Lessons learned: $15000 spent on guerrilla offline marketing and no impact!

In this blogpost I want to share experiences with offline marketing events, that I have made with our startup http://www.mercurypuzzle.com.

Our lessons learned from our last offline marketing event:

  1. If you do offline marketing, make sure you collect email addresses or any kind of information about the user. Do not just give him a goody and wait for him to come to you!
  2. If you do a photo competition (or anything similar) make sure your promoters know what they are doing. Sympathy, enthusiasm and charisma are important characteristics that are needed to get a person to actually talk to you! (otherwise you will end up with 60 email addresses)
  3. Motivate your promoters, give them a bonus if they do a good job!
  4. Flyers & stickers are good for brand awareness but do not directly drive users to your website!
  5. If you plan to bring along promotion cars make sure you have a spot to park them, the day BEFORE the event!

This is how we came to the conclusions, that are listed above:

You are CEO of a growing StartUp? Think back to the time, where your startup was right at the launch. At that time you probably didn’t think about anything else, except how you are going spread your baby as fast and cheap as you can! I don’t believe there is many CEO’s that did not visit a website like FlyerAlarm.com or similar, to buy the usual goodies like flyers, stickers or even branded USB-sticks, for offline marketing events.

As www.mercurypuzzle.com is an IT-StartUp that lives of user conversion, we always had a critical view on classic offline marketing events, being afraid people would take the goody, appreciate the event, but would never visit the website. After days of discussion and having read tons of articles, talking about different ways to promote effectively, we could not resist the temptation and ended up ordering tons of stickers, flyers, pencils and to be different to other StartUps: Branded condoms!


Soon we had planned a trip to Berlin, where the largest job-fair of Germany (the Connecticum) was taking place. As we didn’t want to spend thousands of euros extra, just to get a company space inside the fair, we decided to do it the Guerilla way and rented two BMW X1 from sixt and parked them right in front of the entrance. Obviously that wasn’t easy, since the securities did not appreciate our presence at all. After moving the cars twice, we finally found a parking position, that was near enough at the fair to make an impact, but still keeping a distance to the securities. Turning the music up loud, distributing condoms coming along with flyers, we did everything we could, to get masses of our goodies to the people, that were passing us in huge crowds!

Another feature our three promoters were focusing on was our photo competition. We made photos of people, loaded them into a program, that automatically added the MercuryPuzzle mask to them and finally uploaded those onto our facebook page and additionally sent them out to the people via email. In order to win an Ipad, they had to tag themselves on their picture.


At the end of the day we had given out 2000 flyers, 3500 condoms, shot 60 pictures and branded the tram station with over 2300 stickers. At night, we were all very excited to find out what impact we have made and after logging into our Google-Analytics account the only word that was left to say was: FRUSTRATION!

The only real benefit we had were the 60 email addresses we collected with the photo competition! Too bad it was only 60 of them! Next time, we will get more, and especially more experienced promoters!


About Andreas Altheimer

My Name is Andreas Altheimer (Head of Marketing @ MercuryPuzzle). On this Blog I post about experiences with different marketing techniques!MercuryPuzzle is a young tech-StartUp, that links talents with matching jobs & companies.
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