By Phillip Chichoni
The guerilla marketing strategy has been used successfully by small to medium firms over the years, enabling them to prosper in spite of intense competition from the bigger players.
The secret to the success of this strategy lies in targeting a niche market segment, which is just profitable for you but not big enough to attract bigger firms. By thoroughly meeting the needs of that niche segment, you are guaranteed success.
For example, consider Steve Warrington’s successful on-line venture selling ostriches and every product derived from them (www.ostrichesonline.com).
Launched for next to nothing on the Web, Warrington’s business generates annual sales of $4 million-plus. Visitors to the site can buy ostrich meat, feathers, leather jackets, videos, eggshells, and skin-care products derived from ostrich body oil.
(Paul Davidson, “Entrepreneurs Reap Riches from Net Niches,” USA Today, April 20, 1998, p. B3.)
For guerilla marketing to work for you, certain conditions have to be observed.
First, this strategy will only work for a small company. When your firm grows, you will need to change the strategy. Second, as Sun Tzu says in his treatise “Art of War”, you have to be flexible; you must be able to bug out at a moment’s notice.
Here are two paragraphs I particularly like from the book:
“It is the rule in war, if our forces are ten to the enemy’s one, to surround him; if five to one, to attack him; if twice as numerous, to divide our army into two. If equally matched, we can offer battle; if slightly inferior in numbers, we can avoid the enemy; if quite unequal in every way, we can flee from him. Hence, though an obstinate fight may be made by a small force, in the end it must be captured by the larger force.”
Guerilla marketing does not change the rules of markets; when it comes to direct competition, the bigger firm will beat the smaller firm.
What this strategy does is to avoid direct competition by targeting a niche that is too small to be attractive to a competitor. You then satisfy that market so thoroughly that you leave no room for anyone else to come in.
Here are the principles of guerilla marketing:
- Presence: you have to find ways to make yourself known by your target market at all times. These may include email; forums; discussion boards; radio; magazines; blogs; yellow pages.
- Activity: you should always be on the lookout for opportunities to make your products known at all times and work on them.
- Energy: you must be marketing all the time, “360 degree” marketing!
- Networks: you must always be looking to make contacts and develop networks. Relationships are very important in guerilla marketing.
- Smart: your marketing activities must be smart; do not offend customers or turn them off; e.g. by sending spam emails or irritating text messages, or being overly pushy.
Guerilla marketing has certain advantages over traditional marketing methods. These include the following:
- Flexibility – because of their small scale nature they can be adapted quickly and relatively easily in response to change.
- Low Cost – one of the founding principles – ideal for firms who do not have massive marketing budgets.
- Targeted – designed to reach the target market – reduces waste and ineffectiveness.
- Simple – many of the methods are simple and easy to use and implement –ideal for the smaller business.
The communication tactics that will be used by the guerrilla marketer are:
- Non-traditional advertising, which includes using internet pop up ads; banner adverts; access registration / subscription; web blogs.
- Word of mouth: getting satisfied customers to spread the word about your products. You may offer rewards to people who get a certain number of referrals.
- Stickers, flyers, badges etc that you may give out to people to raise awareness about your products.
- Peer marketing– putting people of similar interests, ages or segments together to generate interest in your product.
For more on boosting your marketing, get my book “High Impact , Low Cost Marketing Strategies for Entrepreneurs”, available here, or call 0772 854 301.