Guerrilla Marketing for Operators — THE END?
Today marks an experiment of sorts; I’m typing this post (or, at least, I’m starting it) on my iPhone. I’m currently lounging poolside under a pergola with a cold drink. It’s not as glamorous as it sounds, though; I hate the outdoors, it’s too hot for my tastes and that cold drink? It’s some generic Gatorade. I thought it was fruit punch until I opened it and drank some. Because I’m an idiot, I missed the bold text on the bottle that says “CONTAINS NO JUICE.” I hate sports drinks of all shapes and sizes, but now I’m committed to finishing it so I’ll soldier on.
Now that I’ve regaled you with a tale of the fast living of a foodservice blogger, let’s dive into today’s topic: a conclusion to our heady discussion on guerilla marketing for foodservice operators. I’ve been known to drop readers off a cliff at the end of a post or end of a topic, so this time I wanted to try to wrap things up as nicely as I can.
Let’s start by reiterating the focus of guerilla marketing: to get your message heard. Which, at the risk of sounding like a crotchety old man (which isn’t to say I’ve never yelled at those darn kids to get off my lawn), is pretty hard to do in 2011.
- To do this, guerilla marketing is — in some way, shape or form — confrontational. It doesn’t sit on the sidelines, hoping to get picked for the team. Which I guess is a poor metaphor, but you hopefully get the idea. The point is that guerilla marketing forces the person being marketed to to pay attention. It’s impossible not to notice a dude dancing around in a pig suit at the side of the road with a sign pointing to your barbecue place (all of my examples always come back to barbecue). It’s impossible to walk by a booth at an event and not notice the person or persons standing out front, mixing it up with passersby. It’s impossible to not notice a person with a smile and a friendly word handing you a takeout menu with coupons. It’s impossible to not notice the line of people standing out your door who heard about some crazy stunt you were pulling and had to be there. And the list goes on and on. Guerilla marketing is confrontational because of cleverness, one-on-one interaction and timeliness.
- And because guerilla marketing is confrontational (even if you’re not yelling in peoples’ faces), it is decidedly not for the squeamish. We talked about this when we went over some personality aspects behind guerilla marketing, but wimps like me need not apply. If you’re uncomfortable engaging people outside the comforting confines of your business or pulling a crazy stunt in public, you need to rope someone in who isn’t.
- Guerilla marketing is experiential. It isn’t about passive reception — we’re not talking about commercials on television that go in one ear and out the other. Quite the opposite; it engages the marketee (a word I’m pretty sure I just made up, so feel free to use it) on any number of levels. It’s something that happens, to them, in real time.
- The best guerilla marketing builds on itself through word of mouth. Now, I’m no advertising executive, but I’d wager that word of mouth is probably a major goal of all marketing. But because of the experiential, confrontational nature of guerilla marketing, it lends itself particularly well to becoming self-propagating. On the internet, they call that viral. I don’t think there’s a term for a physical, local-based equivalent. I’ll try to come up with something suitably awesome. Until I do, feel free to leave suggestions in the comments.
And I think this is going to wrap up guerilla marketing talk for the time being; though I’m sure we’ll come back to it here and there in the future. I’ll be honest and say that I have no idea what our next topic will be about; I have some outlines in my idea notebook that’s leather bound with an elastic band to keep it closed and a little satin bookmark. It sort of looks like the grail diary from Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade. Which, I suppose, is neither here nor there. I’m just saying. So while I consult the grail diary, you should drop the fine folks at Vanee Foods a line to try to come up with the craziest publicity stunt you can pull without ending up in jail. And when you come back tomorrow, hopefully you’ll find a post that isn’t titled “Only the Penitent Man Will Pass.”
Actually, scratch that. That would be pretty awesome.