With a rather large, all-encompassing definition, stealth marketing can describe many different types of internet marketing campaigns. The marketing term (aka undercover marketing, buzz marketing or guerrilla marketing) describes any marketing tactic used to appeal to consumers, when the buyers do not know they are being targeted.
In this sense of the definition, stealth marketing can be used in crowded marketplaces, television shows, or any other form of entertainment where marketing is not suspected. So, for example, when a movie-goer is watching a scene in a grocery store, the product placement of the Coca Cola on the shelf behind the main actor is a stealthy move for Coke to advertise without the consumer's expectation.
The thought behind this type of marketing is that consumers will buy products that are viewed as peer-promoted. Therefore, the favorite character in the movie purchasing a Coke will be accepted more as a peer review of the product than an advertisement.
Stealth Marketing on the Internet
So, all of this is fine and dandy, but how does it connect to internet marketing, right? Well, the same tactics can be used on the internet to peer-suggest your product. This can be accomplished in a few simple places:
Chat Rooms - Chat rooms are the perfect place to suggest a product. The informal setting and perception of friendship in a chat room setting makes peer suggestion rather easy. You or a paid advertiser must simply drop a few hints in the room about the wonders of the product. However, be careful to drop the product into conversation, not to force the conversation.
Forums - Forums are also a great place to suggest products because of the friend-perception. However, the promoter must again be careful to fit the product into conversation.
Blogs - Entire blogs are now being set up for product promotion only, but it can be difficult to write effective blogs without the experience. Inexperienced sales bloggers will often come across as, well, salespeople. The goal is to write well and effectively, occasionally hinting to your one of many product placement(s).
Video Blogs - Video blogs are also beginning to pop up more often, in common places like YouTube and in personal websites. These quick, easy-to-follow, informational blogs deliver a product suggestion from a real user - like a video blog about energy drinks, delivered by a college athlete.
Combination Tactics - Some or all of these tactics can also be combined for twists on the "conventional." For example, blog/video blog combinations are becoming more popular. Bloggers show a short video and elaborate thoughts through a written blog. This can capture consumer interest in two ways, making it potentially more effective, depending on the product being placed.
Stealth marketing may be an excellent internet marketing technique for your company, if you play your cards right. Remember the basics of stealth marketing - befriend then suggest - and your company could be on the way to new sales goals.