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What is The Stealth Marketing: Example, Techniques, Advantages And Disadvantages

Stealth Marketing, Users, Risks, Strategies, Advantages

Stealth is a little bit confusing for some people and they ask “What is Stealth Marketing”?. So I like to answer like: 

Sony Ericsson brought a new mobile phone to the market in 2002. At that time, it became one of the first companies that produced such a type of mobile phone.

The phone was of a cellular type, and the speciality of it was, that it had a digital camera peripheral. The phone was called T68i.

However, SonyStealth MarketingEricsson knew that this model of their product was absolutely a combination of such novel technologies that almost all of the people belonging to the customer segment didn’t really have any idea how exactly to even use this phone.

And, that obviously puts a threat to the way the product is successful for the brand.

In such a complicated situation, the problem that needed some kind of unconventional method of marketing was finally solved.

The marketers of Sony Ericsson did something so amazing that it became one of the most well-known examples of stealth marketing all over the world for a huge period of time. 

Still, it’s considered to be a revolutionary approach to marketing a product while people, who are being marketed, don’t have any idea what is exactly happening or how they are being persuaded to buy a product or use a service without them knowing it specifically.

We will come back to Sony Ericsson’s marketing tactic later, but first, let’s have some basic idea about what stealth marketing is with the proper definition:

What is Stealth Marketing?

When we see a TVC, we clearly can visualize the marketing effort that a brand is making. We can understand a product is being advertised when we see it on a billboard.

But surprisingly, we won’t be able to identify it when a company is doing stealth marketing to you. Because the very concept of this type of marketing is to do without the understanding of those to whom this is being done. This marketing is also called undercover marketing. 

Moreover, People also know stealth marketing as Buzz Marketing sometimes, since the motive or the main purpose of stealth marketing is to create a buzz about a product.

Unlike most other marketing strategies that are done usually, when a company starts doing stealth marketing, it doesn’t really want to increase the sale of a particular product immediately rather it wants to be done with the actions and tactics of stealth marketing.

There will be such a massive amount of excitement and interest in the product that the potential customers will be more receptive when direct marketing strategies will be applied.

Stealth marketing can be done by following many procedures. Among them, product placement and undercover marketing are the most common ones.

It doesn’t really matter which specific approach of stealth marketing a company is undertaking, the thing that matters in the context is that this marketing strategy will effectively raise a huge amount of awareness among the people for a product that is comparatively new in the market and hasn’t been marketed widely. 

What is Stealth Marketing?

Definition of Stealth Marketing: 

Stealth marketing is a process to promote a brand without the acknowledgement of the people. That marketing is interlinked with the content in TV shows actors drink a bottle of water and water is the product of a brand.    

Stealth Marketing Example: How Sony Ericsson Was Successful?

What Sony Ericsson brought to the market at that time was something with which most of the people in the world were not at all very familiar.

It was a complicated technology and naturally, people would feel very intimidated by it if the marketing strategy was following normal or traditional procedures instead of something creative and astonishing.

So, Sony Ericsson instigated a viral effect using 60 actors in 10 major cities in the world. Those actors presented themselves as common people like tourists, couples etc. in front of the others, and asked strangers on the roads and streets to help them take a picture.

Stealth Marketing Example: How Sony Ericsson Was Successful?

Can you imagine which tool those actors gave the strangers to take the photos? You are absolutely right, it is nothing but a camera phone made by Sony Ericsson.

The actors helped the strangers to get the procedures on how to take a picture with it and also other features of the phone.

As a result of doing this campaign, people started talking a lot about the unique experience they had with the new technology, a phone that can also be used as a camera.

Now, if Sony Ericsson didn’t do this amazing unconventional marketing activity, there was a possibility that lots of people would not be very interested in using the phone because it is a whole new technology-based tool about which people have no idea.

So, Sony Ericsson at first drew the attention of the mass by using the actors and then proceeded with further marketing activities.

The campaign by Sony Ericsson was largely considered to be a very successful one since the sales of the phone were really high in that year in several countries all over the world.

Users of Stealth Marketing

For those who use stealth marketing, there are lots of varieties out there. Usually, companies that can afford to undertake multiple advertising initiatives for marketing a product are more likely to use stealth marketing.

Big companies use stealth marketing so that they can initially create a buzz among the customers and let them know that something big, something new is coming.

Once the hype is created, they start making other types of marketing moves after releasing a product, and since they were already able to get the attention of the mass, the chances of the later marketing tactics being successful get increase.

However, it’s not like big corporations are the only ones to use stealth marketing, the smaller companies might also get involved in stealth marketing as well.

Even they can use non-traditional marketing campaigns at all and rather use stealth marketing without extensive marketing resources to raise awareness of a product.

Fashion entrepreneur Daymond John’s first campaign for the FUBU clothing line can be considered in this scenario. Since he had no operating budget at all then and also was unable to access any kind of traditional marketing strategies, he requested hip hop stars Run DMC and LL Cool to wear FUBU clothing during concerts and appearances on MTV.  By doing it, Daymond John was successful to gain a huge audience and the campaign of stealth marketing was also successful.

Stealth Marketing: The Risk

Before you dive into stealth marketing stuff, you should know the fact that it’s really not totally risk-free. Sometimes it’s possible that backlash arises, instead of the expected amount of positive customer attention or awareness regarding the product.

Mainly it happens when the customers get to know about the fact that they are being marketed before they are supposed to know it.

