Sample text for Guerrilla marketing : easy and inexpensive strategies for making big profits from your small business / Jay Conrad Levinson with Jeannie Levinson and Amy Levinson.
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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,
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
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
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
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 own banner and hung it out front, simply saying "Main
Guerrilla marketers do not rely on the brute force of an outsized
marketing 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
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
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 that unconscious mind: repetition. Think it
over a moment, and you'll begin to have an inkling of how the process of
guerrilla marketing works. Repetition is paramount.
6. Traditional marketing suggests that you grow your business and then
diversify. That kind of thinking gets many companies into hot water because
it leads them away from their core competency. Guerrilla marketing suggests
that you grow your business, if growth is what you want, but be sure to
maintain your focus -- for it's that focus that got you to where you are in the
7. Traditional marketing says that you should grow your business linearly by
adding new customers one at a time. But that's a slow and expensive way to
grow. So guerrilla marketing says that the way to grow a business is
geometrically -- by enlarging the size of each transaction, engaging in more
transactions per sales cycle with each customer, tapping the enormous
referral power of each customer, and growing the old-fashioned way at the
same time. If you're growing your business in four different directions at once,
it's tough not to show a tidy profit.
8. Traditional marketing puts all its effort on making the sale, under the false
notion that marketing ends once that sale is made. Guerrilla marketing
reminds you that 68 percent of all business lost is lost owing to apathy after
the sale -- ignoring customers after they've made the purchase. For this
reason, guerrilla marketing preaches fervent follow- up -- continually staying
in touch with customers -- and listening to them. Guerrillas never lose
customers because of inattention to them.
9. Traditional marketing advises you to scan the horizon to determine which
competitors you ought to obliterate. Guerrilla marketing advises you to scan
that same horizon to determine which businesses have the same kind of
prospects and standards as you do -- so that you can cooperate with them
in joint marketing efforts. By doing so, you're expanding your marketing
reach, but you're reducing the cost of your marketing because you're sharing
it with others. The term that guerrillas use for this outlook is fusion
marketing. "Fuse it or lose it" is their motto. You're watching TV and see a
commercial for McDonald's. Midway through, you realize that it's really a
commercial for Coke, and by the time it's over, you see that all along, it was
for the latest Disney movie. That's fusion marketing. And that's just some of
the big guys who do it -- like FedEx and Kinko's, too -- but most of the
fusion marketing in the world, as led by Japan, happens on the level of small
10. Traditional marketing urges you to have a logo that represents your
company -- a visual means of identifying yourself. Points made to the eye
are 78 percent more memorable than points made to the ear. Guerrilla
marketing cautions you that a logo is passe; these days -- because all it
does is remind people of the name of your company. Instead, guerrilla
marketers have a meme that represents their company -- a visual or verbal
symbol that communicates an entire idea, such as international traffic signs.
In these days of record-breaking clutter, a meme says the most in the least
time. It is a godsend on the Internet, where people may spend no more than
a few seconds at your Web site. We'll talk a bit more about memes up
ahead. It's a new word that was coined in 1976. And it's a guerrilla idea that
can revolutionize your profit-and-loss statement.
11. Traditional marketing has always been "me" marketing. Visit almost any
Web site, and you'll see "About our company." "About our history." "About
our product." "About our management." But people don't care about you. Me
marketing makes them sleepy. That's why guerrillas always practice "you"
marketing, in which every word and every idea is about the customer, the
visitor to a Web site. Don't take this personally, but people simply do not
care about your company. What they care about is themselves. And if you
can talk to them about themselves, you'll have their full attention.
12. Traditional marketing has always thought about what it could take from a
customer. Guerrillas have a full understanding of the lifetime value of a
customer, but they also concern themselves with what they can give a
customer. They're always thinking of things they might give away for free,
and now that we're smack dab in the middle of the information age, they try
to give away free and valuable information -- such as booklets, informative
Web sites, brochures, TV infomercials -- wherever they can. Don't forget
what I said about marketing as your opportunity to help your prospects and
customers succeed at attaining their goals. It's also your golden chance to
help them solve their problems. Can you do it for free? If you can, you're a
13. Traditional marketing would have you believe that advertising works, that
having a Web site works, that direct mail and e-mail work. To those
antiquated notions, guerrilla marketing says nonsense, nonsense, and
nonsense. Advertising doesn't work. Not anymore it doesn't. Web sites? Get
serious. People learn daily that they are paths to financial oblivion and
shattered dreams. Direct mail and e-mail used to work. But not anymore. So
what does work? Guerrillas know that marketing combinations work. If you
run a series of ads, have a Web site, and then do a direct mailing or an e-
mailing, they'll all work, and they'll each help the others work. The days of
single-weapon marketing have been relegated to the past. We're living in an
era when marketing combinations open the doors to marketing success. I
know a small retailer who runs small ads and short radio spots -- all
directing people to his Web site. That Web site motivates people to visit his
showroom, where he sells his $3,000 beds briskly, effortlessly, and
profitably. The ads and spots, combined with his Web site, are the marketing
combination that brings home the bacon for him.
