I was doing some research today, and I came across the name of Jay Conrad Levinson, the author of the book Guerilla Marketing (1984), and the founder of the Guerilla Marketing movement. Unfortunately, Mr. Levinson, died in 2013. However, Guerilla Marketing is here to stay.
From about 1995 to 2006, I worked part time as adjunct faculty teaching marketing to MBA students. I always made a point to discuss Guerilla Marketing as a strategy for small business.
Guerilla Marketing is a simple, yet profound idea, and of course as many other simple, profound ideas it can be difficult to explain. Here is one way Levinson describes the concept:
“I'm referring to the soul and essence of guerrilla marketing which remain as always — achieving conventional goals, such as profits and joy, with unconventional methods, such as investing energy instead of money.”
I've always preferred to use examples rather than definitions:
A local hairdresser found out about a new chain opening in town offering $9 haircuts. Worse yet, they purchased a billboard near her salon with the headline “We Give $9 Haircuts”. She considered potential responses. She knew there was no way that she could compete on price. So she came up with a guerrilla marketing campaign to counter her new competitor. There soon appeared a second billboard just past the first. The new billboard said simply: “We Fix $9 Haircuts”. Not only was this hilarious, it was in fact an effective overall marketing strategy.
In addition, the counter strategy cannot be replicated by the big chain. The $9 haircut chain built it's business around a low cost, high volume model. To compete with an upscale boutique leveraging their strength, high quality professional hair cuts, is incompatible with the low cost model.
There are other examples of effective Guerrilla Marketing techniques, but you get the idea. Guerrilla Marketing is not the only way for small businesses to compete and win against big businesses, but it is one way. We'll discuss some other business strategies for small businesses in an upcoming blog.