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Marketing is not monkey business

One thing is constant in marketing—it’s constantly changing. Once limited to traditional media like television, radio and print advertising, a company has more options to get their name out there. So let’s talk about the 200-pound gorilla in the room, and no, we’re not talking about King Kong. It’s Guerrilla Marketing that may make your company a giant in your market.

What is Guerrilla Marketing?
Jay Conrad Levinson gave birth to the concept in 1984. Ever since then, this fringe movement in the world of advertising has gained some steam. Specifically geared towards the small business, Levinson argued that instead of money, investments in marketing should be time, energy and imagination. Much of that energy should be expended on building relationships with customers to get more referrals, and focusing on larger transactions, rather than on gaining new customers.

Guerrilla Marketing may encompass a number of tactics but each campaign should be laser-focused to one technique. Other terms associated with this movement are viral marketing (engaging social networks), buzz marketing (generating word of mouth), undercover marketing (subtle product placement) and experiential marketing (getting consumers to interact with your product).

Memorable examples from well-known companies
Nikon used a billboard at a subway station that had images of paparazzi on it. As you would walk by on the red carpet that led to a Nikon store the cameras would flash making you the celebrity.

Ikea decided to show that their furniture can brighten up any setting. They put some of their furniture at bus stops in New York.

Red Bull has relied heavily on Guerrilla Marketing through their soapbox races, Flugtag (building human-powered flying machines) contests, or driving around in a Mini Cooper handing out samples of Red Bull.

What can you do with Guerilla Marketing?
These are some pretty big examples of how to generate buzz for a product. If you’re looking for something a little less monumental but equally effective, consider tactics along these lines to make a statement about your company.

Send out an empty envelope with an enticing headline on the outside. Make sure your contact information is in the return address. This should generate calls that can turn into an opportunity to talk about your products.

Get away from the windshields and find other relevant places to stuff a flier such as with a complimentary product at another company (in return for you doing the same), at a public transportation stop or other creative locale.

Include some candy and a comment card with each order and watch the cards and repeat customers come back in.

Dream up an inexpensive but creative event associated with your business. Start the buzz and get the press involved. Include a charity component. Give proceeds to a charity and watch your pockets grow.

Order an interesting specialty advertising item that you can distribute with a clever message to pique your customers’ interest about a particular product or your service.

One last piece of advice, when planning your Guerilla Marketing campaign, do your homework. Cartoon Network’s Aqua Teen Hungerforce placed light up boxes around Boston that were intended to generate publicity. They got it in the form of generating bomb threat calls from around the city.