What is covert marketing?

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Covert marketing is a set of actions, the purpose of which is the formation of a permanent positive image of a TM, brand, service, product or company among the target audience.

It has been proven that this is the most optimal method of influencing the audience. Hidden marketing allows you not to directly mention the benefits of a brand or product. Information is covered in such a way that a potential buyer will not notice advertising.

Why use covert marketing?

The task of covert marketing is to inform a wide range of potential consumers. If the process is launched successfully, then the main percentage of people will begin to spread information about the product or product to their surroundings. The very concept of hidden marketing is very difficult, but if it is used, there is a low degree of monetary investment, and with a favorable implementation of the strategy, you can even get a significant income.

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Covert Marketing Examples

A successful hidden marketing campaign has brought considerable success to many leading companies. The most successful use cases of hidden marketing include:

  • Sony Ericson has managed to hire 60 actors in 10 American cities. They captured the attention of people by approaching passers-by on the street with a request to take a picture. After that, they talked about the advantages of this brand.
  • A big wave of discussion was caused by the shadow of the dragon, which was placed in magazines, billboards and newspapers before the release of the legendary Game of Thrones. The appearance of rumors in this case made covert marketing even more effective.
  • Information about the MacOS operating system was seen in the film about the WALL-E robot. And even such a barely noticeable detail can become a factor in the growth of the company’s popularity.

Covert marketing on the Internet

When people talk about hidden Internet marketing, they usually mean working with social networks. For example, you can create a group (community) of interest and periodically casually advertise your company or a specific product / service. Here, in addition to the usual publications, you can stimulate discussions, ask for an opinion about the company (only none of your groupmates should know that you represent this company). As our experience shows, groups are usually much more active in terms of comments, reposts, due to the fact that members by default have more trust in such non-advertising communities.

Another option for hidden marketing is working with opinion leaders, while at the moment it is important to work with micro- and even nano-bloggers. Again, make sure that it does not look like an obvious advertisement, the main thing is the native format (as if the blogger’s personal opinion).

Other types of hidden Internet marketing are communication on behalf of an ordinary user on forums and other sites (by the way, do not forget about groups in instant messengers: telegram or viber). It works on the same principle as in social networks.

Can everyone use the concept of hidden marketing?

Hidden marketing in most cases is relevant for:

  • Companies that have not yet created their image and status.
  • Brands that have their own unique selling proposition.
  • Goods whose sale is facilitated by the spread of rumors in the community.

The progress of hidden marketing is achieved through social networks, forums, blogs, thematic media, etc.

Covert marketing in history

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According to historical sources, hidden marketing has existed for several centuries. In the 17th century, the East India Company increased its income from tea sales by attracting influential women. They held tea parties and told their friends about this particular tea.

A successful case of using hidden marketing was recorded in St. Petersburg in the 19th century. Then the entrepreneur Shustov began to produce his own brand of cognac. To increase public awareness of his product, he hired students. They visited restaurants where they ordered only the brand of Shustov’s cognac, and in its absence they made scandals with fights. Information about the students was quickly spread by the local media, and bar owners and visitors began to actively use this particular cognac.

How is covert marketing classified?

The most common are the following types:

  • Buzz marketing. Usually the company tries to work hard on the implementation of high-quality service provision, interesting promotions that will make people enthusiastically tell others about the product.
  • Includes the dissemination of information about the brand in social networks.
  • Hiden advertisment. Most often found in films. This may be the use of various company logos in series and shows.
  • Viral. Dissemination of information about a product or service using the forces and resources of the target audience itself.
  • “Guerrilla”. Non-standard, and sometimes even provocative, methods.

The main advantages and disadvantages of hidden marketing

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Benefits of hidden marketing

The main advantages that confirm the effectiveness of hidden marketing are:

  1. Rapid dissemination of information. Prompt promotion of product information allows millions of people to see the brand every day.
  2. Reliability. Success is achieved through the ease of the methods used. Few of the target audience can understand the presence of direct advertising.
  3. Direct communication with consumers. The company can independently choose the most profitable channel for disseminating information. For example, a law firm posts data about its services on various legal forums or websites.
  4. Availability. The effectiveness of hidden marketing is achieved through original ideas, not through significant financial contributions.

Disadvantages of hidden marketing

A significant disadvantage of covert marketing is the low probability of foreseeing the desired effect. In addition, its implementation can cause significant negative emotions in the audience if there is a clear understanding of the existing advertising.

Relationship between viral and stealth marketing

If hidden marketing involves the independent formation of a positive impression about the product by the target audience itself, then the effects of viral marketing are achieved through the dissemination of information by the consumers themselves. Viral marketing was first brought to life by entrepreneurs Tim Draper and Steve Jurvetsan in 1997. It was then that they sent letters to their customers, in which they added advertisements. Now a striking example of viral marketing is the appearance of a product on a blogger’s page. As a result, subscribers will start buying it, and also recommend it to friends. One of the fruitful results of covert and viral marketing is the emergence of a media virus that can cause reactions in society.