If you’re looking for a way to market your business in an ethical, ethical manner without spamming the social media world with ads for your product, then stealth marketing might just be what you’re looking for. It’s essentially using a direct approach to reach individuals with information about a product or service that they may not have heard of before – passing it off as something else – and once they become aware of the offer, they’ll want it because it’s been hidden behind all along.
The success of this technique often depends on how well the marketer has concealed their identity from the potential customer so that there is no trace left behind to know what was being marketed.
What Stealth Marketing?
Stealth marketing is a form of advertising that uses methods to make it hard for the general public, including competitors or members of the media, to link your business with yours.
Some examples of stealth marketing include:
- Hosting a party at an exclusive location advertised as an exclusive event. Attendees are unlikely to go there again without knowing that the party was organized by you.
- Employing rumours to fuel interest in your product or service. For example, creating false trails that suggest the next product will be better than what it is, or providing access to information that can only be accessed through an account registered under a name not connected with your business.
- Claiming to provide free information with the aim of introducing people to your business. For example, earning credibility by making donations to charitable foundations or organizations, or hosting events that give away free samples of your product for promotion purposes.
There are also some common elements that all stealth marketing campaigns share:
- They are geared towards a specific target market. The more targeted the material is, the better chance it has of succeeding with that group. If you’re not trying to reach a large audience, then you don’t need to be too concerned with traditional marketing approaches unless there’s a good reason to do so. It’s more important to build a direct relationship with a group of people whose use of your product or service will make a significant impact on your profitability.
- They are very personal. If they try to generate interest in a product or service that is not theirs, then it’s an obvious sign that they aren’t concerned with the needs of the general public. Indeed, you could say that they’re trying to exploit people for their personal gain.
- They vary widely from person to person, depending on their experience and expertise in the industry. Familiarity and experience with the product or service being sold is an advantage that stealth marketers need to have. They’ll often know very little about the product or service they’re promoting, but can gain this knowledge just by watching other people use it.
- They’re practised and experienced at making sales. If you’re selling a product or service that has a limited number of people who will genuinely benefit from it, then stealth marketing must be used to increase sales, as otherwise it will not be worthwhile for the company offering the product.
- They use direct marketing: A good stealth marketing campaign doesn’t reveal itself as such and you must try to control how others perceive it. People who try to market themselves using stealth techniques will usually do it through direct marketing media, such as newsletters, websites, faxes and brochures.
- They reach targeted groups through chosen mediums. Most stealth marketing material is distributed through media that are chosen specifically because they are appropriate for the product or service that is being sold.
- They promote products or services that are ethically sound. Stealth marketing will not work if people realise they’ve been given information about something you’re selling without them knowing it. Keeping this in mind will help you avoid adopting methods that exploit the general public for personal gain or gain for your business.
- They offer great value. The perceived value of whatever you’re marketing is often much greater than the real value, but this cannot be done too often without becoming obvious. If you’re marketing yourself in this manner, then be careful not to go overboard when it comes to making claims about your product or service.
- They are the easiest type of marketing to do when compared with other conventional methods. It’s quite easy to create an interesting message that attracts people in without them knowing they’ve been marketed to. You’ll need a keen understanding of what makes people tick and how their minds work in order to make the most out of this kind of marketing approach.
Who Uses Stealth Marketing?
Stealth marketing is most often used by people who want to market themselves anonymously. If you want to be careful about how your business is perceived by the general public, then it’s unlikely you’ll reveal yourself as the person behind the advertisement, brochure or web page. Instead, you’ll simply inform them about the product or service they need access to and let them make up their own minds about whether or not they want it.
Stealth marketing has also gained popularity because people are becoming more wary of traditional advertising methods that do not focus on building relationships with potential customers. A lot of companies have been forced to change their marketing approaches in recent years, so it’s not surprising that stealth marketing would become popular. It also makes it easier to be ethical without being too obvious about what you’re doing. There’s more of a chance of succeeding with stealth marketing because people are under no obligation to buy your product or service.
