Most of us don’t enjoy the luxury of getting tens or hundreds of millions as yearly marketing budget. How to achieve results with a limited budget, at a small business with guerrilla marketing?
Jay Conrad Levinson, who came up with the term Guerrilla Marketing answered this question almost 20 years ago. According to Levinson, a small company’s marketing must be exactly as the fighting style of a guerrilla: use every tool that you can grab, don’t let the fighting spirit die down and never give up!
Let’s see what it takes to become a guerrilla marketeer?
1. Persistence is key for guerilla marketing
One of the great advantages of small businesses is that for many years, the marketing is in the hands of the same person – usually the business owner – at least in the majority of the cases. Every few years, multinational companies replace the entire marketing department and the new staff always means new marketing practice.
Let me tell you something important, something I’ve learnt since I’ve been working with small businesses:
a medium-level but persistent long-term marketing program is ALWAYS more successful and profitable, than the best, most expensive marketing campaign behind which there is no persistence, no constancy.
Persistence and constancy slowly but surely are going to get your message through and due to its stability, reliability and predictability, you’ll build your brand, and credibility.
No persistence, no results.
2. Guerilla marketing won’t be afraid to invest
All business owners have their theories about the best investment: real estate, stock market, government bonds, joint funds.
Well here’s another one that few of them consider: marketing! None of the shares or real estate brings as much on the long run, as a good marketing investment. A true guerrilla marketeer is looking forward to spend a part of his income on marketing, knowing that it’s good for business.
Marketing should never be considered as an expense because it’s not like the electricity bill, the accountant fees or travel expenses. We invest in marketing because we know that it builds the company. If you find an excellent marketing tool which proves to be useful in the long run, then it’s worth applying it as intensively as you can.
3. Permanence is a key guerilla marketing tactic
It takes some time to infiltrate your message into the mind of the market, until people learn the name of your company and merchandise. Reliability is better communicated by permanence than by any of your advertisements.
If you constantly change your marketing channels, ads, your message, you often renew in creative, in design, you’ll easily lose the trust built by permanence.
Feel free to experiment, to try new things, but have marketing tools which are stable and remain unchanged for years.
4. Concentrate your firepower
A guerrilla never fights face to face with the big enemy! He is much wiser and more experienced than that. First, analyze the opponent to find his weak points: he stores all munitions in the same place? BANG! Sleepy guards? SNIP! (Dramatic enough?)
What is it that the market can’t stand in your competitors? Bad customer service? Slow delivery? Poor maintenance? Make a survey about it, and then make your move: Be the best at it and feel free to communicate that! (Warning: it’s not enough to communicate: the market cannot be fooled, it quickly withdraws confidence if feeling cheated).
5. Guerilla marketing effectiveness hinges on giving 100%
A guerrilla knows that everything around you can be used as a weapon.
Advertising is not the only marketing tool. Make experiments as much as possible, look for new opportunities. A coupon on the back of your business card, a PR article in a professional magazine, the URL of your site, a video about your latest presentation…
For example, make it your goal to try a new marketing tool every three months.
6. Build relationships
A guerrilla marketeer knows that marketing doesn’t end when the customer finally pays … it’s just the beginning!
Never let go of a client who had already made a deal with your company. Your marketing budget will be ideal if you spend at least half of your marketing budget on your existing clients.
This is a short paragraph, but it is crucial. You might want to read it again.
7. Metrics and analytics are key components of guerilla marketing
Riddle: Your company uses two kinds of marketing tools to acquire new customers. Suddenly, you have extra profit, and you decide to strengthen one of them.
How do you decide which one, if you do not know which one is better?
Measuring the effectiveness of marketing tools can be critical – if you know about a campaign how it performs, you can fix it, modify it. If you don’t measure, you’ll never know whether it’s worth it, or it’s just a waste of money.
8. The best guerilla marketing ideas can emerge from allies and partnerships
A guerrilla never fights alone: know that chances of winning are much higher when fighting in alliance with others.
Look for companies who are not your competitors, but you both target the same market segment. Start joint marketing actions where one of the companies refers the other to its own customers, its own market. This is perhaps the fastest-acting marketing tool that exists.
Would you like to be a guerrilla? Then enjoy marketing, enjoy its diversity and marvel at the results!