14. Traditional marketers, at the end of the month, count money. Guerrillas
count new relationships. Knowing that people actually do want relationships,
guerrillas do everything they can to establish and nurture a bond between
themselves and each individual customer. They certainly do not disdain
money, as indicated by their penchant for profits, but they know deep down
that long-term relationships are the keys to the vault.
15. Traditional marketing has rarely emphasized technology, primarily
because the technology of yesterday was too expensive, limited, and
complicated. But that has changed completely, as today's technology gives
small businesses an unfair advantage. It enables them to do what the big
spenders do without the necessity to spend big. Guerrilla marketing requires
that you be very technocozy; if you're not, your technophobia is holding back
your small business. If you suffer from that affliction, make an appointment
with your technoshrink immediately. Technophobia is fatal these days.
16. Traditional marketing has always aimed its message at groups: the larger
the group, the better. Guerrilla marketing aims its message at individuals or,
if it must be a group, the smaller the group, the better. Traditional marketing
broadcasts; guerrilla marketing narrowcasts, microcasts, and nanocasts.
Let's say that you market a product for erectile dysfunction. If you run a TV
spot on network television, that's broadcasting. If you run it on a cable
channel devoted to men, that's narrowcasting. If you run it on a cable channel
program focused on men's health, that's microcasting. If you run it on a cable
channel program centered on men's sexual issues, that's nanocasting. The
smaller the group, the bigger the bull's-eye.
17. Traditional marketing is, for the most part, unintentional. Although it
embraces the big guns of marketing -- radio, TV, newspapers, magazines,
and Web sites -- it tends to ignore the little details, such as how your phone
is answered, the de;cor of your office, the attire worn by your employees.
Guerrilla marketing is always intentional. It pays close attention to all the
details of contact with the outside world, ignoring nothing and realizing the
stunning importance of those tiny but supercharged details.
18. Traditional marketing believes that you can make the sale with marketing.
That may have been so a long, long time ago, but that doesn't often happen
anymore. That's why guerrilla marketing alerts you to the reality that
marketing today can hope only to gain people's consent to receive more
marketing materials from you. Most people will withhold their consent, and
you've got to love them for doing that, because they're telling you to save
your money and not waste it on them. But some will want to learn more,
giving rise to one of the newer terms in the dictionary: opt in. A woman
operating a summer camp in the Northeast runs ads in the camping
directories in the back of several magazines. She does not attempt to sell
the camping experience, only to get people to request her free DVD. She has
a booth at local camping shows and gives away the same DVD. People view
her DVD and see happy campers, trained counselors, beautiful surroundings,
and superb equipment. Does the DVD attempt to sell the camping
experience? No. It simply attempts to motivate people to call for an in-home
consultation, at which more than 80 percent of parents sign their kids up for
camp. And not just one kid: sometimes, a brother or sister as well. And don't
forget the cousins and classmates who might come along for the summer.
And we're not talking just one summer. Summer camp can be for four or five
summers or more. And all because the camp director didn't go for the sale.
She merely went for consent, and then she broadened that consent. The
whole idea is wonderfully described by Seth Godin in his landmark book,
19. Traditional marketing is a monologue. One person does all the talking or
writing. Everyone else listens or reads. Hardly the basis of a relationship.
Guerrilla marketing is a dialogue. One person talks or writes. Someone else
responds. Interactivity begins. The customer is involved with the marketing.
That's one of the joys of the Internet. Relationships grow from dialogues.
You've got to invite dialogue by asking people to register for something, sign
up for your newsletter, send for a freebie, enter a contest, vote in an online
poll. And you've got to respond to them. Small businesses can do this. Big
corporations aren't usually quite as fast and flexible on their feet.
20. Traditional marketing identifies the heavy weapons of marketing: radio,
TV, newspapers, magazines, direct mail, and the Internet. Guerrilla
marketing identifies two hundred weapons of marketing, and many of them
The heart of guerrilla marketing is the proper utilization of those
weapons you choose to use. A basic precept of guerrilla marketing calls for
you to be aware of all two hundred weapons, to utilize and test many of
them, and then to eliminate those that failed to hit it out of the park for you.
The idea is for you to end up with an arsenal of lethal and proven weapons.
Copyright © 2007 by Jay Conrad Levinson. Reprinted by permission of
Houghton Mifflin Company.
Library of Congress subject headings for this publication:
Small business -- Management.