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Hard To Get By

Marketing to today's discriminating customers takes a little ingenuity.
August 1, 1998

Once upon a time, customers were just plain customers. But these days, there's a different breed. Today's customers are wiser, expect superb service, are more sophisticated about making purchases, demand higher quality, are less forgiving of mistakes, are often under pressure, and are frequently in a hurry.

Because today's customers are guerrilla consumers, the best way to satisfy them is with guerrilla marketing. That means meeting-and then exceeding-customer expectations.

There are a number of technologies out there to empower your marketing and bring you closer to your customers. But you will be empowered most when you recognize the huge change in consumers. The ugly truth is they don't trust you as much as they used to. What makes these people so skeptical?

One answer is the amount of advertising they're exposed to. Advertisers in the United States spend twice as much money on advertising than in any other nation, making consumers twice as adept at disregarding it. Another answer is that, having been exposed to it for so many years, people are better educated about marketing. Their marketing radar enables them to identify an incoming message as a marketing one, so they can selectively ignore it.

Jay Conrad Levinson is author of the internationally acclaimed Guerrilla Marketing series of books and co-founder of Guerrilla Marketing International. For information on the Guerrilla Marketing Newsletter and other products and services, write to P.O. Box 1336, Mill Valley, CA 94942; call (800) 748-6444; or visit the Web site at

Fighting Back

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

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.