The giants in an industry use gorilla marketing. Their gorilla having enough cash to do repeated mass mailings of their information, as well as ads on prime time commercial television. With all the money at their disposal they are able to pound their message into the consumers mind in a multitude of media, and rightly or wrongly convince their target market that they are the best source around. After all “everyone” is happy with themL, and “everyone” can’t be wrong, so it must be true.
How is a small company supposed to compete against a great big gorilla with all that cash for all that media? Television advertising is expensive, and prime time television is even more expensive. The smaller business doesn’t have the cash or the cash flow to support any sort of prolonged heavy media attack against an 800-
The answer is clear: Guerilla marketing.
Guerilla marketing is marketing that requires a substantial investment of the individuals’ time and energy, and minimal amounts of cash. This does present a bit of a dilemma for many small businesses, not only do they not have any money, but they really don’t have much time available either. Unfortunately you must choose a path; either you inhale deeply and spend the money on advertising, or you re-
There are all sorts of guerilla marketing opportunities out there, and frankly you are limited only by your imagination in the creation of those opportunities. Here are just a few ideas to get those mental juices flowing.
Flyers – You can go door to door, (if in an apartment complex you really should get the managements approval first); or, you can put them on car windshields, (if in a shopping center you should get management approval, but if the cars are on the street they’re fair game).
Develop Alliances – Your locally owned pizza parlor may be willing to split the cost of flyers with you in exchange for half the advertising space. These flyers could then be distributed as above, or with each pizza delivery order. Talk to your printer about putting one of your flyers with each of their printing orders.
Sponsorships – For a small amount of money you could be a sponsor of a Little League team, which will get your name out as well as help the community.
Network – This can be a real time eater, but well worth the investment for the long haul. Attend Chamber of Commerce meetings, participate in a local civic group, and being active in your religion are all ways to make contacts and develop your business. A word of caution, only join civic groups that you have a genuine interest in participating in, phonies are quickly spotted and avoided.
Write – Depending on your style this will either be an absolute chore, or a lot of fun, but many local papers welcome articles from the local businessmen. The larger the community the more difficult it may be to get your name in print, but if a publication is willing to accept your articles then this might be an excellent avenue to pursue.
Public Speaking – Numerous organizations are constantly looking for speakers. Here’s your chance to get the word out about your business to a group of people all at once … and, they are interested. Don’t talk about just your business, but rather how your industry is changing, or how it is helping education, or business, or the individual, or what to be careful of, or whatever. Make it informative, not a sales pitch.
Community Bulletin Boards – Many places have bulletin boards for their customers to view and utilize, such as: grocery stores, hair salons, barber shops, laundry mats, some restaurants, and more. Put your flyer up, but be sure to check it on a regular basis, some places remove flyers after a week or two.
Referral Programs – These programs can be very productive when backed up with constant positive reinforcement for the referring customer. Don’t let the reward stop at a few dollars, give those who are sending you a lot of referrals some sort of gift such as a T-
Training Classes – A lot of individuals need training in how to do lots of things, and are very appreciative of businesses that provide such training. Think arts & crafts stores that have free drawing, or painting classes. Customers who are educated on how to best utilize their intrests for personal and professional benefit are customers who can become excellent referral sources.
Seminars – Work with other firms, that are related to your business, but are not your competition. such as a Networking Consultant and/or Web Design firm, to put on an informative seminar for businesses. By adding these other related, (but non-
Take advantage of your staff for some of this work. If a member of your team is good at writing, let them be the author for the local newspaper articles; if someone enjoys public speaking, allow them the opportunity to get out and talk about your company and industry; if they don’t mind long walks through residential areas, let them distribute your flyers. And always, always, keep them on the clock for these activities. They shouldn't be donating thier time to help you and the business.
You won’t kill the Gorilla, but a strong guerilla fighter can compete against the 800-