Hard To Get By

Fighting Back

How do guerrillas combat such smarts? They use common sense and the following tactics:

  • Generate word-of-mouth. It's still the most power-packed method of marketing because people trust their friends. You'll generate word-of-mouth when you follow up, when you let customers know how important it is to you, when you institute a strong referral plan by tapping current customers for the names of prospective customers.
  • Influence people who can influence other people. That's exactly what Nike is doing when it gives free shoes to athletes and coaches.
  • Go for share of mind over share of market. The intensity of a consumer's relationship with a product reflects the real strength of the brand-such as the Harley-Davidson customers who tattoo the brand's logo on their bodies and become walking billboards.
  • Expand your advertising efforts with direct marketing and public relations campaigns. These give you the opportunity to put forth personalized and believable messages. Guerrillas never assume that advertising can do the whole job.
  • Broaden your marketing strategy with brochures and newsletters. These make good door-openers, serve as potent follow-up weapons, and allow you to intensify your customer relationships. And they're no longer expensive to produce.
  • Capitalize on one of the most lethal marketing weapons in history: the Internet. That means using targeted e-mail, becoming active in forums, participating in chat groups, hosting online conferences, publishing online articles, and maintaining a content-rich, fascinating Web site. These days, guerrilla customers are learning to shop online.

If you market the old-fashioned way, you're never going to attract guerrilla customers, and there are too many of them to ignore. To be wise in the way of reaping profits, aim your marketing at today's buyers-the wise and wary ones.

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The late Jay Conrad Levinson is the Father of Guerrilla Marketing. His books have sold more than 21 million copies worldwide, appear in 62 languages, and have become the most powerful brand in the history of marketing. He was the chairman of Guerrilla Marketing International. Learn more at gmarketing.com.

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This article was originally published in the August 1998 print edition of Entrepreneur with the headline: Hard To Get By.

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