Guerrilla marketing for regulated industries such as the financial sector can be just as fun, engaging, and successful as their counterparts in the entertainment industry. Part of the fun is that those engaging with the content post about it on social media which can help it go viral.

Once reserved for more edgy products and services, guerrilla marketing is becoming a common financial industry marketing technique. Many of the major financial brands are cashing in with this trend and use social media as a way to spread the word about their campaigns.

What is Guerrilla Marketing?

Guerrilla marketing in the financial sector is a marketing technique that generates buzz and engagement with targeted audiences.

What really separates financial industry guerrilla marketing from traditional forms of marketing is the focus on a smaller market segment and the smaller budgets required to run a successful campaign.

Often, successful financial industry guerrilla marketing strategies will leverage the power of influencers such as financial bloggers or local influencers as a catalyst for word-of-mouth buzz about a particular product or service. The content created with or by the influencer has a longer shelf life than your average advertising campaign, and it gives financial brands direct access to ready-made audiences.

Guerrilla marketing campaigns are designed to work smart, not hard (or expensive). They’ll find inspiration from trending internet memes and will paint themselves into the picture, appear where their demographic congregates both on and offline – or leverage the physical environment for maximum efficacy. They break through life’s daily distractions, and they take the buyer’s journey into consideration.

Perhaps best of all – these campaigns can run at an incredibly low cost, and in many cases, at no cost at all.

Benefits of Financial Industry Guerrilla Marketing

To reiterate the points above, the benefits of guerrilla marketing for the financial industry are as follows:

  •        Often cheaper to execute than traditional marketing strategies
  •        Focuses on smaller market segments
  •        Has an element of influencer engagement and borrows existing audiences
  •        Creates unconventional, humorous, and often surprising engagements
  •        Leverages the surroundings of where a campaign takes place
  •        Considers the buyer’s journey to execute at the right place, right time

And nothing spices up a dry industry better than a clever guerrilla marketing campaign.

Successful Examples of Guerrilla Marketing in the Financial Industry

Here’s a collection of guerrilla marketing campaigns from the financial industry – if you have any to add to this list, please be sure to leave a comment at the end of the article and let us know!

WePay’s Giant Block of Frozen Money

In 2010, WePay used the element of surprise and crashed a party of its competitor, PayPal.

In a brilliant tongue-in-cheek display, WePay took it upon themselves to highlight one their competitor’s biggest complaints among their customers at the most inconvenient time –PayPal is notorious for freezing the accounts of its users for a range of reasons, and WePay took this pain point and ran with it.

During a conference held by PayPal at the Moscone Center in San Francisco, the WePay team delivered a massive block of ice containing US currency. Frozen within the block of ice was also the message “PayPal Freezes Your Accounts;”

Marketing Techniques

The campaign was so successful that WePay reported a 300% increase in weekly traffic, and a 250% increase in signups.

Prospera’s Ice Pack Mailer

Starting to see a trend in financial industry guerrilla marketing strategies? In this variation of WePay’s creative guerrilla marketing campaign, Prospera sent out a mailer to 4,500 pre-qualified members of its credit union which contained re-freezable gel ice pack.

Atop the ice pack were the words “Paying taxes is a big headache – that’s why we’re freezing them for 10 years. Introducing the Equity Share Offering from Prospera. Freeze and apply for immediate tax relief!

Every customer that received an ice pack was also served a follow-up phone call and the entire campaign had higher returns than 2 prior traditional marketing campaigns –to the tune of a 143% improvement.

TD and the Automated Thanking Machine (ATM)

TD is no stranger to guerrilla marketing – over the years they’ve doled out free pizza in branded TD boxes, branded umbrellas, have created tools to work with staff to lower their carbon footprint, and have even given new customers a free flat screen TV for opening an account.

And while these are great examples – branding in unusual places — perhaps their best campaign in their entire history is their “Automated Thanking Machine.”

While we aren’t sure how this one translated into profits – we do know that the Canadian banking system is taking a beating this year, and anything that makes customers feel warm, fuzzy, and more likely to stick around amidst negative publicity is probably a smart business decision.

Transferwise Takes a Cue from Dollar Shave Club

In a style made popular by the Dollar Shave Club, Transferwise took that satirical wit and feeling to the financial technology industry.

The 2015 TV spot became an online sensation, with almost 60k views on its own YouTube channel, and thousands more on channels that ripped and re-shared the video.

The ad was incredibly successful and put the financial services company on the radar of many new users and organizations –and it won the Fintech Innovation Award the same year. Not bad for a shiny new company with a limited budget.

First Bank and Love for Small Business

First Bank created a guerrilla marketing campaign that put their small business customers front and center. Literally.

The financial institution promoted the services of their small business customers, free of charge in creatively put them on display throughout selected US states.

Billboards displayed Yellow Pages style ads for their customers’ business –not their own, and the bank also created bulletin boards for business cards they collected from their customers.

The campaign demonstrated the importance they place on the success of their customers, and helped them grow awareness about their focus on small business.

Most notably, the business cards displayed in the subway system were far more visible to onlookers due to the lack of mobile phone reception –a captive audience!

In Summary

Whether it’s corporate social responsibility or biting humor, even regulated financial sector businesses like CMC Markets can wield the power of guerrilla marketing to improve their bottom line and this can be integrated into SEM and taking it to the next level by thinking outside the box when coming up with campaign ideas.