Tuesday, February 4, 2014

Escape from Monkey Island with These Guerrilla Marketing Strategies

Do you remember the game Escape from Monkey Island...for some reason it got me thinking. What is guerrilla marketing? It is taking the point of view that you don't need to do what everyone else is doing to achieve success in the world of marketing. 

Forget about carving out a niche or marketing toward a demographic. Guerrilla marketing is about selling to people. Even--dare it be said out loud--selling to a single individual. The world of marketing for the entrepreneur and small business owner today is akin to being an intelligent gorilla stranded on an island run by a bunch of dumb monkeys. And that is a system that just doesn't work for most entrepreneurs. But these guerrilla marketing strategies do.

A small business that is just opening its doors and serving a localized need would have to look long and hard to find a more cost-effective marketing tool than doorhangers. Advertising that can be hung on a doorknob has been a successful way of reaching customers within a small geographical area for at least as long as there have been restaurants. Maybe even longer. And that was before affordable printers capable of creating professional-looking doorhangers came along. But more on printing doorhangers later.

Free Stuff...Really Free
The monkeys in charge of the marketing system these days use the word "free" the way that most people use the word "irony." In other words, without even the most basic understanding of the definition. In the hands of non-guerrilla marketing experts, getting something for "free" can mean everything from having to buy $50 worth of goods first to having to shell out $10 for shipping and handling. In guerrilla marketing terms, free means hosting a seminar at no cost to attendees whatsoever, a gift for every customer who comes into your store whether they buy something or not, a one-time no-strings-attached consultation or, indeed, anything else that is actually free. Giving something away for free with absolutely no hidden cost carries intrinsic value so obvious that you'd have to be a dumb as a monkey not to see it.

Wacky Targeted Contests
You recognize the problem with most marketing strategies masquerading as contests, right? It's the machine gun approach to marketing. Spray enough bullets across the horizon and you are bound to hit the right target sometimes. Unfortunately, you are more likely to waste bullets hitting the wrong target or, even more likely, no target at all. Contests are a great way to get recognition as well as create goodwill, but also a great way to waste limited resources. Guerrilla marketing is about specifically targeting contests to your customers and then coming up with a wacky contest idea that is directed toward the interests of those customers. The more out-there your typical customer is, the more out-there your contest idea should be. 

3D Printing
If the low-tech doorhanger is the guerrilla marketing strategy that looks to a long past to prove its success, then the future of taking control of marketing from the dumb monkeys is almost certainly the 3D printer. If you can imagine it, there is a 3D printer out there somewhere that can build it. Imagine the guerrilla marketing possibilities that a 3D printer can deliver. Signs, logos, business cards, posters, toys, trade show giveaways...even doorhangers. Everything that was old and worked quite well can become new again and work better than ever for the guerrilla marketer.

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