By being aware of stealth marketing of a product too soon, the customers might not react the way you expect them to, so you better keep that under consideration.

Creating a Stealth Marketing Strategy and Techniques 

Now that you have a basic idea about stealth marketing, it’s time to start crafting your own stealth marketing campaigns. However, there are some very common steps that you might want to follow before initiating the campaign.

Creating a Stealth Marketing Strategy and Techniques 

First of all, just like the other types of marketing strategies, you must have a clear view and idea about your customer, who they are, in which platform they are most active, which mode of communication they are most familiar etc.

This is the information that you need to know about your customer so that you can move on further, so the first task is to start collecting all the necessary data to draw a picture of your customer demographic.

Once you are done with the collection of the data, now you have got to start thinking about what type of content you are going to provide to your customer or what type of product placement scenario you are going to design so that your customer can get to know about your product.

Find out what is the most appropriate way to introduce the product to the consumers and raise a massive amount of awareness in this process.

Stealth marketing is a strategy that can go on on its own or you might want to create it as a foundation for other marketing campaigns for the product.

2 Fundamental  Stealth Marketing Techniques

These 2 techniques most of the time are used in stealth marketing. We can say this is the core of stealth marketing or undercover marketing methods. So, without wasting time let’s see those techniques: 

Undercover Marketing 

Undercover marketing is a technique to promote a product without telling or directly encouraging people to purchase its product.

Even if they don’t say what is good or bad about the product, rather they choose an influential person who uses this particular product and gets benefits out of it. 

For Example: In the movie, an actor uses an Apple computer for his official or personal work. 

Product Placement 

Product placement is a well-known method in the marketing industry. However, it is a non-traditional advertising process where big companies promote their brand via popular actors, players, musicians or famous people to influence people to know that particular brand.

For Example: In movies, actors order food from McDonald’s, and from time to time various movies do product placement marketing.

In addition, sometimes brands promote their product in real life like a player playing a game and he wears a hand watch or he regularly wearing the same brand shoe.   

Advantages And Disadvantages of Stealth Marketing

Advantages And Disadvantages of Stealth Marketing

Stealth marketing is different from other marketing methods. Plenty of the time we have seen marketing but most people aren’t familiar with the marketing. 

To do that marketing companies see some of the pros and cons of stealth marketing.so, before driving into this marketing let’s see what are the pros and cons of stealth marketing:  

Advantages of Stealth Marketing

Stealth marketing might seem a bit risky sometimes, but no one can ignore all the positive outcomes it brings with the risk being undertaken:

Advantages of Stealth Marketing

Creation of Pre-launch Interest for the Product

If done appropriately, stealth marketing is supposed to create a massive buzz about a particular product before it is even launched.

In those cases, the customers literally get impatient about the product and the moment it gets released, people start hurrying to the shops to buy it as soon as possible.

However, the marketers need to be careful enough to design the campaign in such a way so that the buzz continues for a specific amount of time.

Promotion of the product without Advertisement

Stealth marketing is not about traditional advertisements of products, which is not even that effective nowadays, considering the fact that people often ignore these types of marketing activities.

Stealth marketing, on the other hand, is unique and presented unconventionally, which is more likely to draw the attention of the consumers and make them bring others to the market as potential buyers of the product. 

Cost Efficiency

For stealth marketing campaigns or activities, the use of studios, posh locations, extraordinary backgrounds and all the other expensive stuff is not needed, it can be done with far less budget and yet it can generate high value and a strong customer base.

Disadvantages of Stealth Marketing

Maybe it is quite surprising to have the disadvantage of stealth marketing isn’t it as it is undercover marketing? The question is how can it create problems as it works under the salter of the main content. So, here are some disadvantages of stealth marketing. 

Disadvantages of Stealth Marketing

People May Not Give Too Much Attention

Once people understate brands give various types of misleading ads then they will lose interest in the product or service you are giving. In that situation, Definitely, the company gets the minimum level of attention even if that brand gives them all the accurate and proper products. 

In marketing, the key factor is trust that every brand is looking for year after year working there. And once you do something bad all your marketing processes will be closed. 

Lawfully Dubious Acts

According to the jurisdictions law of the European Union, You can do stealth marketing or undercover marketing.

Those sorts of marketing are forbidden there and this marketing is called grey marketing in legal terms. To run the ads of undercover marketing need to know to be fully aware of local laws regarding the types  of marketing 

Unethical Marketing

Unethical marketing is marketing that misleads customers with attractive promotion marketing from time to time. And According to those ads that company doesn’t fulfil their promise. Moreover, sometimes promotion marketing traps are also called unethical marketing. For Example, some of the companies give a product subscription under $10 for 2 months but on their ads, they don’t mention it even on the landing page. 

Unethical marketing can hurt the branding and service that you are providing. Once customers distrust your company or brand they will not ever look back at your product or service. In addition, they will give bad reviews which also create problems even if you try to give solid products.   

Some of the unethical marketing practices are: 

  • Misleading ads 
  • Collecting information and contacting them without their consent. 
  • Emotional triggering ads 
  • Creating controversial content or ads 

Final Words

Whether stealth marketing is going to be your next marketing tactic depends on you. Just remember the fact that by being intelligent enough in the field of marketing and considering the risk factors carefully, it’s possible to gain extraordinary results by doing stealth marketing of your product. Brands like Mini Cooper, FedEx, Blackberry, Walmart, Starbucks, Sunsilk and many more were able to receive the sweet result of stealth marketing, why won’t you be the next one?