a dog-eat-dog economy, the Doberman is boss," said Edward
Abbey, the author and naturalist. In this regard, the Doberman
and the guerrilla have a lot in common.
that they must seek profits from their current customers.
They worship at the shrine of customer follow-up. They are
world-class experts at getting their customers to expand
the size of their purchase. Because the cost of selling
to a brand-new customer is six times higher than selling
to an existing customer, guerrilla marketers turn their
gaze from strangers to friends.
the cost of marketing while it reinforces the customer relationship.
Guerrillas know that follow-up means marketing to some of
the most cherished citizens of planet Earth -- their customers.
When your customers
are confronted with their daily blizzard of junk mail and
unwanted email, your mailing piece won't be scrapped with
the others, and your email won't be instantly deleted. After
all, these folks know you. They identify with you. They
trust you. They know you stay in touch with them for a reason.
And so they'll be delighted to purchase -- or at least check
out -- that new product or service they didn't know you
offered. They'll always be inclined to buy from a company
they've patronized before instead of experimenting with
a company that has not yet won a share of their mind. When
you follow up with intensity, it proves that you really
care and that you'll be there when the customer truly needs
If you haven't
started a customer-stroking program yet, start it tomorrow.
And whatever you do, put it in writing and determine two
things: (1) who will take the responsibility for each follow-up
activity, and (2) when that activity will take place.
In any recession,
the telephone is a remarkably effective follow-up weapon
for guerrillas. You certainly don't have to use the phone
to follow up all of your mailings to customers, but research
proves that it always will boost your sales and profits.
Sure, telephone follow-up is a tough task. But it works.
Anyhow, no one ever said that guerrilla marketing is a piece
up there with the telephone. It's inexpensive. It's fast.
It lets you prove you care. It helps strengthen your relationship.
And in you r subject line, you can mention the recession
if your offering is in any way related to it.
tactic: Eliminate any perceived risk of buying from you
by stressing your money-back guarantee, your liberal warranty
and your deep commitment to service. Mention the names of
others who have purchased from you. Your reputation is the
foundation upon which your credibility is built, and during
a recession, you need all you can get. Credibility doesn't
cost you anything, so lean on it as much as you can.
Lean upon your
website as well. Instead of telling your whole story with
other marketing, use that other marketing to direct people
to your site. Then, use the site to give a lot of information
and advance the sale to consummation.
able to think of additional products and services that can
establish new sources of profits to them. In a recession
or out, they are o n the alert for strategic alliances --
fusion marketing efforts with others. This kind of cooperative
marketing makes sense at all times, but makes the most sense
during a recession when companies must market aggressively
while reducing their marketing investment.
cease most broadcasting and increase their narrowcasting
-- to customers and carefully targeted prospect lists. A
recession is tough. Still, when the going gets tough, guerrillas
make sizeable bank deposits. Many see beauty in economic
In a recession,
when everything else seems to be shrinking, think in terms
of expanding your offerings. Do absolutely everything you
can to motivate customers to expand the size of their purchase.
Prove that buying right now is a sagacious move because
of the recession.
If you sell high-priced
items, use the recession as a selling tool. Explain to people
that during a recession, it is crucial not to waste money.
Therefore, they should protect their money by spending it
wisely and not making a mistake. Mistakes can be financial
disasters during a recession. Makes sense, doesn't it?
to customers and to non-customers, show that you are fully
aware of the recession and that you have priced your goods
and services accordingly. Don't make the mistake of thinking
that the right price for a recession is the lowest price.
Price becomes secondary during hard times; people are searching
for value. If you offer customers great values -- in the
form of more durable products, more encompassing services,
or long-term economy, you'll earn higher profits than if
you target your marketing solely to skinflints.
Even though your
marketing is always truthful, exert even more of an effort
during a recession to make it sound truthful. Admit that
there is a recession; admit that people must be extra careful
when buying things; admit that you've taken special steps
because times are tough and you know it.
The plain fact
is that guerrillas have an advantage during recessionary
times. They are able to work in relatively shorter time
frames. Their penchant for information enables them to market
more quickly and creatively to market needs.
lives by different rules during a recession than during
boom times. The guerrilla attacks when the competition retreats,
and the attack is concentrated where the guerrilla offers
specific product or service advantages. Retreating companies
leave voids in the market, ideal niches for guerrilla companies.
not commit all their resources to any one front because
they try to maintain resources for new options and for potential
confrontations with the competition. Flexibility is an asset.
Successful companies try to be inconspicuous about their
success, reducing the chances of copycatting and attack
from their competitors.
They know many
companies have scrubbed or reduced their marketing budgets
to combat the recession, and that it will cost those firms
three dollars for every dollar formerly spent to reach the
same level of consumer recognition and share of mind they
previously enjoyed. Guerrillas are aware that their prospects
are more likely to recall marketing messages delivered consistently
during the recession -- even if they are smaller and less
frequent. So they maintain the attitude of a guerrilla even
when the economy is in its darkest days.
Along with their
aggressive attitude is a willingness to give up something
in order to preserve something else. Intelligent sacrifice
is a necessity. Unless a company is governed by this idea
during a recession, marketing may be too expensive to be
During a recession
-- and even during the glory days that follow, be sure to
market to current customers. Try to enlarge the size of
each transaction. Lean upon the immense referral power of
each customer. And keep in mind that hard times require
Jay Conrad Levinson
is the author of the "Guerrilla Marketing" series of books,
the best-selling marketing series in history, now in 37
languages and required reading in many MBA programs. His
website is at jayconradlevinson.com.