In the business game, one rule is certain – there are no rules. Profits can be acquired in numerous way, businesses can be marketed through different channels, and already established norms can be toppled overnight. If you don’t have a big budget and haven’t heard of guerilla marketing, what are you waiting for?
“Guerrilla Marketing” was coined by Jay Conrad Levinson in his popular 1984 book Guerrilla Marketing, as an unconventional system of promotions on a very low budget, by relying on time, energy and imagination instead of big marketing budgets. The term has since entered the popular vocabulary to also describe aggressive, unconventional marketing methods generically.
Levinson’s books include hundreds of “Guerrilla Marketing weapons,” but they also encourage the guerrilla marketeer to be creative and devise his own unconventional methods of promotion. The marketeer uses all of his or her contacts, both professional and personal, and must examine his company and its products, looking for sources of publicity. Many forms of publicity can be very inexpensive, others are free.
Levinson says that when implementing guerrilla marketing tactics, small size is actually an advantage instead of a disadvantage. Small businesses and entrepreneurs are able to obtain publicity more easily than large companies; they are closer to their customers and considerably more agile.
Yet ultimately, according to Levinson, the Guerrilla Marketeer must “deliver the goods”. In The Guerrilla Marketing Handbook, he states: “In order to sell a product or a service, a company must establish a relationship with the customer. It must build trust and support. It must understand the customer’s needs, and it must provide a product that delivers the promised benefits.”
Levinson identifies the following principles as the foundation of guerrilla marketing:
* Guerrilla Marketing is specifically geared for the small business and entrepreneur.
* It should be based on human psychology instead of experience, judgment, and guesswork.
* Instead of money, the primary investments of marketing should be time, energy, and imagination.
* The primary statistic to measure your business is the amount of profits, not sales.
* The marketer should also concentrate on how many new relationships are made each month.
* Create a standard of excellence with an acute focus instead of trying to diversify by offering too many diverse products and services.
* Instead of concentrating on getting new customers, aim for more referrals, more transactions with existing customers, and larger transactions.
* Forget about the competition and concentrate more on cooperating with other businesses.
* Guerrilla Marketers should always use a combination of marketing methods for a campaign.
* Use current technology as a tool to empower your business.
The term Guerrilla Marketing is now often used more loosely as a descriptor for non-traditional media, such as:
* Viral marketing — through social networks
* Ambient marketing
* Presence marketing
* Grassroots marketing
* Wild Posting Campaigns
* Alternative marketing
* Buzz marketing — word of mouth marketing
* Undercover marketing — subtle product placement
* Astroturfing — releasing company news to imitate grassroots popularity
* Experiential marketing — interaction with product
* Tissue-pack marketing
Guerrilla marketing was initially used by small and medium size (SMEs) businesses, but it is now increasingly adopted by large businesses.