Undercover Marketing – A Short Guide


What is Undercover Marketing?

Undercover Marketing is nothing but introducing a product to the consumer without him knowing that it is being advertised to him using hidden marketing activities. In undercover marketing, everything seems to be natural and unplanned to the consumer.

The main thing about undercover marketing is that the target consumers will not be aware that they are being indirectly marketed. Undercover marketing is done with the hope that people will get introduced to the product unknowingly and start talking about the product or service excitedly and that spreads through word of the mouth to the target consumer’s friends and relatives.

How Undercover Marketing is Planned?

Undercover marketing can be planned successfully if the company understands the consumers and its products well. The company must know the targeted consumers clearly and the demographics

Having said that, It is not possible that the undercover marketing strategies will always find consumers that spreads word of mouth all the time. So, here a company must plan well what their marketing force is going to tell to the consumer and what demographics they will target so that the word of mouth spread is achieved. Eventually, sales are increased and the profit is added to the business.

Undercover Marketing is always planned as a short-term project as the long-term project is always discovered and planned on a timely basis. If an undercover marketing plan is executed, in the end, the company must analyze and pay attention to make sure that is there a change in sales or any change in consumer traffic. This will give an idea to the company whether the undercover marketing plan was successful or not.

Further Reading:  The Importance of Market Research

Undercover Marketing and the Business

There are lots of ways that businesses can plan their undercover marketing strategies.

  1. Companies can have someone freelancers write positive reviews about their products or services and a link targeted to the product sales page.
  2. Also, companies can avail the services of Ghostwriters to write a blog post and publish it on popular industry websites.
  3. Companies can pay social media personalities to casually include your product or service names during organic conversations on social media websites.
  4. Companies can ask YouTubers to talk about their product or services casually on their videos and podcasts hiding that they are doing this for payment.
  5. Companies can avail services of youtube video reviewers to provide positive reviews of their product for a price.

Benefits of Undercover Marketing

Undercover marketing gives customers hope that they found the best product or service.

Undercover marketing helps reach people who do not like advertising. It is very useful for small businesses who less spending capacity on advertisements. For such companies, the word-of-mouth advertisement can be very useful for them to reach their product or service to the targeted consumers. Undercover Marketing is a presales activity that puts the news about your product or service in the minds of targeted customers before the product or service is launched.

Undercover marketing is also useful for large-scale companies who want to start the word of mouth spread before they begin their actual marketing plans through advertisements. In the recent past, some large-scale companies had huge success with undercover marketing strategies. In fact, their sales increased many folds.

For example, APPLE does this every year before they launch their new iPhone models. They begin their word of mouth undercover marketing nine months in January and spread the news that the new iPhone is going to be launched in September. People start to discuss this news on social media websites and do free advertisements for Apple. Apple actually starts running its advertisements just weeks before the actual launch of the product.

Limitations of Undercover Marketing

Companies must be very careful on their promises during undercover marketing as the over expectation from the consumers can backfire the company in sales when the consumers feel that the product is not as expected or as promised.

Many people believe undercover marketing is unethical. In case a competitor funded negative reviews and are posted on social media and video streaming sites, it may spoil the image of the company. Any false news about the product or service before launch can also affect the image of the company and when the product or service is launched. This leads to tremendous loss to the business. So, Undercover marketing strategies must be planned well considering all the aspects of the business.

Best Examples of Undercover Marketing

  1. Blackberry provided cell phones to attractive women and have them sit in bars with their new Blackberry’s phones and whole day flirting with the male customers who come to the bar. When the women hooked any male customer, they would request the male to enter his number in her Blackberry phone. So, the entire thing was a plan and the ploy was just to get the male customer to use the Blackberry and have the feel of it. It actually creates a strong curiosity in the mind him to explore more about that new Blackberry Mobile Phone.
  1. Sony Ericsson executed an undercover marketing plan for their T681 mobile phone. They hired some paid actors and asked them to take their photos at tourist destinations asking for help from strangers. This undercover marketing strategy was executed throughout New York City. The paid actor also takes a selfie with the stranger on the stranger’s mobile phone since the stranger helped him take a photo. The stranger happily shares his photo with his entire contacts on his cell phone and his friends and family share them too. The objective of this undercover marketing effort was to introduce the new Blackberry phone to the common people as much as possible.


For a long time, many successful businesses plan their undercover marketing strategies before they launch their new products or services. Most of the times these strategies work well and achieve spread word of mouth about their products and services. Nowadays, undercover marketing has become one of the must-have marketing strategies for any business to be successful.


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