By Eric Brown
|Eric Brown is a founding partner of Urbane Apartments in Royal Oak, Michigan.
Each month Eric contributes a guest article on guerrilla marketing ideas.
Are you embracing these challenging times or ignoring them in hopes things will fade back to normal? You might want to embrace these crazy times and find the hidden trinkets of opportunity, as we may be in for an extended downturn. There are always opportunities, in any and every economic time, they are just wrapped differently. Perhaps now, more than ever it is time to try out some Guerrilla Marketing.
Lets start with what you are giving away. Jay’s recent post about Try It Before You Buy It is an example of helping a new customer who comes knocking at your door, covered in FUD: fear, uncertainty and doubt. As Jay points out, overcoming FUD is the key to new customer acquisition. So businesses trot out customer testimonials and product guarantees in hopes of de-FUDing their customers.
Lisa Hoffman writes; “Sitting at a gas station on Long Island, NY a few weeks ago I noticed a sign: “FREE Italian ices all day today.” Every year, at the end of the season, the Ice Palace gives away its remaining product. Judging by the number of people milling around happily slurping Italian ices, it’s a popular event. First I thought, “what a nice idea.” Then I thought, “What a PR genius.” Small business owners think PR is always complex and challenging, and it often is. But it can also be quite simple: relating to the public. What can it cost this guy to open for a day and cheerfully give away Italian ice he would otherwise throw away? What is the payoff in local goodwill?
It is important to think through what your Give Away may be should you choose this as a Guerilla Marketing Strategy. Our competitors sometime give away Free Rent, which we do not do; as we believe it makes your product offering a commodity and is forgotten once the lease is signed.
Instead, we give away a 4 GIG memory stick with every lease. The lease, a floor plan, emergency numbers and some unit pictures are given to the resident at Move In on a thumb drive, which is also a key chain with our logo on it. Being able to walk away with all of the lease information on a tiny thumb drive that the resident can also use to store additional information has created a “Cool Factor”, something worth talking about. There is plenty of room on the thumb drive for lots of other information and it is something the customer, our resident find value in.
Nearly every thing you do can be a Marketing and PR opportunity, and we are all marketers. In our small business one of the mundane things we need to do each year at several of our properties is reseal and re-stripe the parking lots. By changing the color of the parking lot striping to bright orange or lime green, we have turned parking lot stripping into a marketing and branding tool. Everyone else uses either white or yellow stripping, but there is nothing in the rule book that says you cannot change up the game.
I would encourage you to think outside the box, because there are so many hidden marketing gems that collectively make a huge difference, and most of them have little to no cost. “The Devil is in the Details” What things are you doing to change the game?