A 500lbs Gorilla will Beat a 100lbs Human Anytime …

A 500lbs Gorilla will Beat a 100lbs Human Anytime …

Don't Sit Under a Gorilla

Calvin Warr is a long time marketing professional and has worked in global organisations in consumer electronics, telecommunications and the IT industry. I have invited him to share some thoughts about why small businesses find it so hard to see results when they spend on advertising and marketing. Hope you enjoy this.

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It is always interesting when you are in the advertising and marketing industry. We meet so many interesting people with interesting businesses and really interesting needs.Over the years, the most interesting remark we hear, and the most often, is this:

“I don’t want to waste money on advertising and marketing, it does not work for me.”

So, most of you will think that I am going to protest that this is not true. Well, actually, it is true. It is true for many reasons. It is true in many situations. It is true for many people – especially the small business entrepreneur.

A full page ad in the local papers can cost in the thousands. Radio? Don’t think about it unless you have at least $20K to spare. TV? What TV?

Any entrepreneur who has an annual turnover of less than $1m would be crazy, stupid or suicidal to even think of running an advertising campaign. If you run a small deli, do you seriously believe that you can run an advertising campaign that will beat McDonald’s down the street?

You see, that 500lbs gorilla did not want to hurt you. You just sat down at the same place. You got squashed.

How do you avoid such pain? Simple. Don’t be there when the gorilla sits.

Here is where the “… I will never advertise…” mantra comes in. And really, here is where so many small businesses fail to tap their full potential.

You have 4P’s in marketing. Unconsciously, many are already doing all four of them P’s.

  • Product – you always make sure you have good products, they meet the customers’ needs and so on.
  • Price – yes, I am sure you watch that like a hawk and adjust accordingly.
  • Place – you do have a good location, no?
  • Promotion – honestly, which self respecting entrepreneur has never run a discount promotion, or given out hand-bills?

But you see, the large corporations are doing this so much more. You read that right. I did not mean to say “… so much more effectively/efficiently/whatever.”

They simply do more. Because they have more money. They have more resources. They have more.

So, how should you then fight? The answer is – not head on. What is a good marketing strategy for HP might not work for Mighty Computer Shack down the road. You need to adopt a guerrilla marketing strategy. You cannot adopt the gorilla marketing strategy.

This is where marketing agencies come into the picture. Marketing is an art. Some people say, marketing is a science. Let me put it this way – it’s a science to the gorilla, it’s an art to the rest of us. Small businesses simply cannot afford to “science” it out. Can you do a campaign to achieve 2% market share of the target segment which represents 15% of the $100 million dollar market for whatisname?

Let’s get this straight. How do you measure 2% and for that matter, how to do you know which segment even exist, much less which one is 15%? This requires market research. Data. Time and money. And that is even before you get to create anything even close to resembling a marketing campaign.

When you work with a marketing agency who understands small businesses, they will be able to advise you based on their experience and knowledge. And you can share your insights into your products and customers. Working together, you might not conquer the world, but you surely will be able to create simple strategies and execute them to help build and grow your business. Then, there will come a time when an ad in the newspaper might make sense.

Do not disdain the humble name card. Don’t overlook opportunities like your Invoices, your letterhead, your price lists even. These are all opportunities for you to create an impression. Some prefer big words like “branding” or “opportunistic marketing”. Whatever you call it, these are things that work. But they need to be done correctly.

Does your name card tell the person receiving it something about you or your business that will make them want to call you? Or will it just be another filler in the Rolodex?

Simple marketing tactics, when applied correctly and appropriately, can significantly increase the visibility, stature and deal flow for the small business owner.

So, you don’t need to be a 500lbs gorilla to get some; but you do need to understand how to use all the resources your 100lbs can leverage. If you need help, I strongly recommend you contact Vivienne. I know she can help you to stretch your budget.

[tags] opportunistic marketing, guerrilla marketing, marketing, advertising[/tags]

7 Replies to “A 500lbs Gorilla will Beat a 100lbs Human Anytime …”

  1. Thanks for this post. I’ve always paid close attention to my CI materials for the simple reason that I was ‘trained’ as such in my previous corp jobs.But I always felt that these werent enough bcoz I simply dun have the kind of advertising budget I used to work with in big companies. Starting from scratch is tough but after reading this post,I felt a slight pang of relief as if an assurance to myself that it’s all good. lol.

  2. Well, natashakhm, you have a really nice web site and you appear to be paying attention to all the right stuff. So, I guess I will just take credit for your skills! :)

  3. You hit the nail on the head. Big businesses don’t have better marketing, they simply have more money to spend. If fact, I believe there are many small business owners who manage their businesses more effectively than many Fortune 100 companies are managed. Just look at the profit numbers that have been released lately. A small business owner needs to THINK like a small business owner, not like P&G or Johnson & Johnson. Using what are commonly called guerrilla marketing tactics is the only way for most small businesses to operate a marketing program.

  4. I feel what matters is the straight-from-the-heart communication – in the form a baseline of your company in your visiting card, the design, the colour – adds to the ‘one different service offering’ the customer is longing for.
    Probably marketing strategists can come up simple strategies.
    Good Post!

  5. I totally agree with all these statements. I run my own business and don’t have near the budget that most other companies have. What i do is rely on word of mouth and organic leads through the internet. My philosophy is every client every time!! That means brining back the one on one relationship with the client and not making them another number in a world of numbers. these are just my thoughts.

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