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Small Business Digest


Four Guerrilla Marketing Tactics to Engage Customers

In recessionary times, even the biggest companies need to take a leaf from the efforts of smaller enterprises and market more effectively and in new venues. 

At the same time, because growing businesses generally operate on tight budgets, especially in a weak economy, they have to be more creative in their use of time, energy, and imagination.

That has led to the rise of guerrilla marketing.

This approach doesn't require a huge ad buy in traditional media; it's about creating unusual, fresh, and engaging ways to reach customers and best prospects., a Web site designed to help small and midsize companies grow their business, offers the following four guerilla marketing ideas that any business can quickly put into practice:

  1. Partnerships. Consumers are more likely to listen to a marketing message about a particular business if it comes from another company, asserts Tom Richard, author of Smart Sales People Don't Advertise: 10 Ways to Outsmart Your Competition with Guerilla Marketing. "If you have a marketing budget of $2,000, go find nine other people who have a marketing budget of $2,000, and together spend $20,000 on the best promotion ever done in your town," he says. "You get the benefits of a $20,000 marketing campaign."
  2. Stunt marketing. Done right, the appeal of this guerilla marketing strategy is that it leaves a lasting
    impression. For example, Gary's Uptown Restaurant and Bar in Lodi, Calif., once ran a special on Wednesdays where bald men ate for free; other hair-challenged patrons were given discounts. It generated worldwide media attention. "That goes to show that you really can do something fantastic if you have the creativity behind it," says Colleen Wells, coauthor of The Complete Idiot's Guide to Guerilla Marketing.
  3. Experiential marketing. If you have a product that you're proud of, why not let potential customers give it a try? Grocery retailer Trader Joe's, for example, offers customers in-store taste tests of its natural food products. Many personal trainers also rely on this tactic as part of a guerilla marketing plan, offering a free training session to potential customers. "Experiential marketing is effective because people really want one-on-one interaction," Wells says. "These high-touch experiences are appealing to people who often feel as though they're treated as one of the masses."
  4. A smile and a handshake. That might not sound like guerilla marketing, but author Mitch Meyerson believes it's the first step in building a tighter bond with customers. "You could spend a few thousand dollars buying a classified ad and direct people to call you, but if someone in your business is having a bad day and they pick up the phone and have a crabby tone of voice, the prospect will not be interested [in your product or service," he says. "The first rule in successful guerilla marketing is to be upbeat and helpful every single time you have contact with the public. People fall short in this area quite consistently."

For more tips on how to break through to a public that has become increasingly skeptical of advertising, download the free FuelNet Smart Paper "10 Effective Marketing Tips to Engage Your Customers" at

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