Stealth marketing can be used by individuals and businesses alike and has become one of the most popular ways for companies to sell their products and services. This form of advertising is becoming ever more prominent because more and more people are becoming disillusioned with traditional methods of advertising, which can sometimes cause harm or worry for those who make use of them.
Benefits of stealth marketing
What are the benefits of stealth marketing? If you’re thinking about adopting this approach for your business, then it’s important to know what you’re getting out of it. Here are some of the key benefits of stealth marketing:
- You can make money without being upfront about how you earn it. Your customers will never realize they’ve purchased something from you unless they decide to contact you individually. This means that no one will ever accuse your company of using underhand tactics or unethical methods for promoting your product or service. You can avoid criticism and upset by simply not making too many claims about the nature of your business and services offered.
- It’s easy to run a stealth marketing campaign because it needs so little promotion beforehand. You can have a successful campaign on the back of a few simple leaflets or brochures that you distribute to the people who are most likely to be interested in your product or service.
- It’s difficult for traditional marketing companies to infiltrate your company and ruin your reputation, so you don’t have to worry too much about them finding out about it. If you’re simply handing out leaflets in your local area, there’ll be no way for them to discover you’re doing this unless they ask you specifically if it’s true that you’re offering an unusual product or service.
- It’s hard for customers to know whether or not they’ve been sold something. You don’t have to worry that your customers will realize they’ve been approached because you’re in complete control of the message that is being given out by your company.
- It’s hard to track down the person in control of the stealth marketing campaign. Unless someone else has put together a flyer or leaflet, it’s unlikely anyone will be able to identify who has sent it out to your customers. This means you can make your campaign as secretive as you want without worrying about being exposed.
- It’s difficult for traditional marketing companies to find out about your company or business because you can completely control what they see from the outside. Although they’ll have access to your phone numbers, they won’t be able to discover your company name because you’re not advertising it through traditional means of advertising.
- It’s quite easy to run a successful stealth marketing campaign even if you have no previous experience of this kind of method of marketing. Stealth marketing does not require a lot of money or effort on the part of the person using it and will work for any size business or individual. You can introduce covert methods without having too much contact with customers and continually improve upon the stealth tactics that are used for promoting your product or service.
Types of stealth marketing
- Straight stealth – this is when you use a normal job to market your services. This involves you telling people what you do. You can also advertise what services your company provides in a subtle way by having a website or advertising in print media.
- Personal stealth marketing – this is when you incorporate marketing techniques into your everyday life. For example, if you go to the shops every day with leaflets, put them in bags or slip them into newspapers. You can also promote yourself by talking to friends and family about the services you provide.
- Passive stealth marketing – this is when you create your own website and send out newsletters without saying who sent it. This is a great way to promote a website or a landing page. You can also market yourself by making flyers and distributing them in places where they will be picked up by interesting prospects.
- Overt stealth marketing – this is when you market your business, but do not announce that your business does this. In other words, you announce that the product or service is available, but not who provides it.
- Brand awareness – this is when you influence marketing by creating a brand image. With brand awareness, the idea is to create a certain perception of your company to the customer, without appearing too obvious about doing this. For example, you can promote your business as a lifestyle choice rather than a product.
- Brand loyalty – This is when you make sure that potential customers feel attached to your business and therefore loyal to it. This happens because it is well-liked by the customer and they look for reasons to return to it. It can be done through social media marketing, which also includes advertising on social media websites like Facebook and Twitter.
- Brand relationships – this is when you create an experience with your customers or clients, so that they feel comfortable asking for your services again in the future. This happens through providing good quality customer service. This can be done through social media marketing, which also includes advertising on social media websites like Facebook and Twitter.
- Image – this is when you make your customers feel important by giving them a sense of what your business represents. Then they use the brand to help themselves brand themselves to their friends and family. This can be done through social media marketing, which also includes advertising on social media websites like Facebook and Twitter.
