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Look…it’s a flyer distributing guerilla at 2:00!

While commuting to a client meeting in downtown Chicago, I left the Metra station and encountered a “gorilla” handing out flyers for a local gym on the Madison Street Bridge at the Chicago River. A few blocks down someone dressed up in a “smoothie” outfit was promoting a new line of drinks. Further on, a man handed me a menu for a Chinese restaurant telling me about the quality of the dim sum as I avoided an errant taxi.

These close encounters with marketing of a bizarre kind made me think about many of the age-old, time -tested marketing tactics that are still in play even in the wireless everything age.

We often have discussions with clients and prospects about the definition of “guerilla” marketing, but in essence it is unusual or attention getting tactics, backed by limited financial resources.

Guerilla marketing tactics are actually very well suited for many small to medium size businesses. Often these “basics” are a better use of marketing dollars than radio buys or other conventional mediums that have a fair amount of “waste circulation” or may never reach your desired target market at all.

gorillaThis doesn’t mean that guerilla tactics are a substitute for having an actual marketing strategy and agreed upon growth objectives. Simply put, throwing some concepts out and seeing if something sticks does not work. Taking this approach also shouldn’t mean license for hokey or unprofessional creative. On the contrary, guerilla marketing requires imagination, “sweat equity” and a fair amount of financial resources to make a solid impact on your organization.

Any true marketing plan should begin with research, forging a clear understanding of your ideal customer, their life issues, and aspirations-in essence aiming your marketing message at the right people. Once you have a firm grasp on that problem work begins on creative and message strategy that will resonate with your best prospects. What will you “offer” prospects or clients? Will you provide “try before you buy” samples, deliver value added information, host a seminar-building good will is also part of the guerilla equation.

Another important point is integration of your marketing message/offer across mediums. Your web site, printed pieces, ads and yes, even costumed people should have a connection-all elements working together broadcasting the same message about your value proposition.

In these trying times, marketing planning and measurement of your return on each marketing dollar are more critical than ever. The “800 pound gorilla” could be your own marketing plan-don’t ignore it.

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