Monday, May 20, 2013

Guerilla marketing thinking in large organisations

Guerrillamarketing was defined by Jay Conrad Levinson as a way of promoting that relieson time, energy and imagination (source: Wikipedia). It embraces an alternativeway of thinking to the traditional marketing principles employed by largeorganisations to assist individuals and smaller businesses attract and build aloyal customer base.

Theapproach cuts through marketing jargon and ignites us all to ‘go to market’ with confidence by trustinginstincts. It is the “doing” that is critical to keep momentum.  Everyone has time, energy and imagination.What we often lack is investment dollars and support resources.

There aremany free and cost effective ways to target customers. Opportunistic ways tostand out from competitors are all around if you are open to seeing them andapply some imagination. Managing the risk is less daunting when there islimited investment dollars required to assess impact.

Marketingleaders in large enterprises are required to be more adaptable and flexible astraditional practices are being challenged. Find new ways to adapt traditional ‘go to market’ models.  Keep a keeneye on the external environment as the cost of entry for new brands to quicklyreach a target audience becomes less of a barrier. Demonstrate a guerrillamarketing tenacity and attitude to stay ahead of the competition.

Bigcompany marketing approaches can become predictable, slow and unoriginal.  The big players keep watch of the other bigplayers.  This allows new players withenergy, imagination and time to grab attention and customers.  Placing pressure on margins for largercompanies with high cost structures. 

Thequestion is whether process discipline and guerrilla thinking can co-exist? This evolution is still a work in progress.  A philosophical step change is required tounlock guerrillas from their constraints in large enterprises.

Suggested leadership qualities and mantras are outlinedbelow.

1.  Time, Energy & Imagination - Embrace thismantra as part of the marketing culture. Marketing leaders need to be enablersof these conditions to incorporate guerrilla thinking to challenge theconventional.

2.  Doing trumps planning Execution provideslearning. Embrace doing and avoid over engineering the planning process.

3.  Leadership You are closest to the business you intuitivelyknow what to do. Be decisive.  Trust yourinsights.

4.  Apply, learn and test scenarios Review quickly. Stop doingwhat isntworking.  Even when there is a lot ofdata, isolating the impact of individual marketing activities can beimpossible.  Be a champion of flexibleexecution to uncover wins and losses.

5.  Does it really need high production quality toexecute Oftenit is the simple, personalised touches that make the most impact withcustomers.

6.  Be alert and react quickly Avoid being too internallyfocused and set on a path regardless of external trends and competitor actions.

7.  Use technology to advantage There are many new andcost efficient technologies that can be used to engage customers, increasemessage reach and measure activity responsiveness. 

8.  If you cant explain quickly and simply what youre doing and why, youprobably dont knowwhat youre doing Oftenmarketing plans are complex. Does everyone in the team know what is expectedand how to measure success.

Marketingleaders who can get the internal balance between process discipline andguerrilla marketing thinking right will increase profitability.  Having the two co-exist will produce optimalresults even though the approaches are divergent practices.  Fast moving markets, on-line consumerengagement and new media has created new ways to ‘goto market’ for those with time, energyand imagination.  This reality appliesjust as much too large enterprises as it does to smaller players.

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