Since then, “guerrilla marketing” has become a well-known methodology and author, Jay Conrad Levinson has published four updated versions of his best-selling book, the most recent in 2007.
Although many of the concepts in Guerrilla Marketing may be easy to take for granted now, Levinson’s work has had a major impact on the world of marketing and this book is widely considered mandatory reading for entrepreneurs and business professionals starting their careers.
In addition to it, Levinson has published 27 other books related to business, and taught his renowned marketing ideology for a decade at the University of California, Berkeley.
Even if you didn’t 100% know what it meant, chances are you’ve heard the term “guerrilla marketing” used during a business meeting or even in casual conversation. This book summary will explain the idea in layman’s terms and share three key insights from Levinson’s book that you can use to grow your business.
What is Guerrilla Marketing?
In his own words Levinson says:
“....The soul and essence of guerrilla marketing...remain as always — achieving conventional goals, such as profits and joy, with unconventional methods, such as investing energy instead of money.”
Simply put, it is using low-cost, creative, and often unexpected methods to promote your business/initiative and achieve your goals.
There are several factors which led to the need for an approach like guerrilla marketing, including a shift in the economic landscape.
There are more small businesses competing in the market than ever before. A lot of this has to do with big businesses downsizing and government regulations becoming less strict, lowering barriers to entry.
Another factor, however, is cultural. Even in today’s fast-paced, digital age, people are looking for more niche, customer-oriented, experiential businesses— a contradiction to what most large conglomerates provide.
Despite this shift, small businesses unfortunately are also failing at a historic rate. This increased competition has shone a bright light on one of the glaring weaknesses of many small businesses and you guessed it, it’s marketing.
In the past, companies could get away with bland, average marketing techniques because their potential customers didn’t have other options. Now, your business can’t even survive, much less thrive, without exceptional marketing.
Guerrilla Marketing vs Inbound Marketing
Guerrilla marketing, much like inbound marketing, gives small businesses a competitive advantage by leveraging low-cost mediums and their creative strengths.
These alternatives help organizations build brand awareness, win over customers with originality, and overall compete in a high-priced, uncertain economy.
Time and time again, the principles of both inbound and guerrilla marketing have proven to be successful for small businesses in all industries, but they differ in two major areas -- time and execution.
For the most part, guerrilla marketing tactics are “larger than life.” They are generally executed publicly or in-person in attempt to generate word-of-mouth marketing, media coverage, and lead to immediate awareness or sales. Many initiatives may even be controversial.
Some examples of guerrilla marketing tactics may include:
Flier posting and distribution
Rallies or parties
“Pop-up” events or facilities (i.e. the setup of a temporary store, setting, museum, etc.)
Inbound marketing tactics, on the other hand, are primarily digital, and take some time to ramp up and see results. (More on that here). Common tactics include:
3 Reminders for Successful Guerrilla Marketing
Now, Levinson’s Guerrilla Marketing covers a lot of ground, discussing strategies that affect everything from saving money on your marketing campaigns, how to use various forms of media to promote your business, as well as the fundamentals of online marketing.
The following are three of the most crucial take-home concepts that all business owners and marketers need to understand if they want their business to thrive with guerrilla marketing.
1. Find What Sets You Apart from the Competition
Every business that wants to earn market share needs a competitive advantage.
This doesn’t mean a massive budget, friends in high places, or being the first brand name in a particular niche — although those things would be helpful.
It means simply finding what sets your business apart from others in your field. It’s how you are positioned in the market; how you differentiate yourself.
To find your competitive advantage(s), make a list of all the different reasons that people in your market should do business with your company. These can be anything from your price and quality of product to your customer service, the qualifications required to be an employee at your company, your brand story, or even the experience you offer.
You should also survey your customers to find out why they bought from/work with you and not one of your competitors. Afterwards, look at your top three to five competitors and make a similar list of all the reasons why people would buy from them instead of you. Dig deep and look for their strengths that you may not have noticed before.
All of the common reasons between you and your competitors can be scratched off the list. The remaining reasons to buy from your business are your competitive advantages.
You don’t have to have the best price or biggest name in the industry to stand out, you simply need something that the market can remember you by.
2. People Purchase With Emotion
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