Guerrilla Marketing At A Large University Career Fair

We recently found ourselves at a large University Career Fair, where thousands of students swarmed employer booths seeking future internships and employment. Our table looked snazzy with a sign, job flyers, a Kindle Fire for collecting email addresses, and of course a bowl of candy.

Yet 20 minutes into the career fair, we hadn’t been approached by any of the students.  That’s when my colleague Sarah had one of those ah-hah, light-bulb moments.

Sarah jumped behind our table and shuffled through the papers and supplies back there. When she reappeared, she was holding what used to be a plain manila work folder. Now, the folder said in large sharpie letters:

Can You Write? Design?

At first I was skeptical about this improvised sign, but within minutes we had our first few interactions with students from all kinds of backgrounds!  Whether studying law, English, philosophy, computer science, or theater, all of these students had a passion for writing or design. The sign was working wonders; we were collecting tons of emails and handing out job flyers.

Soon, a sleek representative from a Fortune 500 company across the aisle came over to congratulate us on our genius sign. “We spent more than $2,000 on our banners,” he laughed, as he nodded toward his company’s decked-out table.

When it was my turn to hold the homemade sign I felt funny, like one of those sign-spinners you see dancing by the side of a busy road. But as nervous students walked by us, wearing their ill-fitting “interview” suits, many of them smiled, laughed, or mouthed the word, “no,” as they passed our table.

We got to speak with so many bright students that day and the sign was a great icebreaker. It just goes to show you that sometimes simple guerrilla marketing strategies work best. When Reddit was a foundling startup with a budget of $500 dollars, it experienced the same kind of  guerrilla marketing momentum from a simple sticker campaign. (Now Reddit has more than 2 billion monthly page views.)

That’s our little guerrilla marketing story. Thanks for reading! If you have a similar marketing story where a homegrown guerrilla tactic was a big win, share your thoughts in the comments below.

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