Guerrilla Internet Marketing and Covert Black Ops Tactics


By Ernest O’Dell

Guerrilla warfare is the unconventional warfare and combat with which a small group of combatants use mobile tactics (ambushes, raids, etc.) to combat a larger and less mobile formal army. The guerrilla army uses ambush (stealth and surprise) and mobility (draw enemy forces to terrain unsuited to them) in attacking vulnerable targets in enemy territory.

Guerrilla marketing utilizes many of the same tactics in the business world in the sense that small companies and individuals must use stealth and surprise to gain a market advantage. Not only S&S (Stealth & Surprise), but you must become adept at drawing your competitor into unfamiliar terrain to gain the “upper hand” on them and capture the lead in market share.

Guerrilla means “little war” in Spanish and was coined during the Peninsular War. The concept acknowledges a conflict between armed civilians against a powerful nation state army. This tactic was used by the Viet Cong and the North Vietnamese Army during the Vietnam War. Most factions of the Iraqi Insurgency and terrorists use some form of guerrilla warfare.

In your business, whether it is an “Internet” based business, a used car dealership, a real estate agency—or any other type of business—you must be quick and agile and use unconventional marketing tactics against the bigger corporations.

Can you make a sizable “dent” in the marketplace? Yes. Can you make an impression on the big competitors? Absolutely.

In any business, “guerrilla” defines the smaller business as being able to move on a moment’s notice, and be more agile than the cumbersome giants in the industry. You have to be like a small wolverine up against a pack of wolves: you have to be lean and fast… otherwise, the corporate giants will have you for lunch. And I don’t mean that they’re going to invite you to their corporate galas: they’re going to pounce on you and try to force you out of business.

When it comes to the Internet based portion of your business, you’re going to run up against the likes of some big names in the Internet Marketing sector. I won’t name any names: you already know who they are.

When they find out what you’re doing and how you’re taking “market share” away from them, they’re going to “cry foul” and bad-mouth you on their forums and try to steer customers away from you. But you will have already had the “jump” on them, and they’ll never recover.

When you raise the eyebrows of the big names in the IM community—and trust me, you will—then you will know you’ve successfully learned, and implemented, “black ops” guerrilla marketing strategies for your business.

Your Size Is Your Strength

I’m happy to tell you that your size is an ally when it comes to your marketing efforts against bigger competitors. If you’re a small company, or a single individual, you can utilize the tactics of guerrilla marketing to your advantage—and your competitor’s demise. You can leave them in the dust of your trail, scratching their heads, wondering, “How did they do that?”

You Must Have Quality

What you are offering is quality: whether it is a product or a service, or both. Even the best marketing efforts in the world won’t motivate customers to purchase from you more than once if your service (or products) are lackluster. In fact, the most brilliant marketing campaign can speed the demise of a poor product or service, since people learn of the shoddiness much quicker. And with “word of mouth” , “word” will eventually “get around.”

Be Aware of Your Surroundings

The more attention you pay to your market and your competitors, the more agile you will be when it comes time to “strike” an attack. A great deal of marketing isn’t merely executed poorly these days—it’s just not executed at all! Pay attention to what your competitors are doing… and what they’re NOT doing.

There Is No Substitute For Excellence

Guerrilla marketing on the Internet dictates that you comprehend every facet of marketing and your industry. It demands that you employ your tactics and strategies with excellence. There is no room for error.

To understand the nature of this idea, it may be useful to examine the real reasons why Japan was able to knock the United States off its perch as world leader in the manufacturing, TV, stereo, automobile, and electronics industries.

For years, industry in the United States has been able to turn out excellent products and services with a low percentage of rejects. Occasionally, you might get a lemon, but it was rare. The buying public wasn’t really surprised by it, and eventually became accustomed to the concept. However, word of mouth got around and usually took care of the cause of the “lemons.”

After Japan suffered a monumental defeat in World War II, their products sold here in the United States carried an equally defeated stigma of poor quality. For years the phrase “Made in Japan” was a detriment to the product, and would elicit a smirk from sophisticated consumers. (Think Chinese: they now have the same problem. They turn out crap.)

How did the Japanese overcome this problem? They decided to fly in the face of the economic truism that allowed for a small percentage of inferior products and services. They figured if the public would accept, let’s say, a 5% inferiority rate in products, it might happily embrace products of which fewer than 5% were unacceptable. But according to economists, this would cost a lot of money. Perhaps that is true for big corporations, but it’s not true for small companies and individuals.

The Japanese really had no other choice: they had nowhere to go but up. They had no choice but to become successful. They were practically bombed back to the Stone Age, and figured it was worth the time and expense. They improved the quality of what they made to the point that right now, they have less than 200 rejects per million units. That’s less than 0.0002%!

Is it any wonder why we are seeing many of our industries failing because they’ve been conditioned to believe that 5% rejection rates are acceptable? Is it any wonder why our own auto industry is in trouble because they haven’t figured out how to “trim the fat” and make themselves “leaner and meaner” and more productive? Perhaps they could learn a lesson or two in guerrilla marketing.

Guerrilla marketing involves recognizing a myriad of opportunities and exploiting every one of them. Like the Japanese, don’t overlook a thing. Don’t discount or dismiss any tactic or strategy that you haven’t tried.

In the marketing of your product, you’re going to encounter problems and challenges from time to time. These are going to be opportunities for you to come up with a winning solution, not only for yourself, but also for your clients.

You won’t have the luxury of neglecting the smaller opportunities, nor overlooking certain tactics and strategies. You’ve got to go “all out.” Because if your competition uses a tactic or strategy that you wrote off as useless, you just might find yourself in the trail of THEIR dust! You don’t want that to happen!

To your success!
Ernest O’Dell

Ernest O’Dell is the moderator of the Guerrilla Internet Marketing group on Yahoo Groups and author of Guerrilla Internet Marketing and Guerrilla Real Estate Marketing, public speaker and Director of Public relations for DMS Group Publications. He can be contacted personally at guerrillainternetmarketing@gmail.com

The “Black Ops Manual In Guerrilla Internet Marketing” will be due out before Thanksgiving on Amazon.com. Watch for it!

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