Programmatic and guerrilla marketing: the perfect blend

By May 12, 2016General

You might not think it, but programmatic and guerrilla marketing are a great fit. Loads of things are automated today – from shopping, to driving (the folks at google are currently testing their self-driving cars). And the same is happening in the marketing world, thanks to programmatic advertising.

If you’re not familiar with the concept, you soon will be, as it’s being touted as the future of online advertising. Why? Because the advertising industry is also on a march toward automation, and that’s exactly what programmatic is.

What is programmatic advertising?

Programmatic media buying, marketing and advertising is the algorithmic purchase and sale of advertising space in real time. During this process, software is used to automate the buying, placement, and optimisation of media inventory via a bidding system.

This means that advertisers are able to buy digital ads without speaking to a single human being at a media company.

The human touch

Programmatic is a proposition that’s proved overwhelmingly persuasive to marketers. eMarketer has predicted that around 70% of total digital display ad spending will be via programmatic this year.

While this is an impressive statistic, some marketers argue that our love affair with programmatic means we’ve tipped marketing too far towards the numbers, and are missing opportunities to deliver creative, inspiring campaigns that only humans can deliver.

It may be that to achieve optimum results from programmatic, marketers need to integrate programmatic and creative. Campaigns need to be personalised and relevant to individuals throughout their customer journey, and also stand out from the crowded advertising landscape. We can’t rely on robots to do this just yet.

This is where the seemingly unlikely alliance of programmatic and guerrilla marketing comes in. A campaign combining the two enables brands to enjoy the cost and accuracy benefits of programmatic, with the added spice that only ‘guerrilla’ marketing can provide.

Guatemalan shoe store Meat Pack’s ‘Hijack’ campaign shows how guerrilla tactics can be complemented by data-driven insights, to customise a campaign for each consumer.

The brand created an app using GPS tracking technology to recognise potential buyers entering a competitor’s store. This triggered a special notice offering a promotion for Meat Pack. The discount started at 99% and decreased by a percentage with every second that passed.

The countdown sent people rushing to the Meat Pack store – the faster they got there, the better discount they received. All discounted merchandise was sold in record time.

The innovative blend of automation and creative guerrilla marketing attracted the attention of 600 consumers, and put the small brand on the map.

Hotcow is a non-traditional creative agency that specialises in experiential marketing that goes viral. Our campaigns generate buzz through crowd participation, PR and content sharing. Contact us on 0207 5030442 or email us on