Guerilla Marketing: The Call of the Wild Comes to the Business WorldPublish Date: Oct 20, 2009
Guerilla marketing refers to unconventional marketing methods that rely on time, ingenuity, and street smarts rather than a big marketing budget. Typically, this type of marketing campaign is very thought provoking, and has an unexpected or buzz-worthy component that makes it go viral. There is also usually an element of interaction in the campaign, which engages the prospect and draws them in further.
The basic philosophy behind guerilla marketing is that small companies and entrepreneurs actually have an advantage over big companies. Guerilla marketing tactics take advantage of this flexibility, and work to maximize its effect.
The phrase, guerilla marketing, was originally coined by Jay Conrad Levinson in his groundbreaking book on the subject released in 1984. Since then the tactics and the terminology have become commonplace in the marketing world, and in classrooms. There are whole courses devoted to teaching marketing students how to use guerilla marketing, and it's become a common way for small businesses and entrepreneurs to successfully compete with the 'big boys'.
The basic philosophy behind guerilla marketing is that small companies and entrepreneurs actually have an advantage over big companies. They are able to quickly change direction and take advantage of new opportunities that appear. (A speedboat will always outmaneuver a cruise liner, and therefore win the race.) Guerilla marketing tactics take advantage of this flexibility, and work to maximize its effect.
The main message of guerilla marketing is to create a relationship with prospects and customers. It teaches businesses to use human psychology to sell their products rather than their experience or beliefs about the marketplace. For instance, businesses should concentrate on:
- Creating new relationships each month
- Deepening the relationship with existing clients (more sales per client, moving clients up to higher priced items with each transaction)
- Getting referrals from existing clients
- Creating mutually beneficial relationships with competitors
Guerilla marketing teaches that to accomplish these tasks, businesses should rely heavily on new technology available to them, particularly social marketing on the web. Sites like Twitter, Facebook, and You Tube work very well with these types of unconventional, viral marketing methods. While Levinson gives many examples of ways to utilize these services, and create campaigns, he also encourages businesses to use their creativity to come up with their own unique methods.
Guerilla marketers are also encouraged to look outside their door for business as well. Not everything is online. Street giveaways and local PR stunts work just as well in targeting new prospects. So do physical newsletters, hand written thank-you cards, and personal phone calls from staff. Even the simple act of walking a prospect out to the elevator can help increase rapport with clients and help your conversion rate.
Guerilla marketers should be consistent in their marketing efforts and committed to staying the course. They should integrate several different marketing methods into their campaign and stick with them long enough to gauge their effectiveness. Even after they have begun seeing results, they should never stop marketing and working to get new prospects into their marketing funnel.
Finally, guerilla marketing teaches that the one figure all marketers should judge their success by is by the amount of profit a business makes, not the amount of sales. Sales are great, but if your overhead eats away all your profit, then you really have nothing to show for your efforts.
Guerilla marketing has become such a popular method because it's extremely effective. At its core, it's about getting your prospect's attention, engaging them in a conversation, and then tweaking your marketing based on that dialogue. It's about connecting with prospects on a very human level, and tapping into their subconscious desires through repeated interaction and with creative marketing methods. For small businesses and entrepreneurs, it's the key to staying relevant and competitive in the 21st century business world.