In March of 2000, in an unprecedented move, Salesforce hired actors to stage a protest outside of the Siebel Systems conference. These actors held signs with anti-software messages that were centered around “The End of Software.” This marketing technique garnered media attention, getting coverage in The Wall Street Journal, and by January 2021, Salesforce had generated 5.4 million in revenue. 

The Salesforce marketing campaign was effective because of its creativity and not necessarily because of the spending.

Often, I find that many businesses attribute not having great marketing results to not having a big enough spend to outdo their competition. Indeed, marketing often requires a spend. However, I’m amazed by the free or low-cost untapped opportunities that are sometimes overlooked.

The truth is, some of the most creative marketing strategies are born out of necessity.

Let’s look at a few marketing options, even when you have a low marketing budget that might not cost you anything.

low cost marketing ideas - guerilla marketing

Here are a few ways to jump-start your creative marketing strategy and ideation process even when you have a low marketing budget

Create a list of top 10 things I would do if I had an unlimited marketing budget

  • Plan, dream, strategize like you have an unlimited budget, and then execute those ideas creatively based on the merit of the marketing ideas presented.

Create a top 10 list of free marketing ideas that I could utilize today

  • The top 10 list of free marketing ideas is the most surprising list of all. You’ll be surprised by the open opportunities that you are not taking advantage of.

Targeting a different audience could open up creative marketing possibilities.

  • More money is not equal to better results. All marketing problems cannot be solved just by having more money. Often there is a deeper-rooted issue beyond the capital. Are you targeting the right people?

Related: How to Figure Out the Type of Marketing Challenge You Have

Focus on Marketing Amplification instead of Multiplication

  • Determine the marketing channels that are working well and figure out how you can amplify your efforts instead of multiplying your efforts across multiple channels. This will help your marketing dollar go the furthest.
  • Identify a niche that the majority of your customers fall into. Examples of niches are industries, job titles, or company sizes. Spend time focusing on that niche and spend a lot of your marketing budget there.
  • Leverage relationships! They are free
    • Use customer evangelists and partners instead of paid influencers.
  • Budget Allocation: Allocate a budget for creativity. Contrary to popular belief, innovation doesn’t just happen. It’s planned.

creative low cost marketing ideas

Only your imagination limits a zero-marketing budget.

Want more ideas? Book an ideation session ».



Create a powerful brand by making your brand more human. 

Book a brand review

About the Author: Hellen Oti

For the past 10 years, I've been helping businesses build powerful brands and repeatable marketing processes by focusing on connecting better with customers. I started Brisque to help businesses grow organically with humanized marketing. My superpower is seeing the possibilities with your business and helping you discover how to stand out and connect with your core customers. When I’m not at work, you'll find me breaking out a random dance move, hiking, reading, traveling, fictional and non-fictional writing. I am also an experimental chef whose experiments sometimes go terribly wrong. My motto for these experiments: “eat if you dare!”