- Relational – a relational approach means that a company wants people to be part of a group or community where they can feel involved in something bigger than themselves. This can be done through social media marketing, which also includes advertising on social media websites like Facebook and Twitter.
Stealth marketing is only one form of market research. It is still necessary to carry out market research activities to ensure that your business is aware of who you are dealing with and what the customer expectations are. You should then be able to identify your competitors and resources that can help you gain an advantage over them.
It is important to cover all the bases when it comes to identifying your customers needs, wants and desires. The best way of doing this is by talking to people rather than going online or by survey forms or online questionnaires. By talking directly with them, you can find out exactly what they want from a product or service they might buy from you in the future.
The 2 main techniques of stealth marketing
Marketing techniques for this type of advertising include:
- Leaflets and brochures
- Posters and flyers
It is possible to market without notice to your customers as you can take advantage of the fact that they buy from you regularly. You can create a website like
- A landing page
- A website that produces a form that they can fill out and then get in touch with you.
- An e-book
- Anything that will generate an email, which you can send out newsletters and stay in touch with your customers.
- You can also do advertising by:
- Facebook and Twitter (but only if it is relevant to your business)
- Social media marketing (facebook, twitter, google+ and so on)
Best Stealth Marketing Examples To Learn
1. FedEx – The United States-based delivery company, FedEx, has been in existence since 1971. In 2003, the company moved away from traditional marketing and towards stealth marketing. The company did this by using a statement that stated: “We deliver for a living, and we’re good at it!” FedEx introduced the slogan at the end of 2003 and has been using it ever since.
2. Virgin Atlantic Airways Ltd – Virgin Atlantic Airways Ltd was founded in 1984 by Sir Richard Branson (circa 1997). In 1998, Branson decided to make one of his major marketing focuses to be on stealth marketing techniques. He used his airline as a delivery service to send out products without announcing what products were sent out.
3. Mini Cooper – The Mini Cooper was launched in 1959 by Alec Issigonis. In 2000, the car company decided to use stealth marketing techniques to promote the Mini brand. They did this by advertising on their website that you were being watched through your webcam. This created a lot of confusion among customers, but it also promoted the brand extensively.
4. Nike – The Nike Company uses stealth marketing techniques by running a series of advertisements around specific sportsmen around the world. One example is when they advertised using Michael Jordan’s name to sell their shoes throughout America during his basketball career (circa 1990’s). During this time period, many teenagers wanted to be like Michael Jordan and tried running around like him by practicing basketball.
5. Prada or Vogue Magazine – These are both luxury fashion brands. Prada is a high-end fashion house. It was founded in 1913 by an Italian immigrant named Mario Prada. Vogue is a high-fashion magazine for women who pay big money for their clothes, cars, shoes and perfume. Both these brands use stealth marketing techniques for their products. They advertise through billboards or by putting microcredit messages on the dummies of their magazines, which are sent out to millions of people every month at large international magazines.
6. Reese’s Pieces – In the early 1980’s, a US-based candy maker called M&M’s wanted to create a new product that was going to stand out from their competitors. They decided to use the movie E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial in 1982 as a marketing opportunity to showcase their new product.
The director, Steven Spielberg, in a deal with M&M’s, decided that he wanted a scene where E.T., the main character from the movie, would be holding out an empty paper bag and ringing his finger around it. It was said that he could do anything to make this happen except put any type of commercial message within the film or make an animated commercial for them directly.
7. Sony Ericsson – Sony Ericsson was started back in 1975 by a French-born dairy farmer, Magnus Eriksson. The company started off by designing and producing mobile phones, but they took the stealth marketing approach to successfully get its products in front of people. Eriksson understood that the only way to sell his phones was to take out advertisements without people knowing that he had his billboards and ads in newspapers and magazines all around the world. The only way the company could get their product into people’s hands was to bribe media editors and marketing directors who were in charge of advertising magazines and newspapers to run an advertisement for them without anyone knowing it was done intentionally.
