One of the marketing techniques that has been around for a long time is ‘Word of Mouth‘—also referred to as ‘buzz marketing‘ and ‘referral marketing.’ Stealth marketing is one of the tactics employed in the word-of-mouth marketing approach. So what is stealth marketing?
Stealth marketing, also known as undercover marketing or buzz marketing, is a promotional strategy that subtly integrates marketing messages or products into non-promotional contexts to create buzz, generate curiosity, and stimulate word-of-mouth advertising. It aims to engage consumers without realizing they are being marketed to, thus creating a more organic and authentic experience.
We’d like to see what stealth marketing is and how to implement it.
- 1 What is Stealth Marketing?
- 2 Fundamental Strategies for Stealth Marketing
- 3 Objectives of Stealth Marketing
- 4 Conclusion
- 5 FAQs
What is Stealth Marketing?
Stealth Marketing is a marketing technique where a product, service, or brand is advertised to people without letting them know that the product is being marketed to them.
It is a very effective marketing technique and generally costs less than other marketing techniques. Among the various ways to stealth market a product, undercover marketing and product placement are the most popular.
Undercover marketing is a sublet of guerilla marketing tactics. A famous example is where large paw prints of a gorilla were created on famous beaches in the country as a part of the marketing strategies for the film ‘King Kong.’ These paw prints sensationalized the movie on social media and kept it a trending topic until its theatrical release.
Stealth marketing creates curiosity and excitement around the intended product or service. Hence it is also known as ‘buzz marketing’ due to this. This curiosity around the product makes the consumer more prone to be positively affected by direct marketing techniques in the future.
Stealth marketing also has some ethical implications that the company should look out for. This is due to the inherent objective of stealth marketing that changes the perspective of a person without their knowledge.
Fundamental Strategies for Stealth Marketing
Two basic fundamental strategies will help you create a stealth marketing campaign. They are as follows:
1. Product Placement
Product placement is one of the most basic and standard techniques to stealthily market a product or service. It is a non-traditional marketing technique that uses influential figures such as actors, musicians, sports players, and celebrities to influence the mindset of the common public. Generally, product placement uses cinema, tv series, OTT content, and other media outlets for advertising or promoting a product.
In product placement strategy, instead of directly advertising the product through commercials or ads, the company will pay the media outlet to strategically place their product in a crucial scene of the movie or series.
For example, an automobile manufacturer could ask the media content creator to use their car in a car chase scene. They can also specify if they want the lead hero or villain to use the vehicle in the chase.
A real-life scenario for product placement would be how almost all the characters in a Korean TV drama use Samsung phones.
2. Undercover Marketing
As the name suggests, undercover marketing aims to introduce a new product to a customer such that it doesn’t register as an advertisement to the customer. In this technique, an actor or marketing agent presents or promotes the product naturally, and the consumer remains none the wiser about the marketing push.
It is also a widespread practice to employ influential people or people in positions of power for undercover marketing campaigns. The campaign can be as simple as using the product in public or just referring the product to someone in the crowd.
As with all marketing strategies, growing internet usage has also affected undercover marketing. It is common for companies to pay other companies or people to promote their products online.
They can give preferential treatment to the product and generate good reviews on e-commerce websites. Companies can also sponsor content creators, such as on YouTube, to create a positive product review video.
Objectives of Stealth Marketing
Every business strategy employed to develop the business has some objective. As mentioned above, stealth marketing differs greatly from traditional marketing strategies, which only aim to increase product or service sales. The main goals of employing stealth marketing tactics are:
1. Word of Mouth
Word of mouth is essential for any company or brand. Any company or brand must command certain respect in the market, and word of mouth is crucial to maintain this standard of care and belief in the company.
Word of Mouth marketing turns your consumer into a salesperson or promoter of your brand or product without any direct cost to the company. Stealth marketing creates a buzz around your product or brand and influences people to talk about it. This creates an awareness of the product and makes people more susceptible to direct marketing strategies.
Some people ignore all the advertisements and marketing ploys made by the company and only rely on the recommendations of their friends and family. In such cases, it is more beneficial to employ stealth marketing due to its ability to generate word-of-mouth publicity.
2. Improve consumer reaction to other marketing strategies
One of the main objectives of stealth marketing is to create a favorable image of the brand or company. This helps build a long-lasting relationship with the consumer and ultimately helps customer retention. Stealth marketing also makes people more susceptible to subsequent marketing techniques employed by the company.
3. Generating awareness and curiosity regarding the product
Stealth marketing tactics create awareness regarding any new product launched by the company. They also produce a buzz around the product and help facilitate the spread of word of mouth. Lifecycle Marketing’s main aim is to create awareness among the public about the product.
Stealth marketing is a very cost-effective way to promote your product or brand. The beauty of this approach lies in its ability to instill or change consumers’ perceptions without them noticing it. The customer also finds the product or brand more reliable due to word-of-mouth marketing facilitated by stealth marketing techniques.
So next time you spot a brand in a movie or someone you just met starting to promote a particular product, you will know they are trying to advertise the product to you stealthily.
What are the advantages of Stealth Marketing?
A: Some of the advantages of stealth marketing are:
- Building awareness and curiosity regarding a new product before launch.
- Promoting the product or brand without actually advertising.
- Create a favorable image of the brand or company.
- Building a long-lasting relationship with the consumer.
- costs less as compared to other marketing methods.
What are the disadvantages of stealth marketing?
A: Some believe that if not appropriately used, stealth marketing can be unethical. This is because the consumer is unaware they are being targeted as an audience for promoting a particular product. If not handled properly, it can further damage the brand's reputation and cause a loss of credibility. So companies should be cautious of how they create their stealth marketing campaign.