Before the advent and popularization of the Internet, marketers generally fell into two camps: the traditional camp and the guerilla marketing camp. Those who subscribed to traditional marketing tended to focus on larger advertising campaigns, complete with significant television, radio, and billboard advertising.Guerilla marketers focused on implementing effective marketing strategies at low cost, and hence often used marketing methods such as flyers, affordable newspaper listings, and extensive referral campaigns. However recent changes in marketing, due to the Internet, have radically realigned these distinctions.
Most Internet marketers would be considered guerilla marketers as opposed to traditional markers. This is because the Internet has dramatically reduced the costs associated with marketing while offering practically endless options for getting the word out. And while big companies like Nike and Target may never have engaged in guerilla-ish marketing tactics 20 years ago, now the big boys are actually expected to compete in domains such as social media and the like – marketing venues which were billed as ideal for the little guy. So, considering the fact that even large companies are now applying guerilla marketing strategies on the Internet, what can you do to stand out?
One of the core concepts of guerilla marketing, when it was first introduced, was that small businesses have the advantage of being able to make quick decisions and adapt rapidly to changes as a result of their lack of bureaucracy. In the Internet Age small entrepreneur may be in a more direct competition with larger companies, but this competitive advantage remains. In order to properly capitalize on your ability to more accurately reflect market trends and preferences, it will be necessary to keep your “ear to the ground”, so to speak, and constantly stay in tune with what the customer wants and how he or she desires to interact.
Another way startups and smaller businesses can use guerilla marketing tactics to their advantage is through customer contact. Once again, large companies are likely to have rigid policies involving customer contact, which may not allow them to engage the customer fully and naturally. So much of business is centered around relationship building. Do not hesitate to create rich dialogues with your customers and potential customers. Not only will this likely lead to increased trust in your products or services, resulting in increased sales, but such conversations can also help you get a better sense of your client base’s changing opinions and attitudes.
Some marketers may actually desire to challenge their major competitors on their home turf and engage in television or radio advertising. The proliferation of digital media has actually made such marketing aspirations more affordable, and every entrepreneur owes it to him or herself to at least explore the costs and potential benefits of these mass marketing venues. Perhaps in the end you will decide that television advertising is not right for your company, but it can’t hurt to make a few phone calls and do some basic research into the matter.
Overall, the aspects of the guerilla marketing concept which make it truly powerful can never be replicated by big companies. This is because larger corporations are necessarily slower to move and react than smaller businesses. So, while the Internet may have allowed large companies to engage in guerilla style marketing campaigns, the overall advantage still goes to the nimbler,, smaller company.