like an ad for a movie).
Advantages of Stealth Marketing
Here are a few advantages of stealth marketing (buzz marketing) over direct advertising.
1. Create Pre-launch Interest in Product
Stealth marketing is a boon for pre-launch product promotion. It facilitates marketers to grab the mindshare of target group and make them crave for the product.
As a result, people become impatient for the launch and the moment it happens they jump in crowds to take their share, no matter the price. This further helps the company to receive short-term profits- something that is unusual for usual businesses.
However, while carrying out undercover stealth marketing, marketers must be careful enough to plan their strategies so that it will generate continuous buzz in the market.
2. Promote Product without Advertising
The advertising sector is so saturated that registering ads is a far away concept; people simply don’t bother to look at ads. Hence, a lateral way to draw attention is by means of stealth marketing. Considering its uniqueness and unconventional presentation, the audience gets swayed and pull others in return; thus forming a consumer chain.
Hence, on an average where a first-time advertisement gets noticed by a few people, stealth marketing has the power to captivate thousands if not more.
3. Develop Strong Consumer Base
Undercover stealth marketing aims to give the marketers an opportunity to understand the consumer group who will be more attracted towards the commodity.
It may so happen that brand developers have an audience profile which might not come true in real world. Hence, by showcasing products or creating buzz, the company will know about the potential target audience who are more likely to purchase the product.
Moreover, while conducting stealth marketing, marketers can eliminate errors in their strategy and filter the most appropriate target group for their commodity.
4. Build Brand Image
Stealth marketing is undoubtedly the first step towards building a strong brand image among the masses. The consumer-brand linkage does not stop at developing interest. It further moves on to brand association then brand recall and finally becoming a loyal customer.
All these become possible only when consumers have a first-time good impression of the product or brand. It is made so by putting into practice such a unique method of propaganda.
While implementing guerrilla stealth marketing strategies, marketers can easily do away with repetitive advertisement exposure. This saves a lot of costs and avoids unnecessary expenditure.
Secondly, they need not shoot in studios or posh locations with extraordinary background and all that jazz. Instead, they can make simple videos using ad heroes or icons, whose presence shall be a medium to seed interest among viewers. This further cut down costs to minimum expense.
Finally, although it requires a tactful approach, it saves a lot of time and effort of the marketers. At the same time, it is more hassle-free and convenient. Above all, it ensures optimum utilization of stealth marketing budget as buzz and hypes are sure to bring people closer to the brand.
Disadvantages Of Undercover Marketing
Here are a few disadvantages of stealth marketing that every marketer should know about.
1. May not be entirely ethical
Stealth marketing, in some cases, can be unethical. Some companies have been known to use stealth marketing as a way to spam people with unwanted content on social media. This is something that is not only annoying to consumers but can result in legal repercussions for the company engaging in such behavior.
2. Encourages spamming
Another disadvantage of stealth marketing is that it encourages spamming. The goal of any good marketing campaign is to raise brand awareness and reach the largest number of customers possible while also providing them with relevant information that they will find interesting or useful.
However, stealth marketing can lead to over-saturation of content which is seen as spam by consumers and can lead to them blocking all future messages from your company’s social channels or even worse, reporting your account for harassment or abuse if they feel like their privacy has been violated by the type of content being sent their way without consent first.
3. Slower growth
Stealth marketing is more expensive than other types of marketing, so it can take longer to get results. This means that your business will grow more slowly than if you were using other forms of advertising.
4. Not all ads will be noticed
Because stealth marketing is less visible than other forms of advertising, not all ads will be noticed by consumers. This can result in wasted money on ads that don’t reach their target audience and make a difference in sales or awareness of your brand.
Types of Stealths Marketing
These are the two types of stealth marketing or undercover marketing tactics.
For Industry Goods
PR campaigns for B2B goods indirectly convince businessmen about the utility of a particular commodity. Testimonials of relatable business contacts and peers strengthen brand and product image within the industry. Press and news releases, which is often a part of PR campaign, also adds credibility to the brand and enhances brand value in the business community.
For Consumer Goods
There are ad heroes who become a medium to create buzz. For example, when a sports icon or film star starts talking about the product, which is indifferent from conventional advertising, it not only draws the attention of the fans but also the mind of the general public. Here, the heroes are paid to express their real-life experience of using a particular product or service.
As it is more real in nature, people start believing it and develop a quick interest in trying out the commodity and stealth marketing.
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