Stealth Marketing 101

If you’re looking for a creative way to build some buzz around your company, then you should explore how other companies around you are using stealth marketing. With stealth marketing, organizations engage in a form of unexpected or unannounced marketing that includes product placement or other ways of improving a brand’s image. Have you ever wondered why the cast on your favorite show is always eating the same brand of cereal, or how everyone in that movie is always using the same type of phone? Stealth marketing happens a lot in Hollywood, but you don’t have to have a massive marketing budget to pull something off. It can happen on a much smaller scale locally, where the effective placement of products of logos can win consumer mindshare and generate leads.

Companies love using stealth marketing because, in general, it’s a lot more affordable than other mainstream marketing channels. Whether it’s product placement, the way a brand is featured or mentioned, or even the setting, stealth marketing is a nice tool to have in your kit to build some buzz around your products.

When to Use Stealth Marketing

Stealth marketing is most effective when you know you have a winner. It’s used by smaller companies all the time who have a terrific product but not necessarily the outsized budget to push it out over traditional marketing channels. New tech startups, for instance, use the stealth placement of products to create a strong initial audience who can then handle the word of mouth marketing to make it grow faster says Ross Kernez of Starta Venture. A lot of new tech, like phones, are introduced to the market that way. In the past, tech companies have hired actors to visit high profile locations or frequent popular spots and showcase the phone. Before you know it, it’s in people’s heads. We all know how much people love getting the hottest and newest gadget, so all it takes is a little stealth marketing to help something catch on.

If your company has a great new product that you know is a winner, then stealth marketing is a perfect strategy. You can build an almost cult-like buzz around something rather than more of an in-your-face approach some conventional marketing platforms have.

Building Your Stealth Marketing Plan

One of the keys to stealth marketing is knowing who your customer is. If you’re marketing to seniors, you don’t want to organize a stealth campaign at your local university. The best stealth marketing teams put in a lot of work before launching any campaign. They conduct customer surveys and read through market data to find their opportunity. They know who their customers are and where to find them. That’s critical to product placement because you want people in your demographic to see the product. You don’t place a product for teens in a soap opera.

What’s Next?

Your stealth marketing plan needs to include what happens next. You’ve pulled off some incredible product placement and see the traffic on your site start to spike. You’re getting more inquiries about that product people keep seeing. What now? You should decide whether you want the product to stay stealthy or come out into the limelight. Many companies eventually transition to marketing stealthy products in the mainstream. They begin marketing on:

  • Social Media
  • Broadcast Media
  • Search Engines
  • Affiliate Outlets
  • Print Media
  • Video Platforms

Sometimes companies choose to keep their products stealthy. They want to keep the buzz around a product going.

How you decide to act after a stealth marketing campaign will have an impact on your brand image as well, so the decision needs to be made carefully.

Advertising Where There are No Ads

In the era of DVR and clicking to skip ads, getting your products in front of people on traditional marketing platforms can be a challenge. Stealth marketing is a nice workaround for companies that are willing to put in work to present their products more covertly. Stealth marketing is more natural to the consumer, and it’s typically not met with the same type of resistance to marketing efforts on some other channels. Even when they do notice, your customers will likely appreciate the creative lengths you have gone to in showing the benefits of your products.

The way the products are presented also appears as more lifelike instead of the highly-manicured advertisements on TV or radio. Some customer demographics enjoy this type of natural advertising. It comes off as being authentic and more relatable. People can envision themselves using the products because they’ve seen them in a more realistic scenario.

If you’re a company exploring new ways to market your products or increase your brand awareness, think about how you can use stealth marketing to your advantage. There are many examples of successful stealth marketing available online that can help you with some ideas.