Next year, we will mark the 30th anniversary of the term “guerilla marketing.” Yet, three decades after Levinson published his seminal book on the subject (Guerrilla Marketing, Houghton Mifflin), many business people – even those in marketing – are hard pressed to clearly explain what the term means, much less apply it to something as narrowly focused as community colleges. The concept is simple: If you’re not a BIG business, Madison Avenue doesn’t care about you. What’s more, the marketing practices they prescribe for their BIG business clients won’t work for you. If you want to be successful in an increasingly competitive marketplace, you’re going to have to stop fighting in an arena you can’t afford: traditional advertising. You’re going to have to fight your fight in the trenches. Unglamorously. And that may mean swallowing your pride.
We seem to get a lot of questions from local businesses about Guerrilla Marketing: how it works, how much it costs, whether it’s “beneath” a reputable business, and so on. So we thought we’d take a moment to answer some of those questions and maybe expose a few myths.
Last week, we hired a contractor to spray a thick coat of tar on the small parking lot we share with a neighboring business. The prep work was substantial, as the two lots had fallen into disrepair under previous owners. Weeds had taken root in small cracks and in the crevices that mark where the original macadam was laid in sections. We completed the necessary pre-work, applying a bay-safe herbicide to kill the weeds at their roots, and scraping away the dead remains of the weeds. The new tar adhered beautifully, and provided an even black surface for the entire lot. Unfortunately, it also covered all of the parking lines.
Early this morning, we emailed our first quarterly marketing update to a patch-worked list of friends and clients. As with any first edition, the road to “ready” had been long and bumpy. But having worked through several test rounds with our freelance designer, we felt confident in the product, and it felt good to finally say, “Send it!”
According to Blogging.org, more than 42 Million blogs are published in the United States. Given the current U.S. population (315 Million), that means if you can count to eight, you can find a blogger. Cumulatively, these blogs generate more than half-a-million posts, every day, and attract more than 25 Billion page views per month. Yes, that was billion with a “B.”
We all misspeak. And sometimes, it’s comical. From Yogi Berra to George W. Bush, no one is immune to gaffes. But when the words we choose take on more meaning than we intended, it can be ironic, and maybe good for a few laughs, in which case, we call them malaprops.
I admit it. I’m a Craigslist addict. It’s not that I expect to find anything on Craigslist that I actually need – that’s not the point. It’s the dream of finding something of great value at a ridiculously low price. Years ago, it was flea markets. I seldom found anything of value at the markets, but again, that wasn’t the point. I was addicted, and had been since childhood. When I was young, I would accompany my father on Saturday morning trips into town. Dad had a penchant for bargains. He once brought home an entire case of Dinty Moore Beef Stew, not because anyone in the house actually ate beef stew, but because it was a bargain, at less than ten cents per can. That’s how my father shopped, as if at a restaurant, reading every line from right to left, in search of the best deal.
There was a time when enthusiasm was all you needed to get by. Things were less technical, then. Selling was done door-to-door. And “word of mouth” happened over coffee cake, at a friend’s house, or at the church social.