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Guerrilla Ways: Don’t Forget The Postcard
The concept of “Guerilla” Marketing (and other non-traditional methods) is really just a fancy way of saying that you can accomplish more with less. To borrow a military analogy, if buying TV, radio and prints ads constitutes the “air campaign,” then Guerilla Marketing would entail your “Ground War.” Rather than spread your message to a broad audience without certainty of mass interest, focus your message and your targets to those you know to be in your core market.
One of the tactics you can utilize in your “Ground War” is the often-overlooked, but extremely cost-effective, postcard. There are countless printing options for consumers to buy postcards. For example, take Postcards.com, which offers a streamlined service to brainstorm, design and print postcards in the blink of an eye.
By the time you get done standing in line at Kinko’s or your local printer down the street, the online route allows you to already pick the right postcard, design the look and feel (or had someone help you), proof the artwork with a customer service representative, and request the postcards to be shipped to your doorstep. The combination of quality and speed is essential in a printing solution provider, especially when Guerrilla Marketing campaigns are on the line.
Below are a few suggestions for creating effective guerilla campaigns, in general, and achieving maximum effectiveness with a postcard, specifically:
Invest more effort, not money
With all of the avenues to achieve earned media for your business’ unique value proposition, free internet search engines and other websites, there is no reason to spend lavishly before you have a better understanding of the return on investment of a particular campaign.
Consider the example of certain political campaigns: Candidates and staff spend a good amount of time (not money) sorting through lists of constituents and determining which will make the best targets for its message(s). Are they registered to vote? Likely to vote? Republican or Democrat? Male or Female. Over 50? Likely affected by a particular issue that you are talking about? This form of segmentation allows campaigns to have their messages resonate, rather than just spam the uninterested, or those not likely to be convinced by their message.
Say something eye catching, but professional
The key to Guerilla Marketing isn’t just that you execute a low-cost/high-yield campaign. It also requires that you say something unique and memorable about your product or service. It is imperative to rise above the noise of emails, direct mail pieces, phone calls and other advertisements with a memorable message. In real estate, agents and organizations are always advertising to the particular geography they want to serve. While you may need to compete in-kind, consider that your message will not just have your name, contact information and a catchy slogan. It may also contain something more differentiating: a lower commission, a bundled service (such as mortgage lending, title insurance or home inspections), or a call-to-action. All of these components make it easier and more urgent for the target to contact you before they have a chance to be inundated with your competitors’ messages.
Test and retest
If you do not have a guaranteed return on investment, it is wise to try a sample-size large enough to give your campaign a fighting chance, and yet small enough that you can gauge the success or failure of that campaign (and adjust on the fly without exhausting your marketing budget).
Once you have tweaked the campaign to optimize your message, targeted demographic and frequency of dissemination, you will be light years ahead of your competition (that just indiscriminately “blasts” spam).
If you are a restaurant owner and your primary rival blasts out ad campaigns and mailers every week to prospective customers within a 20-mile radius, then your competitor would likely argue that they have the better marketing program. However, rather than focus on everyone initially, why not approach high rise complexes in the same geography first (office and residential) where you need to post far fewer flyers (and probably for free) to reach the entire audience at a much better economy of scale? You can then determine the success of that targeted campaign and how you need to adjust (language, approach, frequency) before spending anymore time or money.
No matter the size of your marketing budget, you can compete, and often outsmart even the biggest rivals in your industry, by simply utilizing some of these ideas. Never assume because a rival has been doing it longer, or because they have more market share, that they have a monopoly on the best way to reach potential customers. The products and services of today can be, and usually are, replaced by the individuals (and their organizations) who realize that Fast can beat Slow, that Effort and Ideas can beat Money, and that those who challenge the status quo are not bound to pre-determined confines.
About the author
Ryan Powers is a managing general partner at SymAction Communications.
© 2007 SymAction Communications, LLC