No, not Gorilla Marketing! Guerrilla Marketing, a concept I first discovered in a book by Jay Conrad Levinson, a book that I’ve been recommending for years. I think its emphasis on low-cost and unconventional ways to communicate are more relevant than ever. While big-budget mass media advertising might still work, more targeted engagement can certainly be effective…and cost-effective. I think this is particularly true in the age of Twitter, Facebook, and other online social media. In fact, many of the core concepts of guerrilla marketing are essentially what we now call social media and social media best practices. And these concepts apply whether we’re pushing electrons over fiber optics or handing a business card to someone after making our gas pump pitch.
Guerrilla marketing is an approach you should be taking regardless of the size of your business. And the small business isn’t necessarily at a disadvantage since the heart of the approach lies in personal relationships and interacting with small groups. There aren’t big economies of scale nor high thresholds to participate. And, no, referring to an oft cited tactic, you don’t have to tattoo your company name on your forehead (especially if that doesn’t fit the message you’re trying to send).
One of the key tenets is what we talked about the other day, striving for more business from existing customers and more referrals from them.
Another is to build new relationships and get their permission to keep feeding them more information. This is at the heart of today’s social media approach, but by no means is it limited to the online world. Build confidence, build trust, and be present when a customer is ready to buy. This is very different that a tin man wear-‘em-down-and-make-the-sale-today approach.
Use consistent messages and look for low-cost ways to piggyback on what you’re doing already. Do you wear a shirt to your customers’ homes? Have you name on it. Do you drive a vehicle? Have your name on it. Do you fill someone’s front door with a blower door visible from the street? Yes, you get the drift…have your name on it! [These all convey professionalism, too—hopefully a key component of your brand.]
And commit to a long ground game. If you have a marketing approach you can’t stick with for a year because it’s too expensive, it might not be the right approach for you. You have to use mechanisms that you can use over and over and over. I say it takes 21 impressions before you’ve got a shot at moving someone over into your customer column (many fewer impressions are needed if people come to you by referral—referrals cut quickly through the noise and confusion and you stand out because someone else made you stand out). The important point is to use approaches that you can afford over time to maintain frequency.
OK, OK, you want a list. Here is a baker’s dozen (in itself a great marketing technique!) of some of my favorite “guerrilla” tools and tactics. None of them are secret. All of them are under-utilized. If you’re not doing something on this list, you ought to give it (or them!) a try:
- Professional employees
- Spiffy attire
- Service agreements
- Case Studies (brochure and testimonial rolled up in one!)
- Timely Follow-up
- Referral Program
Marketing is never-ending. Go back to the first post of the week. You have to commit to continuously maintaining, tracking, evaluation, and refining your marketing. You’ve got to stick with the process. It gets easier once you actually have a process. But rest (just a short rest!) assured, it’s never finished.
P.S. Here is the collection of the arbitrarily proclaimed Focus on Marketing Week articles: