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  • Vincent Bissette


The prospect of running a marketing campaign and the associated costs can often be daunting, especially for small businesses who can’t afford to just throw money at the wall to see what sticks. The good news is that creating a successful marketing campaign can be less expensive than you would think. You just need to be clever about it.

We’ll be using 2018’s viral marketing success that was the like & subscribe mural in LA to demonstrate how to build a successful marketing campaign on a minimal budget. The team revealed that the stunt received global publicity for less than it would cost to buy advertising space on the same street. The Stunt comprised of a painted wall mural in LA with a security guard standing outside it. The main catch is no one with less than 20,000 followers or a verified twitter badge could pose in front of it. The stunt was a viral success on such a minimal budget because they knew exactly the type of person that they wanted to target. The knew exactly what to say to generate a response and they knew exactly where to say it to get it in front of as many eyes as possible.


The first thing you need to know is who your message is being delivered to as this will affect how the message is interpreted. When aiming to make the most out of advertising budget market segmentation is incredibly important. Market segmentation refers to separating a large market into smaller groups linked by identifiable features. When working with a small budget you need to make the most out of every penny and in order to do this, you need to identify which segment of your market is most likely to convert into a lead. In order to identify which area of the market to aim your message at you can organise your customers into buyer personas and identify which persona is best suited to receive your message.

Market segmentation is becoming increasingly easier with tools for marketers such as Facebook ads. These tools store large amounts of user data and allow clever marketers to send increasingly niche messages by identifying and targeting potential customers from the smallest of indicators. Ensuring your message is going out to the right person ensures the most efficient use of your resources and allows you to create a more specific and effective message rather than a general one.

The mural campaign worked because they understood that the type of people who would be interested in the show would be the type of people who are constantly bombarded by social media and influencer culture. They understood that the majority of the people who see the mural would already have a baseline understanding of the culture it was designed to mock at the least and ideally would be jaded enough by it would garner a reaction. The campaign was designed to spread naturally on social media amongst Instagram using 20-somethings as this is the demographic the show is most likely to appeal to.


The next thing you need to know is what to say. Ideally, how to communicate the message as effectively as possible while using the least amount of resources. What you say is determined by the reaction that you want to generate. In order to understand what to say you must understand the mindset of your target market and how they are likely to react to marketing messages. It is not realistic to expect everyone to react to your message in the desired way – it’s marketing, not mind control - However, market research can help marketers better understand what messages generate what response from what type of people. Market research is important for SME's as it can help them understand the thoughts and behaviours of their ideal customers. There are many cheap and effective ways of conducting market research on a small budget such as the use of online surveys. Keeping in contact with previous customers and asking them why they chose your business and what problems you solved for them is a convenient way for SME's to better understand their service as perceived by their customers.

An effective message should:

  • Be relevant to the target market

  • Elicit the desired response

The Like & Subscribe campaign made a lot of noise without spending a lot of money because it quickly and effectively conjured the primary message of the show, mindless vanity and hollow celebrity. Similar to the high-end retailers of Hollywood, the campaign used the illusion of scarcity and exclusivity to drive up demand and interest in the campaign. The Like And Subscribe mural got the exact response it wanted from their audience. Jack Wagner's goal was to stir up conversation and boost the follower count on social media accounts associated with the show. He wanted to get people talking by touching a nerve – or press hard on a nerve that was already being subtly prodded on social media every day.

The campaign got people talking. The perceived absurdity of an influencer only mural rattled people to such an extent that the stunt received global media coverage. The messaging contained the perfect amount of ambiguity to generate conversation. Naturally, as a result of the publicity, the social media following grew. However, it is possible that the campaign became such a hot topic that the press overshadowed its original intent.


It doesn’t matter if you have the perfect massage if you shout it into an empty room you won’t get any reaction. There is an increasing number of marketing platforms, which offer to display your message at a price. Where you choose to display your message will affect how many eyes you get on your message. The goal of an SME working with a small budget is as alway, efficiency.

Your aim should be to get as many eyes on the message at the most cost-effective price as possible. This will change depending on the audience.

For a business to business marketing, it is likely that LinkedIn is the ideal platform. When marketing products to students in their early 20's it is likely that Instagram would be a preferable platform. Getting this decision right can mean the difference between a message generating new leads or falling on deaf ears.

For L&S there was no better place to display the message than the sun stroked streets of LA. A city is known for its vanity and celebrity, where social media influencers run wild posing in-front of every brightly coloured wall they can find. The mural perfectly satirised the location it inhabited with its Instagram-friendly tourist-bait wing design and fake-deep Banksy inspired stencils.

Although the campaign was painted on a wall in LA it's true home is the feeds of Instagram and Twitter users as this is where their primary audience spends their time. The team just chose to get there using an alternative route. L&S didn't have the type of budget that an HBO or Comedy central show would have to pay for promoted posts on social media sites. In order to get around this, they developed a campaign so engaging and polarising that users posted and retweeted the posts themselves. L&S generated the type of media buzz and publicity money - almost - can't buy and they only had to pay a security guard to stand in front of a mural.


A marketing campaign can be successful and have a huge lasting impact on any budget. The trick is you you need to have a deep understanding of your market. For anyone looking to undertake a marketing campaign on a small budget, it is essential that you know who you are talking to what to say and where to say it to have the most impact.

About the author: Vincent Bissette is a freelance Brand Strategy and Design Consultant with over 30 years experience of branding and rebranding businesses and organisations, systematically, thoroughly and objectively. He has worked in major Design Consultancies as well as having run his own agency for 25 years, working with SMEs all over the UK to help them modernise their brand, grow their business, attract new customers, penetrate new markets and increase their sales, market share and profit. Throughout that time, there’s not much he hasn't done or many industries he hasn't worked in. He’s a creative, strategic thinker and problem solver with a wealth of experience in diagnosing trouble spots in brands and discovering their strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats. Now based in South Lanarkshire, Scotland, he works throughout the entire UK.

Get in touch with him on Linkedin here

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