Forbes World’s Billionaire lists the combined net worth of Bill Gates and Steve Jobs at US$58.5 billion.
This got me thinking: where would these two billionaires be today if they hadn’t studied at UCLA and Berkeley University?
I doubt they would have come into contact with a Jay Conrad Levinson, the father of guerrilla marketing and author of Guerrilla Marketing, who taught both marketing before they dropped out and started the technology revolution.
So apart from writing a book that has sold 21 million copies worldwide and been translated into 62 languages, Levinson created The Marlboro Man and worked with the creative teams who originated United’s Friendly Skies, Allstate’s Good Hands, The Jolly Green Giant and Sears Diehard Battery to mention a few.
In addition, he has consulted to Apple, Pacific Bell, Microsoft, Sun Microsystems and P&G.
So what is Guerrilla Marketing all about? It’s about leveraging on the brute force of creativity rather than a large marketing budget.
A typical Levinson example: a small furniture store owner found that a competitor opened a large store next to his and erected a massive sign that said “60 percent Sale in Store.” Shortly after, another competitor opened an even bigger furniture store on his other side and hung a massive sign that said “Giant Clearance Sale.” So what did the owner who was sandwiched between the two do? Not to be outdone he put up a sign that read: “Grand Entrance.”
Another example Levinson cites is of an apartment block in LA that could only get an occupancy rate of 70 percent so they advertised “Free Auto Grooming” and they hired a mobile car wash to come in once a week and wash the tenants’ cars. Since then they’ve had a 100 percent occupancy rate and the difference between 70 and 100 percent covered the cost of the cleaner.
So what does it take to produce an effective real-life guerrilla marketing campaign? Five minutes and seven sentences:
1. What physical act do you want people to take – visit a website, make a phone call or clip a coupon?
2. What is your competitive advantage?
3. Who are you aiming your message at?
4. What marketing weapons will you use and which combination will work best for you?
5. What do you stand for in the marketplace? Mercedes stands for luxury while Porsche represents excitement.
6. A successful marketing plan should tell your company’s identity – not your image.
7. And finally, your marketing budget should be expressed as a percentage of your gross revenue. In 2009, the majority of companies in the developed world invested four percent of their gross revenues in a marketing budget.
According the Levinson, those seven points are the easy part. The hard part is committing to them.