Let’s be clear. Before anyone reads the title and just starts shouting on social media (yes Twitter, I’m looking at you), I’m NOT saying that guerilla marketing is ALL bad. However, when it comes to guerilla marketing in crypto, well, let’s just say it leaves a lot to be desired. What do I mean? I’m glad you asked.

What is Guerilla Marketing?

According to Investopedia, guerrilla marketing is:

“a marketing tactic in which a company uses surprise and/or unconventional interactions in order to promote a product or service.”

Let’s stay focused on the unconventional interactions for the sake of this post. Unconventional interactions can be things like, jumping in the comments of other people’s live videos. Finding spaces where your audience is already engaged (maybe with another brand or creator) and following/tagging & reaching out to them directly.

A lot of these guerilla marketing tactics include a personal touch, albeit an invasive one usually. Let’s face it, you didn’t pop over to see your favourite content creator, just to get “shilled at” the entire time by people trying to push a particular token or NFT project. Am I right?

Guerilla Marketing in Crypto: The Bad

Earlier today I watched a live stream from Binance’s CZ, talking about… I can’t remember exactly, something to do with NFTs and sport. I don’t always “attend” these live events for the actual content. I’m interested in how people are engaging with and communicating around these events.

For most of the live broadcast, there were a couple of dozen accounts that systematically, and continuously, pushed a particular token, asking the same questions I remember seeing again and again back in 2017.

“When XYZ token?” or “When XYZ Token listed?”

Now, I could be wrong. There may well have been 2 dozen people, who all wanted to learn more about CZ’s plans for NFTs in Sports, but they also just really really wanted to know when this XYZ token was going to be listed.

But more likely is that this was a farm of some sort, pushing out content, again and again and again to try to make some headway for a project.

Why is this a problem?

Most of these “farm” service providers market themselves as growth hackers, and guerilla marketers. In reality they are about as guerilla as the teenager living in Hempstead in London walking around with a Che T -shirt.

Yes, we all know the ones I’m referencing.

What does this actually do for the space as a whole? Well, it makes it look scammy, spammy and… can’t think of another adjective to describe it that starts with an S oh wait, well SHIT to be honest.

It’s the sort of behaviour that pushes the space back and makes people that haven’t entered yet feel wary. And I think they’re right to feel wary. It’s filled with scammers, bots and fake accounts trying desperately to swindle you at every move. (And YES, I know the real world is very similar, but most people feel like they’ve got a grip on not giving out their pin number now. Not quite the same when you give them a super secret list of 12 words that they mustn’t lose.)

Bounty Hunters, AirDrops and Other “Guerilla Marketing” Tactics

When it comes to starting a project, I know better than most how hard it can be to build a community. Sometimes, going from 0 to 100 followers is harder than going from 100k-200k. But here’s what happens when the “growth hackers” start guerilla-ing their way around the space.

Projects get 10k initial followers – all of whom are only interested in one thing – FREE TOKENS.

So they sign up, they follow Twitter, they like and retweet, it’s fantastic. The Social Media managers sit back and think they’ve made it to Shangri-La. Until, that is, the airdrop or bounty programme is finished.

Then what happens? Tumbleweed. You’ve built a community of 10k people, 9,995 or whom couldn’t give a shit about your project or what you’re trying to build.

Subsequently, what happens is this: new people come along, they see a big number of followers, almost NO interaction on your content, and zero chat in your community. (Yeah, we’ve all seen it, it’s not a unique situation). Not a good look, is it?

Is there a better way?

Guerilla Marketing for me used to be exciting. It didn’t involve someone doing weird and dodgy shit to your Twitter account only to end up with you getting temporarily banned. (True story – we’ve tried out a lot of these so-called guerilla marketing services).

The old analogy is:

“Slow and Steady wins the race.”

I know, I know. This is crypto. No one has time for slow and steady. We need to be speed dating, chugging Red Bulls and chewing on Ginseng root, all whilst making magic happen, time and time again.

Quick wins seldom last long. Ask everyone who invested in Squid Token (too soon?). Real projects, real teams, real engagement and connection with the people that will actually use your products in the long run is where the wins actually come from.

If you want to try some guerilla marketing, go get involved with some witty banter with a fast food chain on Twitter (you’d be amazed how good and creative those guys can be).

Or, I guess you could always try to convince Jimmy Fallon to buy one of your NFTs and use it as his Twitter profile picture.

If you’re not sure, try to remember you’re human, and so is everyone else.

Trying to hoodwink, show-off, come across bigger and better than you are can sometimes be useful. But most of the time, especially online, it comes across as disingenuous and people know that.

If you’re going to try some guerilla marketing for crypto, why not start by actually doing something human and nice. Make a pledge to go and shoutout to 100 people every day. Make it a big thing.

Or go and complement 100 smaller Twitter users that are interested in this space. Spread some love and cheer on Twitter. Now those would fit the definition of guerilla marketing:

“a marketing tactic in which a company uses surprise and/or unconventional interactions in order to promote a product or service”.

In fact, scratch that last one. That’s what we’re going to do.

If you want to have a chat about how we could do something different, maybe even better, together, then hit me up or the Social INK team (they’re ALL awesome). You can find me on LinkedIn or alternatively, email me on [email protected]

Chris Bruno
Chris Bruno

Founder & CEO of Social INK, the blockchain marketing agency. Fractional CMO to blockchain projects. All About Digital Marketing Podcast host. Loves all things blockchain, gaming, tech, NFTs and is impatiently waiting for the metaverse to get here.