What Is Guerrilla Marketing Today?
Marketing is every bit of contact your company has with anyone in the outside world. Every bit of contact. That means a lot of marketing opportunities. It does not mean investing a lot of money.
The meaning is clear: Marketing includes the name of your business; the determination of whether you will be selling a product or a service; the method of manufacture or servicing; the color, size, and shape of your product; the packaging; the location of your business; the advertising, public relations, Web site, branding, e-mail signature, voicemail message on your machine, and sales presentation; the telephone inquiries; the sales training; the problem solving; the growth plan and the referral plan; and the people who represent you, you, and your follow-up. Marketing includes your idea for your brand, your service, your attitude, and the passion you bring to your business. If you gather from this that marketing is a complex process, you’re right.
Marketing is the art of getting people to change their minds — or to maintain their mindsets if they’re already inclined to do business with you. People must either switch brands or purchase a type of product or service that has never existed before. That’s asking a lot of them. Every little thing you do and show and say — not only your advertising or your Web site — is going to affect people’s perceptions of you.
That’s probably not going to happen in a flash. Or a month. Or even a year. And that’s why it’s crucial for you to know that marketing is a process, not an event. Marketing may be a series of events, but if you’re a guerrilla marketer, marketing has a beginning and a middle but not an ending.
By the way, when I write the word marketing, I’m thinking of your prospects and your current customers. Nothing personal, but when you read the word marketing, you’re probably thinking of prospects only. Don’t make that mistake. More than half your marketing time should be devoted to your existing customers. A cornerstone of guerrilla marketing is customer follow- up. Without it, all that you’ve invested into getting those customers is like dust in the wind.
Marketing is also the truth made fascinating.
When you view marketing from the vantage point of the guerrilla, you realize that it’s your opportunity to help your prospects and customers succeed. They want to succeed at earning more money, building their company, losing weight, attracting a mate, becoming more fit, or quitting smoking. You can help them. You can show them how to achieve their goal. Marketing is not about you. It’s about them. I hope you never forget that.
Marketing, if you go about things in the right way, is also a circle. The circle begins with your idea for bringing revenue into your life. Marketing becomes a circle when you have the blessed patronage of repeat and referral customers. The better able you are to view marketing as a circle, the more you’ll concentrate on those repeat and referral people. A pleasant side effect of that perspective is that you’ll invest less money in marketing, but your profits will consistently climb.
Marketing is more of a science every day as we learn new ways to measure and predict behavior, influence people, and test and quantify marketing It’s more of a science as psychologists tell us more and more about human behavior.
Marketing is also unquestionably an art form because writing is an art, drawing is an art, photography is an art, dancing is an art, music is an art, editing is an art, and acting is an art. Put them all together, and they spell marketing — probably the most eclectic art form the world has ever known.
But for now, brush aside those notions that marketing is a science and an art form. Drill into your mind the idea that at its core, marketing is a business. And the purpose of a business is to earn profits. If science and art help a business earn those profits, they’re probably being masterminded by a guerrilla marketer — the kind of business owner who seeks conventional goals, such as profits and joy, but achieves them using unconventional means.
A bookstore owner had the misfortune of being located between two enormous bookselling competitors. One day, this bookstore owner came to work to see that the competitor on his right had unfurled a huge banner: “Monster Anniversary Sale! Prices slashed 50%!” The banner was larger than his entire storefront. Worse yet, the competitor to the left of his store had unveiled an even larger banner: “Gigantic Clearance Sale! Prices reduced by 60%!” Again, the banner dwarfed his storefront. What was the owner of the little bookstore in the middle to do? Being a guerrilla marketer, he created his oown banner and hung it out front, simply saying “Main Entrance.” Guerrilla marketers do not rely on the brute force of an outsized marketinnnnng budget. Instead, they rely on the brute force of a vivid imagination. Today, they are different from traditional marketers in twenty ways. I used to compare guerrilla marketing with textbook marketing, but now that this book is a textbook in so many universities, I must compare it with traditional marketing.
If you were to analyze the ways that marketing has changed in the twenty-first century, you’d discover that it has changed in the same twenty ways that guerrilla marketing differs from the old-fashioned brand of marketing.
1. Traditional marketing has always maintained that to market properly, you must invest money. Guerrilla marketing maintains that if you want to invest money, you can — but you don’t have to if you are willing to invest time, energy, imagination, and information.
2. Traditional marketing is so enshrouded by mystique that it intimidates many business owners, who aren’t sure whether marketing includes sales or a Web site or PR. Because they are so intimidated and worried about making mistakes, they simply don’t do it. Guerrilla marketing completely removes the mystique and exposes marketing for exactly what it really is — a process that you control — rather than the other way around.
3. Traditional marketing is geared toward big business. Before I wrote the original Guerrilla Marketing in 1984, I couldn’t find any books on marketing for companies that invested less than $300,000 monthly. Although it is now true that many Fortune 500 companies buy Guerrilla Marketing by the caseload to distribute to their sales and marketing people, the essence of guerrilla marketing — the soul and the spirit of guerrilla marketing — is small business: companies with big dreams but tiny budgets.
4. Traditional marketing measures its performance by sales or responses to an offer, hits on a Web site, or store traffic. Those are the wrong numbers to focus on. Guerrilla marketing reminds you that the main number that merits your attention is the size of your profits. I’ve seen many companies break their sales records while losing money in the process. Profits are the only numbers that tell you the truth you should be seeking and striving for. If it doesn’t earn a profit for you, it’s probably not guerrilla marketing.
5. Traditional marketing is based on experience and judgment, which is a fancy way of saying “guesswork.” But guerrilla marketers cannot afford wrong guesses, so it is based as much as possible on psychology — laws of human behavior. For example, 90 percent of all purchase decisions are made in the unconscious mind, that inner deeper part of your brain. We now know a slam-dunk manner of accessing t...