If you’ve kept up with the latest sales literature, you’ve probably run across the term ‘guerrilla marketing’ a time or two. Although the concept of guerrilla marketing was first popularized in the mid-1980s, the Internet revolution has really helped usher this approach into the mainstream.
So what could the asymmetric warfare tactics first used by fringe rebel groups possibly have to do with marketing prowess? Well, it’s all about the David vs. Goliath mindset that these marginalized groups often exemplify. In traditional conflicts, might and brute force was all that mattered—in other words, the guy with the biggest army usually came out on top.
But in guerrilla warfare, the little guys turn their size disadvantage into an advantage. Even though they might not have the brute force of a traditional army, guerrilla soldiers have the benefits of flexibility, speed, and stealth. Paired with a bit of ingenuity, the little guys can actually transform the variables that have long been seen as setbacks into unique strengths.
‘Guerrilla marketing’ refers to the practice of applying these same principles in the business sphere. If you marshal all of your resources to market your small business creatively and aggressively, you won’t need a six-figure marketing budget to get noticed. Here are some guerrilla marketing basics to help you get rolling.
Make the most of your non-money resources. Even if your marketing budget is miniscule at best, you can make up for this deficit by using other assets that you have at your disposal, such as time, smarts, creativity, and elbow grease. While your corporate competitors might have unlimited funding to get their message out there, you can use your ingenuity and ‘sweat equity’ to make a big impact for little or no cash.
Play on the emotions of your target customers. While big corporations tend to try to keep their marketing messages bland and ‘professional,’ guerrilla marketers don’t have that luxury. Instead, you can get the most bang for your marketing buck by making an aggressive play for the emotions of your target customers. Uncover what really matters to your client base and choose marketing messages and media that will resonate with those needs and desires.
Develop strategies to expand your network exponentially. The success of guerrilla marketing is predicated upon your ability to widen your network of contacts on a constant and ongoing basis. Growing your base of potential customers is a vital part of guerrilla marketing success, and as such, a solid strategy for expanding your network should be a component of your marketing plan right from the beginning.
Seek out opportunities for synergistic relationships with other firms. In today’s hypercompetitive marketplace, many smaller businesses adopt an “every man for himself” attitude, and understandably so. However, guerrilla marketing gurus advise against this stance, warning that adopting an overly competitive approach may be eliminating valuable opportunities for synergistic relationships with other firms. Try to build partnerships with businesses whose aims and services are complementary to your own, swapping referrals, recommendations, and names of satisfied customers.
Use technology to make your mark. When it comes to marketing, technology is a great tool for leveling the playing field with your larger competitors. The Internet, in particular, is a great way to make a big splash with very little investment of resources. However, online marketing is just the tip of the iceberg. Make full use of your team’s technological prowess to brainstorm new ways to market your firm on the cheap.
What’s your take on guerrilla marketing? Have you used any unconventional marketing techniques to help make a big splash? Tell us what you think in the comments.