Guerrilla Marketing for Entrepreneurs
In the previous delivery I looked at cash flow and the impact it has on a business. Understanding and managing cash flow is crucial for any business, even more so for a business starting up. So if there is one area of finance entrepreneurs have to pay attention to, it is cash flow.
A business cannot exist without customers, and customers cannot do business with you if they are not aware of your offerings. I have seen over and over again in business plans how prospective entrepreneurs underestimate the cost of marketing, which is in fact one of the most important things to budget for. I have also experienced many times that once a business starts operating, the entrepreneur skimps on marketing cost, because it is not seen as a necessity. This is a big mistake, so in this delivery, I want to look at getting the most out of your marketing expense.
A business’ marketing strategy will depend on where the business is in its lifecycle, e.g. a large corporate business that has been operating for many years, will have a total different marketing strategy than a business just starting up. My focus here is on how start-up businesses can successfully market their products and services without breaking the bank. These days “free” marketing is generally associated with social media, so let me state upfront that I cannot make you a social media marketing expert in one article, but I will look at some underlying principles of successful marketing.
So, with the positioning of the purpose of this article taken care of, let me right jump in with a definition: “Guerrilla Marketing is an advertising strategy that focuses on low-cost unconventional marketing tactics that yield maximum results”. The term guerrilla marketing was inspired by guerrilla warfare which is a form of irregular warfare and relates to the small tactic strategies used by armed civilians. Many of these tactics includes ambushes, sabotage, raids and elements of surprise. Much like guerrilla warfare, Guerrilla Marketing uses the same sort of tactics in the marketing industry. This alternative advertising style relies heavily on unconventional marketing strategy, high energy and imagination.
Guerrilla Marketing is about taking the consumer by surprise, make an unforgettable impression and create copious amounts of social buzz. Guerrilla Marketing is said to make a far more valuable impression with consumers in comparison to more traditional forms of advertising and marketing. This is due to the fact that most Guerrilla Marketing campaigns aim to strike the consumer at a more personal and memorable level. Guerrilla marketing is often ideal for small businesses that need to reach a large audience without having a large marketing budget.
So how does Guerrilla Marketing work? There is not a blueprint or recipe for Guerrilla Marketing, but that is exactly the point, it is supposed to be unconventional and unexpected. Whether you are starting a lawn mowing company and need to build a customer base, or you are trying to create buzz for your new super-app, Guerrilla Marketing is a unique and ground-breaking way to advertise without spending a lot of money. Let me give you an example to explain. Instead of printing flyers for your start-up business and putting it under car’s wipers in Independence Avenue (boring….), as an alternative, why not make a catchy video with your mobile phone of a client using your product and make it go viral using YouTube or WhatsApp? It will not cost you anything but being a bit creative in making the video, which will actually be fun, not punishment.
So, successful start-up marketing needs to be clever. It’s all well and good to pass out flyers and get a quick spot on the local radio, but try to be innovative about the way you use these resources. In the next delivery I will continue with the topic of marketing for start-ups. I think it is fitting to conclude with a quote from Jay Conrad Levinson, who created the concept of Guerrilla Marketing: “Marketing is every bit of contact your company has with anyone in the outside world. That means a lot of marketing opportunities. It does not mean investing a lot of money”.
About the writer: Rikus Grobler
Rikus has a MBA and also holds degrees in Engineering and Law. He is also a certified Project Management Institute (PMI) Project Management Professional (PMP) and he is currently pursuing a PhD degree, focusing on the field of innovation. His passion is innovation and entrepreneurship. You can e-mail him at [email protected]