This is the first of a series of monthly posts on guerrilla marketing by guest author Eric Brown.
|Eric Brown is a founding partner of Urbane Apartments in Royal Oak, Michigan.|
Each month he will be contributing a guest article on guerrilla marketing ideas.
Not all marketing is conventional. Small business owners don’t always have the time or the budget to use generally accepted marketing practices. Instead they find that guerrilla marketing is more effective. “Guerrilla Marketing” as coined by Jay Conrad Levinson in his popular 1984 book Guerrilla Marketing, is an unconventional system of promotions on a very low budget, by relying on time, energy and imagination instead of big marketing budgets. Call it “street marketing” if you will.
I own and operate a small business after after having worked in Corporate America. I can attest to the effectiveness and efficiency of “Guerrilla Marketing”. We are a regular practitioner and share here with you an example of tactics we have embraced, as well as another highly successful example on a more commercial level. Guerrilla marketing can be a very effective tool for your small business too, as it helps even the playing field. When executed well, guerrilla marketing propels your brand awareness.
We own and operate a small boutique apartment management business. A typical way that multifamily operators market units for rent is either print ads in newspapers or print ads in small booklets that are distributed at grocery stores, video stores and the like. While these venues work fine for some companies, they are very expensive, which creates a barrier to entry for smaller companies that simply do not have the budget for such marketing avenues.
Our target demographic is young professionals, sometimes referred to as Gen X and Gen Y. They are somewhat nocturnal, in that they are out at night as much as by day. From my corporate travels I had viewed a building in Minneapolis that had Blue LED Lighting around the top perimeter of the building. You could see it from miles away, and LED bulbs are very efficient. That building with the blue lights stuck in my mind. As we started acquiring apartment buildings on infill urban sites, we added Blue LED Lighting to every property. We even made the LED Lighting a part of our brand. Cost: minimal, Effect: significant. Every one of our buildings became a visual billboard at night. I consider this our Guerrilla Product Packaging with the added effect of increasing brand Awareness.
Upon launching a little larger project, we tried another very inexpensive LED lighting trick, with big results. We had a local artist create silhouettes on valium paper that could be moved around as units rented, that we posted in windows. We put a lamp, with a blue bulb behind each silhouette to create a blue glow at night. The effect was overwhelming, stopping traffic and nearly every passerby. For a cost less than $650 for this idea, we successfully rented up (39) apartment units by creating a lot of “buzz.”
You too can implement like tactics with a little creative thinking. These ideas and others have allowed us to create a local brand on a shoe string budget. And, it just isn’t about the low cost, but as Levinson preaches, guerrilla marketing is about relying on time, energy and imagination instead of big marketing budgets.
Guerrilla Marketing takes on many forms and functions, such as Blendtec’s very successful “Will it Blend?” videos. Will It Blend? became a viral marketing campaign of infomercials demonstrating the Blendtec line of blenders. In the show, Tom Dickson, the Blendtec founder, attempts to blend various items in order to show off the power of his blender. Dickson started this marketing campaign after doing a blending attempt with a box of matches The phrase Will it blend? has become an internet meme.
While Dickson originally started with an infomercial and certainly not all campaigns take off the way his did, good and creative ideas can become viral on a local level. Your ideas can too, and using YouTube as a conduit is one way to begin to showcase your product value and connect your product offering and your intended customer base.
Now it’s your turn. Feel free to share your Guerrilla Marketing ideas and comments. What is your favorite example?