8. Wal-Mart – Wal-Mart is one of the biggest retail companies in the world. It was started in 1962 by Sam Walton. He believed he could make money by selling inexpensive products at low prices, even if it meant that he would have to sell low-quality products that would lose profit potential.
Wal-Mart has used many methods to promote their brand including stealth marketing techniques, which helped create an image for themselves in the market place. The company’s goal was to be in every store all over the world so they used stealth marketing techniques to get their name out there and let people know about them quickly. Today, Wal-Mart is the largest retailer in the world and is still growing rapidly due to its use of stealth marketing techniques.
9. Whole Foods – The Whole Foods Market was started in 1980 by John Mackey. Its headquarters is located in Austin, Texas, United States. Mackey took the stealth marketing approach to get his company’s name out there, which helped him grow his company rapidly. He did this by describing what he wanted to do with the company to people involved with media outlets without letting them know that it was an advertisement for his business. Mackey knows that he needs to be better than everyone else because his brand is better than everyone else’s brands.
10. Apple – Apple owns nearly 60% of the smartphone market share around the world, which puts them at the top of their game within their industry. Their success is based on stealth marketing techniques that they have used to get their products in front of people. The company’s CEO, Tim Cook, uses applications of stealth marketing strategies to advertise Apple products with the help of the company’s PR department. The company normally does not do any advertising because it believes in keeping their brand in high-demand and high-value in the market.
11. Starbucks – Starbucks has one of the largest coffee shops in the world with over 22,000 cafes all over the world (on July 21, 2018). They are located everywhere from college campuses to major cities all around the world.
12. Sunsilk – Since the early 1970s, the Sunsilk brand has been a hair care brand that is a subsidiary of Unilever. It was started in India by Harshal Upadhyay who talked to her husband’s uncle about starting a business back in 1971. He gave her Rs 50,000/- ($1000) for her shampoo company known as Scinicare. She used the money to start this business and make sure it was successful by using stealth marketing techniques.
13. Domino’s Pizza – In 1960, Tom Monaghan and his brother created Domino’s Pizza after they bought a small pizzeria in Ypsilanti, Michigan called DomiNick’s. The store was on the corner of Huron Street and Michigan Avenue. The original name of the pizza place was DomiNick’s, but they changed it to Domino’s Pizza because they thought it sounded better.
The company has had stealth marketing techniques used for their products all over their pizzas since 1977 when Tom Monaghan decided to create an advertisement for the company by hiding the Domino’s Pizza logo on one of their pizzas that was shipped out to a customer. This ad saw its first pickup from a reporter at a local newspaper who saw this as an opportunity to write a story about a pizza place that would do something like this with their food.
14. Blackberry – In 2008, the Blackberry Company was purchased from RIM by a company called Fairfax Financial Holdings. The company has been used as a stealth marketing technique for various companies to promote their brand name. In 2009, the Blackberry Company reacquired its original name from Fairfax Financial Holdings and launched a website where they give out free software for users to help them take control of their phone.
15. The Walt Disney Company – The Walt Disney Company is an entertainment production, media and distribution company that was founded in 1923 by brothers Walt and Roy Disney as a cartoon studio which would later become a film studio that made animated films, TV series and live-action films.
16. Starbucks – Starbucks is the largest coffee shop that has ever existed with over 22,000 cafes around the world. Their flagship store is located in Seattle at 1912 Pike Place.
17. American Express – The American Express Company (Amex) was started in 1850. It started off as an express mail delivery company, but later became a credit card company in 1958 under the name of “American Express Travel Related Services Company.” In 1975, the company began changing its operations and started focusing on customer service and quality products. The company’s success is based on their rebranding strategy, which involved a product change from a general purpose credit card to a charge card.