Guerilla Marketing and Word-Of-Mouth Marketing in the Food Industry in Saudi Arabia

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To compete and survive in a highly competitive environment, firms tend to pay attention to the needs of customers through engaging in continuous innovation in every aspect of business activities. The recognition of the need to pay attention to such business aspects has led to an increased focus by researchers and marketing practitioners on market orientation. In the modern business operations, speed and change are among the features that characterize the marketing environment. While consumers have changed, affecting the marketing strategies that micro organizations employ, the rise of new technologies also impact the way such entities carry out their business activities (Marjanova Jovanov and Stojanovski, p. 131). In this regard, the type and nature of marketing strategies employed by a business entity determine its success or failure.

             Notably, many micro-enterprises and micro-entrepreneurs do not often adopt marketing concepts that are at the same level as those applied by large organizations in their pursuit to meet organizational goals and objectives. In most cases, marketing practices that such entrepreneurs use are situation specific and are as well based on inherent micro enterprises’ characteristics such as resource constraints, size, and influence of the micro-entrepreneurs (Marjanova Jovanov and Stojanovski, p. 131). Marketing in micro firms is the simplistic, promotional activities that can be recognized at first sight. Such marketing methods are at times based on traditional concepts. Micro businesses have similar problems when it comes to marketing. Such problems include limited scope, narrow customer base, unplanned activities, and over-reliance on entrepreneur’s competence. Traditional marketing strategies have become ineffective and thus the need to employ more relevant strategies to the current needs of business entities. Therefore, micro-entrepreneurs of the food industry in Saudi Arabia should use of guerilla marketing strategy, word-of-mouth and networking strategies in their quest to reach different consumers.

              Guerrilla marketing entails a marketing tactic where a business entity employs unconventional interactions to promote its products or services. The marketing technique is different from traditional marketing methods because it relies on smaller budgets, personal interaction as well as focuses on small groups of promoters who work towards getting the word about the business to a particular location. The marketing technique fits the micro-entrepreneurs in the food industry in KSA given the nature of their budgets and operations. Besides, guerilla marketing technique relies on energy, creativity and time rather than financial resources for advertising and promotions (Levinson 2007, p.18) and as such, the most important strategy that micro-entrepreneurs in the food industry in Saudi Arabia should use to achieve their marketing goals and in turn realize their generic objectives. The use of these unconventional advertising methods can help Saudi micro-entrepreneurs channel their message to a large number of customers at comparatively lower costs through evoking surprise, diffusion and low-cost effects as shown in the figure 1 below (Hutter and Hoffmann 2011, p. 43).

Figure 1: The Basic Guerrilla Effect

(Source: Hutter and Hoffmann 2011, p. 43)

            Furthermore, micro-entrepreneurs of the food industry in Saudi Arabia should use networking as a marketing strategy while fostering sales and consumption of their services. Networking entails working together in exchanging of ideas, technology and knowledge (Hill 2001, p. 171). In this case, the micro-entrepreneurs should use their personal contact networks as the communication techniques. Through networking or talking to their customers, the businesses find it easy to get close to their customers and as such, respond to their needs faster than large organizations (Hill 2001, p. 171). The conversations that these entrepreneurs have with their customers is what can give them information that they need which can be beneficial in understanding the quality of service they should provide. In addition, the entrepreneurs should use word-of-mouth marketing (WOM) through different publicity activities or administering consumer-to-marketer and consumer-to-consumer communications. The type of marketing is effective as it is triggered by customer experiences.

How the Strategies Could Affect the Firm Performance Regardless of Financial Resources

              The application of the outlined marketing strategies can improve the performance of the food industry in Saudi Arabia despite the inadequate financial resources of their micro-entrepreneurs. Word-of-Mouth Marketing (WOMM) use is different from the natural reference of the word-of-mouth. The technique comes to play as a form of promotion and encouragement and can be effective for many years when used in a calculated manner (Ferguson 2008, p. 179). For instance, when a restaurant offers a wonderful food within a conducive environment with customer experience, a tweet about such an experience by a customer characterizes WOMM technique leading to an increase in the number of customers and improved performance at limited costs. Work of word marketing also characterize recommendations from friends and families leading to improved efficacy of a firm.

             The use of networking, a natural trait that entrepreneurs possess and an essence of day-to-day operations also positively affect the firm performance regardless of financial resources. Through networking, micro-entrepreneurs get accurate feedback about their products and advice needed to develop their businesses (Owens 2007, p. 19). Through networking, the entrepreneurs can engage in full-scale marketing process or maintain their current techniques. The method of marketing help entrepreneurs achieve higher performance and increased sales without having to spend a lot of money on the traditional marketing techniques.

               In line with figure 1 outlined above, Guerrilla marketing can improve the performance of the businesses through diffusion, low cost and surprise effects. The surprise effect builds on the notion that the technique is worth a “second look” (Hutter and Hoffmann 2011, p. 43). The element of surprise in guerrilla marketing is more effective in ensuring that the attention of the consumers is attracted and attached to a specific product or service. When micro-entrepreneurs create campaigns that are different from what is known, a surprise effect is created and sales increases and performance improves. On the other diffusion effect entails spreading the message that gives value back to the businesses. Besides, when the Saudi micro-entrepreneurs place advertising messages through guerilla technique, they are diffused in unconventional and flexible manner hence avoiding heavy advertising costs (Hutter and Hoffmann 2011, p. 44). 


Ferguson, R. (2008). Word of mouth and viral marketing: taking the temperature of the hottest trends in marketing. Journal of consumer marketing, 25(3), pp.179-182.

Hill, J., (2001). A multidimensional study of the key determinants of effective SME marketing activity: Part 1. International Journal of Entrepreneurial Behavior & Research, 7(5), pp.171-204.

Hutter, K. and Hoffmann, S. (2011). Guerrilla marketing: The nature of the concept and propositions for further research. Asian Journal of Marketing, 5(2), pp.39-54.

Levinson, J. C. (2007). Guerrilla Marketing: Easy and Inexpensive Strategies for Making Big Profits from Your SmallBusiness. Houghton Mifflin Harcourt.

Marjanova Jovanov, T. and Stojanovski, M. (2012). Marketing knowledge and strategy for SMEs: Can they live without it?. Thematic Collection of papers of international significance:" Reengineering and entrepreneurship under the contemporary conditions of enterprise business", pp.131-143.

Owens, N. (2007). An examination of the factors hindering Irish SMEs from going global (Doctoral dissertation, Waterford Institute of Technology).

January 19, 2024



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