I have an official announcement to make: I am not a candidate for Governor of the state of California. I did, however, give serious consideration to the idea of running in the upcoming recall election. After all, for only $3500 -- the cost of filing -- I could get my name and personal statement included in the voter handbook. My platform, of course, would prominently -- and repeatedly -- mention my books and website. What better way to reach every registered voter in California for $3500?
Finding inexpensive and unique ways to reach potential customers has become commonly referred to as "guerrilla marketing" since the term was popularized about 15 years ago.
The term reflects the concept of guerrilla warfare -- using methods that are surprising, indirect, and cheap. While inexpensive advertising is not a new idea for small businesses, the idea of guerrilla marketing reached its peak during the dotcom boom when Internet companies spent millions of dollars on attention-grabbing campaigns.
Guerrilla marketing, however, doesn't need to be clever or outrageous to do the job. Here are some real life examples:
As with guerrilla warfare, the problem with most guerrilla marketing campaigns is that they use a scattershot approach, hitting everything within reach. But that means spending lots of time and money on things that never bring real customers. And small businesses can't afford that.
So while you might want to adopt some guerrilla marketing techniques, you should never forget that you still need an overall, disciplined marketing plan.
The lack of focus was why I finally decided not to run for Governor. Instead of spending $3500 to reach thousands of people who would never need my products, I'm going to spend that money to exhibit at a trade show where I can reach customers who could buy or order thousands of my books. Now, if I were in a different kind of business, one aimed at a wider consumer audience -- something like, let's say, the movies -- I might have decided to throw my hat in the ring.
Copyright, Rhonda Abrams, 2003
Rhonda Abrams is president of The Planning Shop and author of The Successful Business Plan: Secrets & Strategies. Register to receive Rhonda's free business tips newsletter at www.planningshop.com.